Border Educational Plaza Project Updates

Check this webpage for project updates.


Second Public Meeting / Segundo Taller Comunitario
Thursday, June 22, 2017
6:00 – 8:00 p.m.
at the San Ysidro Community Center (Casa Familiar) 
Click to view flyer. 

Presentation from First Community Meeting/Presentación del Primer taller Comunitario

Please direct questions or comments to:
Anne Marie Tipton
Tijuana Estuary Visitor Center
301 Caspian Way
Imperial Beach, CA 91932
619-575-3613 ext.304


Volunteer Forms

If your volunteer location is Tijuana Estuary Visitor Center – print and fill out these forms to bring to event:

  1. Parent/Guardian Consent Form
    Volunteers under 18 yrs of age must have the above signed waiver by parent or guardian and those under the age of 16 must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian.
  2. Adult Volunteer Form


If your volunteer location is Border Field State Park – print and fill out these forms to bring to event:

  1. Parent/Guardian Consent Form
    Volunteers under 18 yrs of age must have the above signed waiver by parent or guardian and those under the age of 16 must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian.
  2. Adult Volunteer Form

Wings in Wood

Bird Sculptures on Display at Tijuana Estuary Visitor Center Bookstoreleastternhamm_compressed for web

TRNERR bird walk docent, Kevin Hamm, captures the beauty of some of our local threatened birds and gives us a glimpse at their lives. Whether plunge diving or singing, the birds have been meticulously crafted giving fine detail and allowing for an up close experience with birds difficult to see in the wild. The realism of the sculptures is a culmination of Hamm’s passion for birds which was fostered through his volunteer work at the Tijuana River National Estuarine Research Reserve. Through numerous hours spent observing and photographing these birds, Hamm merges his skills in woodworking to bring attention to the fine details of these birds and strives to pass along his passion and appreciation for them. Hamm explained that “as a volunteer docent at the Tijuana Estuary, I have developed a true appreciation for birds and hope to pass this along through my talents in woodworking.

Kevin Hamm at appreciation party with Volunteer Coordinator Danielle Murphy.

Kevin Hamm at appreciation party with Volunteer Coordinator Danielle Murphy.

Kevin Hamm has 20 years’ experience in the woodworking industry. He is a self-taught wood carver and painter who holds a Bachelor’s degree in Philosophy and Theology. He recently exhibited works at the San Diego County Fair where he won 4th prize. You can join Hamm at his 3pm first Sunday bird walk at the Visitor Center each month.

The beautiful pieces will be on display from July 8 – August 19, 2016 in the bookstore. They are available for sale along with his bird photography and the proceeds allow the Friends of San Diego Wildlife Refuges to support environmental education at the Reserve. To see more of his artwork or to contact Kevin Hamm please go to his Wings in Wood Facebook page.

Join us for Earth Day

on April 18, 2015!

Habitat Restoration – Saturday, April 18  9:00am – 12:00pm @ 3rd Street & Imperial Beach Blvd.

Volunteers needed to help plant a native butterfly garden. We will be planting California native butterfly plants and weeding out those pesky non-natives. Children’s art contest. Come join the fun!

Please register in advance so we know how many volunteers to expect.

Event Information

Who? Open to the entire community – all ages welcome. Families, individuals, groups and organizations are welcome to participate.
Groups  – If your group will include minors without their parent or legal guardian, please contact the Volunteer Coordinator at volunteer(at) prior to the event to obtain the necessary parental consent forms. All volunteers under 18 must bring parent-signed permission forms, available by request. Volunteers under the age of 16 must attend with a parent or guardian.

What? Habitat restoration. Invasive plant removal, native plant installation.

Where? 3rd Street & Imperial Beach Blvd.
Directions: Take 5 south to the Coronado Ave. exit. Make a left, heading west. Continue west, the road will change names to Imperial Beach Blvd. Event will be on the left at 3rd St. There is some free parking along I.B. Blvd. If street parking is full, make a left on 3rd and follow the road around the bend to the left. This will be Caspian Way. Park  in the Visitor Center lot on the right.

