600 Local kids celebrate newly restored San Dieguito Lagoon
Popular event teaches hands-on environmental awareness

Media Contact:
April Bolduc

Media Contact:
Kelly Sarber

San Diego Gas & Electric

San Dieguito Restoration Project

(877) 866-2066

(760) 613-5994




        SAN DIEGO, April 15, 2009 – Six hundred Del Mar-area third graders descended on the San Dieguito Lagoon April 13-15 to participate in an outdoor celebration hosted by San Dieguito Lagoon Restoration Project partner San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E), along with the California Coastal Commission, U.S. Fish & Wildlife, San Dieguito River Park Joint Powers Authority (JPA) and the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). 
        The young environmentalists got a chance to touch slimy lagoon creatures, test the water quality, plant a wetlands’ Pickleweed, make a seed ball from native plants and learn more about the newly constructed wetland that Mother Nature appears to be adopting quickly.  Students have been taught about the fragile lagoon eco-system in their classroom and got a chance to get their hands dirty at the coastal nature preserve. 
        Going to the lagoon is an eight-year tradition for Nancy Swanberg, a science teacher who organizes the annual pre-Earth Day event.
        “Giving these young environmentalists the opportunity to see in person what we teach them about in the classroom can make an impression that lasts a lifetime,” she said.

        “When we heard the outpouring of enthusiasm from the local schools that they wanted to send all of their third graders to the new lagoon, we really wanted to help make this happen,” said Pam Fair, vice president of environmental safety and facilities for SDG&E, “We wanted the emphasis to be on fun, the importance of our local environment and that these kids learn that the future of our earth is in their hands.” 
        SDG&E sponsored the field trips for the eight area schools that are participating in the pre-Earth Week celebration.
        Five specialized informational stations hosted by scientists and volunteers were posted every 50 yards along the San Dieguito River boardwalk across from the Del Mar Fairgrounds.  Stations highlighted fish and invertebrates, wetland vegetation, water quality, birds, wildlife and archeology that the students touched and felt.  Every 15 minutes, the children moved in groups to another station to learn first hand about how the environment can be protected and restored. 
        The third graders prepared for the field trip by studying the unique adaptations that plants and animals have to survive in the fragile coastal eco-system.  On the field trips, scientists, biologists, hydrologists and project personnel gave the young students an outdoor classroom where they got their hands dirty while learning about the plants, animals, birds and vegetation that inhabit the new nature preserve.  Experts from California Coastal Commission, U.S. Fish and Wildlife, the JPA and USGS worked interactively with the students along the nature preserve’s boardwalk on the San Dieguito River.  Students took home several souvenirs of their day at the lagoon, including a Pickleweed plant and a seed ball they made from native plants.
        The students also are creating “Lagoon Day” posters that feature birds and wildlife commonly seen in the coastal lagoons.  Their posters will be displayed at the City of Del Mar’s annual Lagoon Day celebration April 19, which, this year, will coincide with Earth Day festivities around San Diego County.  The public is encouraged to attend the event at the Powerhouse in Del Mar starting at 4 p.m. where scientists and biologists will discuss the recent colonization of fish, birds and wildlife at the site. 

        SDG&E is a regulated public utility that provides safe and reliable energy service to 3.4 million consumers through 1.4 million electric meters and more than 840,000 natural gas meters in San Diego and southern Orange counties.  The utility’s area spans 4,100 square miles.  Exceptional customer service is a priority of SDG&E as it seeks to enhance the region’s quality of life.  SDG&E is a subsidiary of Sempra Energy (NYSE: SRE), a Fortune 500 energy services holding company based in San Diego.


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