SLO Docent Blog

Volunteer Appreciation Week 2019

Happy Volunteer Appreciation Week! ECOSLO loves our volunteers – in 2018 alone, we had nearly 2,000 volunteers involved in our programs like Coastal Cleanup Day and Seas to Trees Day, Beach Keepers cleanups, Nature Projects, and SLO Stewards docent-led hikes. We’re so grateful for everyone who’s been involved with us – whether it was for one cleanup or hike, or whether they’re out there with us every weekend getting involved, our volunteers truly do make a difference! We wanted to highlight some special volunteers who’ve really stood out in the last year and how they’ve been involved with ECOSLO, so we asked them some questions about what fuels them and what made them want to get involved with us. Read below to learn more about these awesome volunteers!   Andrea Biniskiewicz “There’s a positive to every situation – learn to see it! Being in the environmental realm, especially as passionate as we are, can be draining sometimes – understanding the science, results, and solutions to the issues, but there’s always a positive (and it usually starts with having amazing organizations of people to spearhead a movement!!)” “I got involved with ECOSLO as a social media intern. My background is both in environmental science and marketing, so this was the perfect opportunity to expand skills and get involved with an organization that I truly believe shares the same values as me,” shares Andrea. Since then, her main focus has been marketing – collaborating with Mary, the Executive Director + Kayla, AmeriCorps Member, on social media strategy and campaigns, and also serves on ECOSLO’s Board of Directors. She’s passionate about exploring...

August Hike with Chris: Cerro San Luis

Cerro San Luis: August, 13 2017, Lead: Chris Only one hiker participated in this hike, which took place under overcast skies, but it went well. The duration of the hike was approximately one hour. The lemon grove and new trail construction were of interest, as were the various points of interest (including several other City open space areas) that are visible from the trail....

July Hike with Katie: Islay Hill

Islay Hill Hike: July 22, 2017, Lead: Katie Sweep: Carolyn There were 6 non-docents on this morning’s hike, including SLO Stewards docent, Chris’s, wife and son.  We started the hike under a nice, cool marine layer, which broke about the time we reached the summit.  At this point in the summer, there weren’t many wildflowers in bloom but did see plenty of pasture tar weed and mustard plant flowers.  Carolyn pointed out several bedrock mortars where Chumash speaking Native Americans broke apart and ground acorns that were adjacent to the trail (I recently learned that Chumash is not a specific tribe but rather a group of languages spoke by the numerous different tribes ranging from Monterey Bay to Santa Barbara).  On our way down, we saw a bald eagle soaring directly above the trail a little northeast of...

July Hike with Dale: Islay Hill

Islay Hill Hike: July 15, 2017, Lead: Dale Sweep: Chris Our group had a perfect morning to traverse the 482 vertical feet of Islay Hill. We saw lizards all over the trail as the sun got higher and we passed many patches of Turkey Mullein which likes the disturbed ranch lands near the base of Islay. We also saw poppies and wild roses on the way to the top, where we were rewarded with a 360 degree...

July Hike with Seth: Laguna Lake

Laguna Lake Hike, July 8, 2017, Lead: Seth We had a beautiful start for our hike no wind 72 degrees Blue Skies. We only saw one person during our hike in three miles we finished in pretty quick time. We saw some cool wildflowers, shared some stories, and checked out the surrounding views. All three people had never been before so it is always fascinating to show people are surrounding...

June Hike with Chris: Guidetti Ranch

Guidetti Ranch Hike, June 25, 2017, Lead: Chris Thirteen hikers met up on June 25 for the final Guidetti Ranch hike of 2017.  The day was beautiful, and started off with a large gopher snake sunning itself in the road right at the parking area.  Various native plants were still flowering, including sticky monkeyflower, deerweed, Indian paintbrush, Indian pink, and pearly everlasting.  The Pismo clarkia was still blooming vibrantly, while the Indian Knob mountain balm was winding down.  The views from the top of Indian Knob were much admired by the group and included a mule deer buck that was hanging out in the small cave below the peak.  The day was capped off by the smoke trail from a rocket launch at Vandenberg AFB on the way back.  All in all, it was an excellent...

June Hike with Dale: Felsman Loop

Felsman Loop Hike, June 24, 2017, Lead: Dale, Sweep: Chris Docents Dale and Chris had a perfect morning to hike the Felsman Loop with 5 hikers. During the hike we saw club-haired mariposa lilies, a wild rose, and hillsides of sticky monkey flowers. From many parts of the hike we could see six of the morro’s and a couple of rock climbers on Bishop...

June Hike with Chris: Reservoir Canyon

Reservoir Canyon Hike, June 17, 2017, Lead: Evan, Sweep: Chris We had a total of 18 people join us today. A few apparently pulled out due to the heat (I don’t blame them). Attached is the sign-in sheet and group photo. We started at the waterfall taking the new trail up to the section that returns to the canyon, thereby bypassing the flooded eroded section on the original trail.  I have never seen so many SLO Mariposa Lilies, Calochortus obispoensis.  There were still quite a few flowers in bloom, including California-fuchsia, Columbine, Club-Haired Mariposa Lily, Golden Stars, Toyon, Palmer’s Spineflower, just to name a few. We also had the opportunity to observe a Common California Kingsnake on the side of the trail. The canyon was more pleasant than expected with the water nearby and plenty of shade.  As we ascended toward the “Goat Herder’s” homestead we felt the heat.  At the Eucalyptus we talked about the hermit that lived at the location then returned down the way we came.  5 people decided to continue to the top so we filled up there water bottles and said our goodbyes. All in all,  it was a great...

June Hike with Dale: Irish Hills (Madonna trailhead)

Irish Hills hike, Madonna trailhead, June 10, 2017, Lead: Dale; Sweeps; Chris, Katie On a perfect Saturday morning in SLO, three docents and 20 hikers enjoyed a 3 mile hike up Froom Creek and down the Mariposa trail. We saw many great club-haired mariposa lilies (yellow flower attached), clay mariposa lilies, yuccas, poppies, golden stars and hummingbird sage. The kids had fun touching the sticky monkey flower and smelling the black sage. From the top of Irish Hills we were able to see six of the morros and we talked about Portola’s expedition through San Luis in 1769 and the California State Rock, serpentine. A great way to start the...

May Hike with Chris: Cerro San Luis (Lemon Grove Loop)

Cerro San Luis hike, Lemon Grove Loop, May 20, 2017, Lead: Chris; Sweep: Evan On the warm and beautiful Saturday morning of May 20, 12 intrepid hikers turned out for the Lemon Grove Loop hike at the Cerro San Luis Open Space.  On this easy-to-moderate hike, of approximately 2.1 miles, items for discussion included trail safety (drink plenty of water on a hot day!), wildflower and other native plant identification, wildlife sightings, geology, and a bit of ranching history.  Leaving the trailhead a few minutes past 9:00, the group first stopped to check out the City’s new information kiosk panels.  These educational panels, which discuss trail etiquette and various aspects of local natural history, are nicely done and are a real asset to the hiking and biking public.  ECOSLO docent Evan Albright provided some interesting commentary on plant use by Native Americans.  The trail’s namesake lemon grove, which includes about two dozen newly planted lemon saplings, was discussed belatedly by hike leader Chris (who was so “in the zone” that he initially walked right by it without pointing it out!).  In addition, new trail segments and various local landmarks, including several of the City’s other open space areas (Islay Hill, Terrace Hill, South Hills, Bishop Peak), were pointed out.  All in all, it was a fine day for a hike with a great group of outdoor...

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