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Today’s post comes from Sarah the Australian! Read about her adventures last Saturday in San Elijo!

Did you know that 90% of Southern California’s coastal wetlands have been replaced by urban residence?

Say whaaaaat?

Yep, 90%!

So that leaves a precious 10% remaining for not only us, but more importantly the native flora and fauna to enjoy. Where, oh where, is this 10%, you ask? Well, luckily you don’t have to look much farther than the beautiful North County of San Diego, home to San Elijo Lagoon! Located between Cardiff and Solana Beach, the lagoon covers 979 acres of land and is a haven of biodiversity. It is home to more than 700 species of plants and animals, many of which are rare and endangered. Just when you think this place couldn’t get any more awesome, it also has 7 miles of hiking trails!  Ahh-mazing.

So, when I learned about this magical land of plenty, I knew I wanted to be a part of keeping it safe. Turns out there is an excellent team of biologists and volunteers doing just that on the regular and I signed up to the Lagoon Platoon (the name of the project sealed the deal!). I rounded up a bunch of local North County pals to join me in my quest as a member of the aforementioned platoon.

We arrived bright and early on a Saturday morning, a crumpled bunch of folk who were cursing their alarm clocks and clutching coffees with sunglasses firmly on our faces, but none the less ready for action! Approximately 20 people turned up for the event and we split up, each with a member of staff from the conservancy, to tackle an area. My team had been put up against a mighty opponent, Rabbit Foot (insert scary overtones). The Rabbit Foot, whose scientific name is Polypogon monspeliensis, is a non-native plant that was getting all up in the grill of our sweet little native guys, such as Pickle Weed

We donned gloves, grabbed some tools and went to work removing the weed. Whilst the work was tough, there was the the incredibly beautiful surroundings of the lagoon to enjoy, new local people to get to know and they handed out delicious granola bars. Oh, and you are doing some seriously important work for the lagoon! The area where we were working is a “restoration site” which means that it had been acquired by the conservancy (they are buying up any land that becomes available around the lagoon) and restoring it to a natural state. After a couple of hours of toiling, the biologists led us on a 30 minute nature walk where you can ask a million questions and learn a bunch of very cool information.

After all was said and done, we all felt invigorated by the event and excited for the next one. We had really made a dent in that old Rabbit Foot and it felt great to give back to a community and environment that gives us so much.

To get involved you can visit http://www.sanelijo.org/restoration-events and sign up to the next event. They hold weekly events- every Wednesday morning and also one Saturday morning one per month. Events are from 9 am to 12 noon and they have all the equipment required, just bring yourself and a big old smile!

See you guys there!