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

Special Exhibit

Visualizing the Future

Preparing for climate change in the Tijuana River Valley


mural_paintingClimate change poses a new challenge as we work to conserve coastal landscapes, habitats, and communities. To address this new challenge, the Climate Understanding and Resilience in the River Valley (CURRV) project assessed the potential local effects of climate change associated with sea level rise and flooding from the Tijuana River. This exhibit contains murals that illustrate four different possible futures, or scenarios, that scientists developed through CURRV.


 Click here for a preview!


Art as Science – Science as Art

Our Artist-In-Residence, Audrey Carver, brought the science to life through her painting.  Each of the four scenes highlights the habitats and wildlife that would be characteristic of each scenario.  The paintings are interpretations of the science behind the scenarios, providing a window into the future.

Understanding Scenarios

Scenarios are not predictions. Each scenario is an alternative representation of how the future may unfold. Considering the past, present and future, three overarching questions guided the formation of each scenario:

  • Past: What was the Tijuana River Valley like historically?
  • Present: What characterizes the River Valley today?
  • Future: How might changes in our climate shape the River Valley in the future?

See the exhibit announcement here!



Meet the Artist – Audrey Carver

Art is how I interpret the world around me. When I was two years old, I loved to color. Pieces of paper, the walls, the floor and even my feet were all potential masterpieces. By five, I was painting and drawing everything I experienced, from wildlife to kids on the playground. My home in the small mountain town of Idyllwild, California has been a constant source of inspiration; a beautiful, strange community where it is more acceptable to be a barefoot artist than a lawyer or doctor. Now, at 17, I am lucky to be attending Idyllwild Arts Academy. I hope that, through my paintings, I can share the beauty and drama of the natural world, and communicate the importance of respecting ­­our environment to create a sustainable future.


In addition to Audrey, thank you to everyone at TRNERR who made this exhibit possible, including:

  • Marya Ahmad
  • Dani Boudreau
  • Jeff Crooks
  • Julio Lorda
  • Anne Marie Tipton
  • Enrique Mendibles
  • Lorena Warner- Lara

Special thanks to Amber Pairis and the Climate Science Alliance – South Coast for helping to make this exhibit possible through their Artists in Residence Program. Learn more:

Funding provided by grants from the Coastal and Ocean Climate Applications Program of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Climate Program Office, and the National Estuarine Research Reserve System (NERRS) Science Collaborative.


Climate Change Communications training

Strategic Framing for Climate Change Conversations

June 15, 2016

Based on the framework and techniques developed as part of the National Network for Ocean and Climate Change Intepretation (NNOCCI) project*, participants learned about:

  • Strategic framing – a research-based approach to communications that helps to engage audiences in thinking productively about how they can participate in creating or supporting solutions that address climate change.
  • How strategic framing elements, when put together, tell a story about climate change that can help communicators to engage audiences in positive ways.
  • Framing tools using tone, values, metaphors, and solutions.

This training was co-hosted by the Tijuana River National Estuarine Research Reserve, Sea Life Aquarium, and the Climate Science Alliance- South Coast.




Know Your Swamp



Climate Science Cheat Sheet

Strategic Framing Cheat Sheet

Strategic Framing Journey

Explanatory Metaphors

Strategic Framing ‘Traps’

Swamp Graphic


Navigating the Swamp with Bridging & Pivoting

Framing With Explanatory Chains

Cultural Models

Navigating the Swamp – Using Cultural Models

Framing in Six Steps

Framing Fluency Rubric



Practice with ‘Heat Trapping Blanket” Metaphor

Vetting A Solution Discussion



Street Interviews – Understanding Climate Change and our Oceans

Social Math Webinar – NNOCCI Mini-Training

Interpreting Climate Change – Monarch Butterfly


Websites & Additional Resources

Climate Interpreter

Skeptical Science

Climate Change Communication & Education Resources



*National Network for Ocean and Climate Change Intepretation (NNOCCI): With support from the National Science Foundation’s Climate Change Education Partnership program, NNOCCI’s goal is to establish a national network of professionals who are skilled in communicating climate science to the American public in ways that are engaging and stimulate dialog that is interesting, welcoming and solutions-oriented.

This is a collaborative effort led by the New England Aquarium with the Association for Zoos and Aquariums, FrameWorks Institute, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, National Aquarium, Monterey Bay Aquarium, New Knowledge Organization in partnership with Pennsylvania State University and Ohio’s Center for Science and Industry.
Learn more:

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.

Climate Scenario Planning for the Kenai Peninsula, Alaska

Coastal managers from California and Alaska are partnering to apply the Tijuana River Reserve’s expertise in collaborative scenario planning to prepare for the future in Kachemak Bay, Alaska.


Project informational flyer


Local climate impacts


Kachemak Bay National Estuarine Reseaerch Reserve  (Kenai Peninsula, Alaska)

Climate change impacts in Alaska are much more pronounced than in other regions of the United States. Communities in the Kenai Peninsula are already coping with a variety of impacts related to a warming climate, including reductions in wetland areas, glacial ice coverage, and freshwater availability; and increases in temperatures, ocean acidification, and harmful algal blooms.



Enhancing resiliency through collaboration

Efforts to document these recent environmental changes will be leveraged to create tangible recommendations and a long-term local strategy for adaptation to rapid climate change. Barriers hindering effective climate change planning on the peninsula include the uncertainty of future trajectories, a need for a synthesis of regional data, and limited capacity for interagency collaboration. This project aims to address these needs and help coastal communities on the Kenai Peninsula plan for a changing climate.



