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 ask your advisor for quiz)
  3. Tijuana River Watershed Video (35:00 – watch in Visitor Center)
  4. What is a Watershed? (01:00) – (please watch video and report to your advisor)
  5. What is an Estuary? (05:17) – (please watch video and report to your advisor)

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)
    alternate link if above doesn’t work 
  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.

Explorers – Tijuana River Watershed Activity

Dear Education Partner:
We would like to share with you the artwork completed as part of a Girl Scout Gold Award project by Courtney Payton, a senior at Scripps Ranch High School.  It includes graphics for the Watershed classroom activity for our Tijuana Estuary Explorers elementary level program.  We hope it will be useful to your educational activities.  The new artwork and our lesson plans (English & Spanish) are available by clicking on links below.

Please feel free to contact me, amtipton(at), if you would like a copy of the Teacher’s Guide for this curriculum.

Anne Marie Tipton, Education Coordinator 


Tijuana Estuary Explorers – Watershed Activity Lesson Plan & Discussion Questions

Interactive Tijuana River Watershed Mural
medium resolution (2 MB)
high resolution (19.5 MB)

Interactive Mural Pieces

Letter from Courtney




The Tijuana Estuary would like to thank Courtney Payton for making the artistic updates to our lesson possible.  Congratulations to Courtney on achieving the highest award in Girl Scouts – the Gold Award.


Also available are Courtney’s Kid-Friendly “How-to Draw” Bird Art Lessons.
– Great Blue Heron
– Northern Harrier
– Anna’s Hummingbird
– California Least Tern
– Long-billed Curlew

October is Kids FREE Month!

VISIT: for more information and to print your free coupon.

Kids are invited to explore San Diego’s diverse museums – for FREE! From October 1 – 31, children ages 12 and under receive FREE admission with a paid adult (limit 2) at 40 arts, cultural, and science museums. Explore the hidden treasures of the ocean or the far reaches of outer space. Delve into local history, visual arts, botanical gardens, architectural treasures – and more!

To participate, download the Kids Free in October voucher at Simply present the voucher at the participating museum’s admissions desk. A full directory of participating venues can be found on the San Diego Museum Council’s website.

Note: This offer does not include special events/exhibits or field trips.

TIP: You need one coupon per museum visit, so print out several to have on hand. One coupon is good for 2 children.



Museum Mash-Up!

EVENT DATE: Sunday, October 1, 2017
TIME: 10 am to 1 pm
The New Children’s Museum Park, 200 W. Island Ave.,
in downtown San Diego.
COST: Free to attend

Kids Free in October kicks off with Museum Mash Up!

Museum Mash Up will be held at The New Children’s Museum Park, 200 W. Island Ave., in downtown San Diego. Families are invited to check out fun, hands-on activities presented by ten museums, including the Fleet Science Center, San Diego Natural History Museum, Barona Museum, San Diego Model Railroad Museum, Tijuana Estuary, and more!

Plus, kids will love the live animal encounter with Living Coast Discovery Center, and interactive performances by Ms. Smarty-Plants™️ with The Water Conservation Garden and a Drum Circle with the Museum of Making Music. But wait, there’s more! The grand finale will be a performance by musicians from the San Diego Symphony!

Check out the Facebook event page HERE.

The park and museum area easily accessible by bus or trolley. Children 12 and under ride free with a paid adult on the MTS trolley and bus routes on Saturdays and Sundays!

Free to attend! Come out and have some family fun.

Protecting Endangered & Threatened Birds

Resident and migratory birds use the Tijuana Estuary and the coastal bays to rest, feed, and raise their young.  In the spring, San Diego birds start to build their nests.  Did you know that many of the birds that nest within the Reserve nest on the ground?

Way You Can Help Protect San Diego’s Birds

  • Keep dogs on a leash and under control in designated areas.  In Border Field SP, dogs are only allowed at the top of Monument Mesa (on a leash).
  • Pick up after your pet.
  • Keep cats indoors.
  • Do not release any pets or wildlife on the Refuges or Reserve.
  • Become a Shorebird Steward!

With your continued help we can protect all native species.

Why Are Wetlands Important?

Wetlands are valuable for a variety of reasons.  Here are some analogies to help explain things better. 


They absorb water and provide flood control.


They are a resting place for migratory birds.


They mix oxygen and nutrients into the water.


They provide nutrient-rich food for people and wildlife.


They grab nitrogen from the air, the stuff life is made of!


They help clean the environment.


They are home to a diversity of wildlife.


They filter toxins and debris from water making it cleaner.


They are a nursery for fish and young wildlife (they provide shelter, protection, and food).

Besides all these important reasons, wetlands also provide recreational, educational, and research opportunities!


Find out more about estuaries and other wetlands.
Short film about Why TRNERR is so Important.


Ancient Life in San Diego

Artifacts found at Border Field State Park and the border region.

Abalone Pry


Fishing Weight


Abalone Tools


Abalone Shell


If you find an artifact, please leave it where you found it.  Think of it as a crime scene; if you remove an artifact you are taking away a piece of the puzzle.  More about this.

Learn more about local archaeology

California State Parks Archaeological Resources

San Diego Coast District Cultural Resources (CSP)

San Diego Archaeological Center



Marking the Border

After the  U.S. – Mexican War, how did the countries decide where to put the border?  Find out by reading the Marking the Border Article.