What to wear/bring? Volunteers must work in long pants and boots or sturdy, closed-toe shoes. We also recommend bringing sunscreen, sunglasses, and hats. The Tijuana Estuary provides work gloves and tools.


For more information:

Volunteer Coordinator
(619) 575-3613 x330  office

Salt Marsh Secrets


This e-book records favorite stories about salt marsh secrets that my collaborators and I uncovered while studying southern California coastal wetlands, from the 1970s to date. In 1986, we became the Pacific Estuarine Research Lab.

Please download the files as they appear online and enjoy learning what we learned…and more. You’ll meet many “detectives,” and you’ll be able to appreciate how they learned so much–undeterred by mud and flood. Learn while exploring the salt marshes near you!

PDF name and brief description:

Preface: Learning while exploring (2 MB)
1. Discovering Secrets: Introducing salt marshes (17 MB)
2. Seasonal Change: How weather and tides change over the year (11 MB)
3. Rare Plant & Bird: An annual plant and a clapper rail (9 MB)
4. Where Plants Grow: The influence of salt and water and more (7 MB)
5. Perennials & Annuals: How short- and long-lived plants get along (22 MB)
6. Salt Marsh Weeds: Which species invade and why (11 MB)
7. Sedimentation: A little sedimentation is good; a lot is not (25 MB)
8. Heterogeneity: Variable elevation and patchiness (16 MB)
9. Transitions: From marsh plain to high marsh to upland (9 MB)
10. Testing Diversity: What diversity affects and what affects diversity (15 MB)
11. Runoff Cattails Algae: Freshwater pulses trigger pesky invaders (18 MB)
12. Dunes: Why our dunes are low and flat (6 MB)
13. Damages: How we damage salt marshes (9 MB)
14. Go Fish: Fish and invertebrates respond to changing waters (10 MB)
15. Animal Mobility: Mobile and immobile species (6 MB)
16. Food Web: Who eats whom (12 MB)
17. Conservation Battles: It wasn’t easy saving salt marshes (6 MB)
18. Restoration: Returning tidal influence (25 MB)
19. Testing Theory: Contributions to the science of ecology (21 MB)
20. References: References cited and other PERL research (2 MB)
21. PERL alumni: Where the “detectives” are now (4 MB)

Help TRNERR – Upcoming Fundraiser(s)

Come support education programs at TRNERR. Souplantation will donate 15% of sales generated by Friends of San Diego Wildlife Refuges. You must bring this flyer and everyone must purchase a beverage for the donation to count. Print flyer and see details.

souplantation funraiser072214

Twenty Years of Great!



5pm to 8pm
(ceremony at 5:30pm)

Tijuana Estuary Visitor Center
301 Caspian Way
Imperial Beach, CA 91932

Completed in 1994, and better than ever in 2014! Come to the 20th Anniversary of the Tijuana Estuary Visitor Center. Meet the building’s renowned architect Rob Wellington Quigley and the restored watershed map’s public artist Robin Brailsford among others that helped make this award winning facility come to life.

Light refreshments will be served. Reservations required, please RSVP here.


Event Highlights

Watershed Map Restoration
Come see the dynamic new watershed map.

Wick Alexander Installation
Showcasing a large new fossil painting of marine sediments.

Mudflat Madness Discovery Lab
Hands-on activities for the whole family.

Volunteer Training Modules

Watch and complete the modules below.  When you have finished the module, you will receive a passcode.  Email this passcode to your advisor so that they know you have completed that step.  Be sure to record your passcodes on your Volunteer Training Requirements Checklist (also available as WORD).


