On a sunny February Sunday afternoon, a group of about 70 members and donors of the Torrey Pines Conservancy (TPC) gathered on the vast porch of the Martin Johnson House located on the campus of Scripps Institution of Oceanography. The 72nd annual meeting of the organization started with President Peter Jensen’s remarks. Jensen thanked the outgoing directors Anne McCammon, Secretary, and John Durant for their service on the Board. Jensen introduced three new incoming directors: Barbara McCardle, Roger Showley and Dave Van Cleve.

Jensen also introduced President-elect Rick Gulley and handed over the presidency. The new president thanked Jensen for his longstanding service on the TPC Board of Directors. Jensen was honored with the Guy Fleming Award in recognition of his dedication and many outstanding contributions to the organization. Gulley also gifted Jensen an oversized name tag as a memento of his many years serving on the Board.

Gulley introduced Cara Stafford, environmental scientist at California State Parks. Stafford gave an overview of the Reserve preservation efforts. In 2021, 120 Torrey pine saplings were planted. In 2022, 244 saplings were planted as part of an experimental restoration focused on determining conditions that best enable pine establishment. The goal is to plant a total of 450 trees within the next two years. In addition to Torrey pines, the team planted 581 maritime coastal scrub plants—many of which are believed to possibly tolerate dry conditions predicted to be the future condition at the Reserve. They planted into areas heavily hit by beetles – where Torrey pine mortality was high – and other areas where Torrey pines still stand. The team is measuring tree growth and ecological conditions to assist with niche models. The recent plantings are a collaboration between California State Parks and San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance (SDZWA) and the Center for Plant Conservation (housed with SDZWA).

Donna Close, TPC Treasurer, gave a report on the organization’s sound financial status. Close also provided an overview of projects accomplished in the last decade, most of them under Jensen’s leadership. Susanne Florin, TPC Executive Director, then spoke, thanking all members and donors for their ongoing financial support. Florin announced upcoming events and hikes (all are welcome!) and thanked Jensen for his nineteen years of service on the Board.

The featured speaker of the day was Ed Vodrazka (see photo above), TPC Director, retired lifeguard and California State Parks employee. Ed Vodrazka was joined by his family, his wife Jennifer and their kids supporting him from the sidelines of the meeting. Vodrazka had the audience laughing with his humorous account of his time living at the Guy Fleming House, located in the heart of the Reserve. What does it mean to live at the Reserve and to raise a family in this pocket of wilderness? From ocean rescues, to leaky roofs and wooden swings in the Torreys, from wildlife encounters to sunsets, Vodrazka’s amusing and heartfelt anecdotes (and photos!) captured the audience’s attention.