Earth’s Advocate


Ethnobotany in SLO’s Open Space

This blog post is a blurb written by one of our SLO Stewards Docents, Evan Albright. You can meet up with Evan out on the trails, and learn more about our SLO Stewards Docent program here. Please note that this post is for educational purposes only, and it is illegal to collect anything in the City of SLO’s Open Spaces. As a local naturalist, I have lead countless hikes and wanders along the many trails in San Luis Obispo county over the past 19 years.  I am always struck by the amazing diversity we have here in SLO.  I have been told that we have more native plant species in our county than the entire state of Alaska. One resource that I have found useful to identify many of the plants along our local trails is the field guide “Wildflowers of San Luis Obispo,” created as a cooperative project by both the City of SLO and the local chapter of the California Native Plant Society. Below, I have included the page numbers for the plants mentioned. As a docent, one of my favorite things to demonstrate and share on hikes are the many traditional uses by the local Chumash tribes, and later the settlers, had of the plants for daily life, including edible, medicinal, and utilitarian uses.  I often bring items on my hikes to share, like a pair of hand made sandals created from Yucca leaves, Hesperoyucca whipplei (pg. 22), to demonstrate the strength of the fibers, and acorn bread made from the leached acorns of the Coast Live Oak, Quercus agrifolia, to taste the nutty flavor of... read more

Wildflower Wednesday 2019

This year, ECOSLO celebrated Wildflower Wednesday for 6 weeks, highlighting 6 wildflowers that can be found around SLO County. Scroll below to view the beautiful flowers, and be sure to get out on the trails to see the wildflowers! You can see our current docent-led hike schedule here.   Chocolate Lily Don’t get confused, the Chocolate Lily is named for its color – not for its taste 🙃 This flower is extraordinary, but occurs infrequently as it is difficult to grow, but a few can be spotted at Reservoir Canyon in SLO!     Fiddleneck The Fiddlenecks name comes from its resemblance to the head of a violin or fiddle. This picture was captured earlier this spring out at Carizo Plain, but the Filddleneck can be found from March to May in places in SLO like Laguna Lake!     Baby Blue-Eyes This annual flower can usually be found in many types of habitats throughout California, from sea level to up to 6500 ft elevation. If you’re looking for an easy wildflower to grow in your yard – this is it!     Tidy Tips Tidy Tips belong to the sunflower family and are especially popular with its daisy-like features. Keep an eye out for Tidy Tips when hiking throughout Reservoir Canyon or Irish Hills in SLO!     California Poppy The California Poppy was selected as the California state flower in 1890 and was made official by legislation in 1903. You can find the California Poppy all throughout SLO!     Johnny Jump-Up The Johnny Jump Up also goes by the names Yellow Pansy or the California Golden... read more

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... read more

2019 ECOSLO Schedule of Events

Volunteer projects listed in blue Community events listed in green Click here for the quarterly schedule of our free SLO Stewards hikes Wednesday, January 16 – Green Drinks: Meet “Sweetie” the Peregrine Falcon at Top Dog Coffee Bar (Morro Bay) Monday, January 21 – MLK Jr. Day of Service, Los Osos Community Park (private volunteer event with CivicSpark) Wednesday, January 23 – Eco-Networking (private event for member organizations of The Hub) Tuesday, February 26 – Save Our Seas, Ride Across America (co-hosts w/ Central Coast Aquarium & Bike SLO County) Wednesday, March 13 – Green Drinks: Arbor Day Edition at Beda’s Biergarten (SLO) Saturday, March 16 – LOVE SLO at Cuesta Park (SLO) Wednesday, March 20 – Eco-Networking (private event for member organizations of The Hub) Saturday, April 6 – Beach Keepers cleanup at Morro Strand Southern entrance, at HWY 41 (Morro Bay) Saturday, May 4 – 2nd Annual Seas to Trees Day (10 volunteer project locations across SLO County, projects to be listed mid-March!) Wednesday, May 15 – Eco-Networking (private event for member organizations of The Hub) Tuesday, May 28 – Beach Keepers post-Memorial Day cleanup at Pirate’s Cove/Cave Landing (Avila Beach) Saturday, June 1 – Beach Keepers cleanup at Morro Rock/Morro Bay Harbor (Morro Bay) Saturday, June 1 – National Trails Day at Lopez Lake (Arroyo Grande) Wednesday, June 5 – Green Drinks at TBD Friday, July 5 – Beach Keepers post-4th of July cleanups at Cayucos Pier (Cayucos) & Pirate’s Cove/Cave Landing (Avila Beach) Wednesday, July 17 – Eco-Networking (private event for member organizations of The Hub) Saturday, August 3 – Beach Keepers cleanup at Morro Strand at Toro Creek entrance (Morro Bay Saturday, August 10 – An Afternoon at the Ranch, music festival fundraiser  Wednesday, September 4 – Green Drinks at TBD Wednesday, September 11 – Eco-Networking (private event for member organizations of The Hub) Saturday, September 21 – 35th Annual Coastal Cleanup Day, International Coastal Cleanup Day – ECOSLO... read more

Have a Plastic Free 2019

5 Eco-Related New Year Resolutions! Written by Andrea Biniskiewicz In light of the new year, why not make a few resolutions that revolve around Earth? As the plastic epidemic continues to sweep the nation, we’ve compiled a list of 5 ways to help out Mother Nature in 2019. 1. Use Metal Straws Why: Eliminates plastic straws, which Americans (JUST – Americans alone) use up to 500 million per DAY. They’re a conversation starter at your local coffee shop, bar, or restaurant when someone asks where you got it 😉 Doesn’t make your drink (hot OR cold) taste metal-y!! YAY! Where to buy: HumanKind in Downtown SLO (& it comes with a little brush!) Nautical Bean – both locations How to Use: simply clean the straw before first use with warm water and soap (and a little brush if you have one), and put in your delicious drink! 2019 Challenge: Don’t buy from a coffee shop (we know how hard it is!!) unless you have your metal straw with you. 2. Beeswax Wrappers – The New Way to Store Food Why: Eliminates plastic wrap waste Wraps with flexibility and durability using the heat of your hand Keeps food fresh longer – tested & verified! Easy to clean!! Rinse with warm water and soap and ta-da! Is compostable – yay zero waste! Where to Buy: Lincoln Deli, Mint + Craft How to Use: Wrap beeswax wrapper over the top of your container, or wrap your whole food item! Easy peasy lemon squeezy! 2019 Challenge: completely eliminate saran wrap and plastic sandwich bags from your house.   3. Use Reusable Cloth Napkins Why:... read more