Transferring knowledge

Drawing upon experience using scenario planning to help local communities prepare for climate change in the Tijuana River Valley (Southern California), the project team will use the best available science to facilitate local dialogue addressing how climate change may impact the Kenai Peninsula. The project will engage regional leaders and community stakeholders to collaboratively develop plausible future planning scenarios based on a wide range of possible environmental responses to a changing climate. Ultimately this process and the resulting scenarios will help to inform area resource managers and land use planners as they lay the groundwork for future research, regulation, and development. Additionally, the project will document the process and lessons learned to further demonstrate the applicability of scenario planning across geographically distinct communities.

An interdepartmental planning team from both reserves, guided by Kenai Peninsula stakeholders, will:

  • Synthesize climate change science and impacts – Compile the best available science on climate change impacts projected for the Kenai Peninsula.
  • Identify priorities – Informally survey stakeholders to gain insight into local climate observations, risk perceptions, and regional perspectives on steps needed for successful community adaptation.
  • Engage stakeholders – Convene stakeholders to provide an overview of the best available science on local climate change impacts and compile community climate scenarios to inform local decision-making processes and management actions.
  • Document lessons learned – The process and lessons learned will be documented and distributed broadly throughout the reserve system.
  • Apply project results – Kachemak Bay Reserve will utilize the climate scenarios developed in this project to inform future data collection priorities, and advance local adaptation planning and actions.



Empowering communities

This project aims to help empower and support stakeholders in the Kenai Penninsula, providing them with a framework from which they can work towards a common vision for the future of their community in the face of a changing climate.  Anticipated benefits include:

  • Increased awareness and understanding of climate change science and vulnerabilities among Kenai Peninsula decision makers.
  • Strengthened stakeholder network to address a changing climate and increase coastal resilience.
  • Expanded regional capacity to prepare for climate change with tangible adaptation actions.




About the Science Collaborative
The National Estuarine Research Reserve System’s Science Collaborative supports collaborative research that addresses coastal management problems important to the reserves. The Science Collaborative is managed by the University of Michigan’s Water Center through a cooperative agreement with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Funding for the research reserves and this program comes from NOAA. Learn more at or

NOAA Regional Coastal Resilience Grant Awarded!!

San Diego Organizations Receive Landmark Federal Funding to Help Prepare Local Communities for Coastal Storms & Flooding


February 4, 2016

The San Diego Regional Climate Collaborative and project partners, the Tijuana River National Estuarine Research Reserve (TRNERR) and the Climate Science Alliance- South Coast, secured an extremely competitive National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) grant for $689,500. The project is one of only six grants awarded out of a pool of 150 national proposals, and is the first West Coast project to receive funding from this landmark federal program addressing coastal climate hazards.

“Our success in securing this funding is due in large part to the valuable partnerships that our organizations have with San Diego cities, scientists, and non-profits,” states Laura Engeman, Manager of the San Diego Regional Climate Collaborative.  “No one organization or community is single-handedly capable of warding off the potential threats of storms, waves, and coastal flooding, so we are finding ways to combine our collective resources to protect our region.” Matching project funds are being provided by the cities of Carlsbad and Del Mar, and The San Diego Foundation.

This funding will assist coastal cities currently working to address coastal flooding and sea level rise vulnerabilities (Carlsbad, Del Mar, Imperial Beach) by bringing in scientific, legal, and economic expertise.  “By leveraging the unique expertise we have in this region, we can collectively develop innovative and creative solutions to safeguard our communities and natural places from climate impacts,” says Amber Pairis, Director of the Climate Science Alliance.

Another component of the project will focus on how natural coastal habitats can be used to help protect the places where we live, work, and play from coastal flooding and extreme storms. Danielle Boudreau, Coastal Management Specialist (Coastal Training Program) with the Tijuana River NERR, states that “Natural habitats, such as wetlands and dunes, not only serve to protect wildlife but these systems mitigate the impacts of rising tides, waves, and shoreline erosion to our coastal communities.”

The NOAA award provides national recognition of the value of our region’s shoreline and coast. It’s an unparalleled opportunity for San Diego to highlight its role as a national leader in proactively protecting our residents, businesses, and natural habitats in the face of increasing climatic extremes and changes.

About the Lead Organizations

  • San Diego Regional Climate Collaborative: A network in the San Diego region supporting public agencies with advancing climate change planning. SDRCC partners with academia, non-profits, and businesses to demonstrate regional leadership and share expertise, leverage resources, and advance comprehensive solutions.
  • Climate Science Alliance- South Coast: A multi-organization partnership formed to create and support a network of leaders, scientists, and natural resource managers focused on sharing ecosystem-based resiliency approaches to safeguard our communities and natural resources from climate change risks. The alliance was established through a partnership between the California Department of Fish and Wildlife and the California Landscape Conservation Cooperative.
  • Tijuana River National Estuarine Research Reserve (TRNERR): Located on the US-Mexico border between San Diego and Tijuana, TRNERR is part of a national network of 28 protected areas established by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to conduct research, monitoring, restoration, education, and training. The Reserve works to improve our understanding and management of estuaries and coasts through a partnership between NOAA, California State Parks, U. S. Fish & Wildlife Service, and Southwest Wetlands Interpretive Association.

For more information contact Dani Boudreau at dboudreau(at) or visit the NOAA grant notification website at

Managing Visitor Use workshop materials

Managing Visitor Use: Planning Worksheets

Working Group

Successful Adaptation & the Tijuana River Valley

August 27, 2015 | Agenda

An interactive discussion in pursuit of the following objectives:

  • Begin to collaboratively develop a vision and goals for successfully adapting to climate change in the TRV, while exploring what successful adaptation looks like on-the-ground
  • Learn about techniques for and examples of measuring “successful adaptation” through development of indicators/metrics
  • Consider what indicators/metrics can be used to measure and propel us toward climate resiliency




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