Monday, October 14, 2013

Public invited to join Cuyamaca College in earth-friendly events

For the Saturday gardener or community volunteer, Cuyamaca College is hosting a pair of events that will score you some points with Mother Nature and answer the call of community service.

Local members of the California Conservation Corps are linking with Cuyamaca College for the Corps’ annual Volunteer Day event, Saturday, Oct. 19, and are inviting the general public to join in from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. to work on the campus’ new Intergenerational Garden in Rancho San Diego. Two weekends later, from 9 a.m.-noon  Nov. 2, the public is invited to join the college’s Ornamental Horticulture Alumni Network at Lakeside’s River Park Conservancy for a morning of planting native plants along the San Diego River Park trail.

Intergenerational Garden Project

The Oct. 19 family-friendly event to line the garden’s dry creek bed with river rock is one of 12 projects statewide and the only one in San Diego County selected as a Volunteer Day project by the California Conservation Corps Foundation. Between 15-20 corps members and staff from the Vista and National City training centers will help create the creek bed that is one of the many features of the 1/3-acre garden located between the Child Development Center and the Water Conservation Garden on the Cuyamaca College campus.

The Intergenerational Garden, started in part with a $25,000 grant from the county’s Health and Human Services Agency, was also made possible with the help of vendors donating their time and equipment and the handiwork of students, community volunteers and the California Conservation Corps during the last six months. The garden provides a venue for senior citizens with an interest in gardening to teach good nutrition to preschoolers in the college’s Child Development Center, and will eventually include a community garden for the public to enjoy.

“The garden was selected as a Volunteer Day project because of its benefit to the community, the environment and longstanding relationship with Cuyamaca College,” said Philip Lembke, a CCC conservationist.

The first 45 volunteers who RSVP via email to  will receive a free lunch at the worksite.  Tools and materials will be provided, but volunteers should bring sunscreen, hats and gloves.  Cuyamaca College is located at 900 Rancho San Diego Parkway in the community of Rancho San Diego. Free parking will be available at the child development center lot.

Ornamental Horticulture Project

Founded in 2001, Lakeside’s River Park Conservancy was created to preserve and restore the biological integrity and beauty of a stretch of the San Diego River that provides recreational, educational, and cultural opportunities for East County residents. The San Diego River flows about 52 miles, starting near Julian and passing through Lakeside, Santee and Mission Valley before meeting the sea at Ocean Beach.

 The Cuyamaca College Ornamental Horticulture Alumni Network is a new group organized by Brad Monroe, the retired chair of the college’s OH program, to encourage and develop relationships among OH alumni and to support the program for tomorrow’s students.

Monroe said another goal of the network is to provide learning opportunities to keep alumni and program supporters current with industry trends and developments, such as the push for habitat conservation.  November’s planting at Lakeside’s River Park Conservancy is the first event of its kind for the OH network.

The group is counting on community members to pitch in for the replanting efforts and is inviting everyone to join in a potluck lunch after the work is done. Volunteers should bring gloves, shovels, water and sunscreen and meet at the Lakeside Baseball Park at 10030 Marathon Parkway in Lakeside. Tools should be well marked so they can be returned to their owners.

Those interested in the potluck lunch should also bring a dish to share and a chair or blanket to sit on. To RSVP, contact

Happy digging!