Dear Members, Donors and Friends,

Thank you for your support at the virtual San Diego Gives event on September 8. 3,700 donors raised more than $1,000,000 to support 327 local non-profits. Many thanks to all who supported Torrey Pines Conservancy.

Summer is winding down. Luckily, here at the Reserve we have a mix of fun and educational fall events coming up. On September 17 you have an opportunity to learn about the rescue of turtles in Baja. On September 23, our very own Ed Vodrazka will read from his new book One Guard Out.

On October 1 we will learn about how to save migratory and resident birds in the reserve (and in our backyards!).

Last, but not least, it is only four weeks until “Wine in the Pines”, our one-of-a-kind fundraiser under the Torreys. Tickets are selling fast, and it looks like the event will sell out as it has every year. If you’re planning to attend, now is a good time to buy your tickets. Admission includes drink tickets to fine wine and beer, appetizers, unlimited artisan Italian flatbreads, salad, dessert and a donation to Torrey Pines Conservancy. You’ll have the unique opportunity to meander under the Torreys to the tunes of Peter Sprague’s band while observing local artists as they capture the beautiful landscape.

-Your Torrey Pines Conservancy

Early Bird Tickets Wine in the Pines

Documenting Coastal Changes--One Photo at a Time

You may have seen a futuristic looking metal cradle on one of your recent hikes out to the Guy Fleming overlook. Scripps Institution of Oceanography (SIO) installed a CoastSnap cradle. Visitors can put their phones in the cradle, snap a photo of the coastline, and use the QR code to upload it to the CoastSnap app.

These community-submitted photos will be used to create time-lapse videos of beach change at Torrey Pines State Beach. This will create a record of beach and shoreline change. The photos will also help SIO validate a coastal wave runup model that predicts coastal flooding.

Snaps from Torrey Pines (and other sites)

Why don't we just water the trees?

We often get this question so we posed it to California State Parks Senior Environmental Scientist Darren Smith.

Darren cited some very convincing reasons why watering on a larger scale is not beneficial.

First, the sheer size of the area that holds Torreys (over about 1,000 acres) and the number of trees (about 3,000) makes it very challenging to water them.

Secondly, it is impossible to know where to water and how much. The water would have to be distributed under the entire dripline of the tree in hopes of finding the place that the Torrey pine has developed its root system. Interestingly,sometimes the roots fill a crack in the sandstone fairly far from the tree dripline. A lot of water would go wasted and cause problems with the soils (erosion) and other native plants that co-occur with Torrey Pines.

If we were to water the trees, we would have to limit watering during the cool season. Most native plants at Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve are adapted to a Mediterranean-type climate and are susceptible to pathogens if the soils are warm and wet (instead of warm and dry).

Another good reason why watering is not beneficial is the chemistry of potable water. It is different from rainwater and the components may be harmful to certain species.

Furthermore, irrigation systems, hoses, and supplemental water allow expansion of Argentine ant colonies which consume and displace native species. Argentine ants also spread root scale pests that damage the root systems of some of our native plant species (including the rare wart-stemmed ceanothus).

Irrigation infrastructure is unsightly in a natural area and,if not carefully maintained,can cause erosion problems.

Overwatering may support root fungal infections that may speed up the demise of trees.

In summary, Smith concludes that Torrey pines seem to do well in landscaped settings where they are watered. They get very large and typically have shallower, less drought-resistant root systems. Careful watering in a landscape setting would be a good way to preserve trees and fend off some of the drought problems. Introducing potable water into a diverse system with 50+ other rare plants and fragile soil ecosystems would likely cause more harm than good. It would also be infeasible given water conservation measures, logistics, and cost.

One Guard Out

Join us on Friday, September 23, 5:30 – 6:45 pm at the Children’s Pavilion for a reading and signing of Ed Vodrazka’s latest book One Guard Out. Those who have attended  Ed’s readings in the past know they are both compelling and inspiring. This is an event for current TPC members/donors. Membership expired? Renew here. Space is limited. Please dress warmly and bring a blanket (these stories will make you shiver!).

Here is a sneak peek: Between 1980 and 1990, a total of 57 people perished in the treacherous ocean waters along the Sonoma Coast.

In 1990 California State Parks recruited 11 Southern California Lifeguards, hand-picked from various beaches between San Diego and Huntington to work the Sonoma Coast. They arrived with impeccable skills in the surf line and a fiery idealism that they could reverse the 50-year trend in drownings. This new frontier of lifeguarding would challenge them in ways they could never have imagined.

One Guard Out tells their story. It is a retrospective chronicling their successes and their gut-wrenching failures. It is the story of big waves, cold water, and unthinkable tragedies.

Herb Knufken

Saving Birds

October 1, Kay Charter will detail several ways we – as Californians,  householders and local community members – can create a more livable world for our avian friends. Kay is an award-winning writer and speaker who, for 30 years, has fought to reverse the tragic decline of migrating bird species. Kay is a founder and the current Executive Director of Saving Birds Thru Habitat. Open to all.


Saving Turtles in Baja

The Torrey Pines Docent Society’s next Nature Discovery Series presentation will be on Wildcoast Projects by Angela Kemsley. Angela will show videos of  efforts to save turtles in Baja. Meet at the pavilion area near the Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve upper parking lot on Saturday, Sept. 17 at 3:00 pm. Open to all. No RSVP needed. 

Save the Date!

Article 6: Save the Date! La Jolla Historical Society: Sacred Canyons & Rare Trees: Torrey Pines – San Diego’s Symbol of Preservation.

This exhibit chronicles important events in the history of Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve and brings to light lesser-known efforts to save North America’s rarest tree from extinction on the San Diego coast. Exhibits runs February 10 to May 28, 2023.

Saturday, May 21, 3:00 pm at the Children’s Pavilion behind the Visitor Center/Lodge