Required for ALL Long-term Volunteers:

  1. Sensitive Species (14:15)
  2. History Chapter (read and then take quiz)
  3. Tijuana River Watershed Video (35:00 – watch in Visitor Center)
  4. What is a Watershed? (01:22)
  5. What is an Estuary? (05:40)

Additional Documents:
Visitor Center Scavenger Hunt


Additional Training Requirements for Volunteer Positions:

  1. Archaeology (17:15)
  2. Coastal Training Program (06:30)
  3. Front Desk  (06:15)
  4. Injured and Orphaned Wildlife (05:00)
  5. National Wildlife Refuges (03:05)
  6. Research and Monitoring (15:30)
  7. School Programs (13:45)
  8. Stewardship (13:25)

Discovery Labs

Laboratorios de Descubrimiento

Wednesdays /miercoles, 5:00 – 7:00pm
at the Tijuana Estuary Visitor Center

TRNERR invites the community to a series of open houses to excite and engage the minds of your entire family. FREE!
El Estuario del Río Tijuana invita la comunidad a una serie de Noches de Ciencia para estimular y captar el interés de toda la familia. ¡GRATIS!

In 2017, we will be taking the program to schools and local libraries, more details and dates to come.

(619) 575-3613  ext. 304, 305, or 306



APRIL 20, 2016
What’s Lurking in the Shadows?

Estuary educators and scientists lead hands-on activities featuring bats, grunion, night time adaptations, animal sounds, and how scientists study these critters. Come find out if you’ve seen or heard nocturnal animals in the marsh.

¿Qué es lo que está escondido en las sombras?

¿Qué animales de presa se esconden de los depredadores durante la noche? ¿Cómo los encuentran los depredadores o cómo son engañados? Ven a descubrir si has visto o escuchado animales nocturnos en la marisma.

JUNE 22, 2016
Insectigations: Exploring the World of Insects

They walk, they fly,
They see with multiple eyes!
Beetles, bugs, hoppers, and flies.
Oh why, oh why are there so many kinds?

Become an entomologist as we journey into the largest class of the animal kingdom to investigate this diverse and lively group of organisms.

Insectigaciones: explorando el mundo de los insectos

¡Caminan, vuelan,
Miran con muchos ojos!
Escarabajos, bichos, chapulines, moscas.
¿O por qué, o por qué hay tantos tipos?

Conviértase en un entomólogo (un científico que estudia insectos) al viajar dentro de la clase más grande del reino animal para investigar este grupo de organismos diversos y animados.

#7Tiger beetle_nobox
 CA Horn snail

AUGUST 17, 2016
Why Don’t Animals Wear Clothes?

Delve into the adaptations that Tijuana Estuary animals use to protect themselves and stay warm.

¿Por qué no usan ropa los animales?

Explora las adaptaciones que los animales del Estuario del Río Tijuana usan para protegerse y mantenerse calientitos.

OCTOBER 12, 2016
Trash in the Ocean – Yuck!

Just what happens to our trash in the ocean? Does it disappear, how does it affect marine life, and how you can help?

Basura en el Océano – ¡Puaj!

¿Exactamente qué pasa con nuestra basura que entra en el océano? ¿Se desaparece, cómo afecta la vida marina, y cómo puedes ayudar tú?


Outdoor Adult Sumi-e Art Workshop

Saturday, May 11th
11:00am – 2:00pm

Discover the ancient East Asian art of Sumi-e at this year’s Int’l Migratory Bird Day! The Tijuana Estuary is offering a 3 hour Sumi-e art workshop led by local artist and San Diego Friends of Wildlife Refuges board member, Gaye Lingley, and local artist, Nancy Lee. Participants will learn to paint “zen” birds using this brush painting technique. Take a walk, learn the history of Sumi-e, practice through exercises, then paint your masterpiece! No experience or materials necessary. FREE!

Space is limited to 15 adults. Reservations are required and will be taken on first come, first serve basis. For more information or to reserve your spot now call Marya at (619) 575-3613 x306.

To learn more about the local group of Sumi-e painters that Gaye and Nancy belong to click here.