California Department of Fish and Wildlife
This article was originally printed in Outdoor California magazine, September - October 2003.
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This is a 3-part article. All parts of the article are listed below.

Lots of opportunity to get involved at Crestridge Ecological Reserve

By Ann Hennessey

One of the Department of Fish and Game's (DFG) key partners at Crestridge Ecological Reserve is the Earth Discovery Institute, formed to educate the public about nature through the reserve. The Endangered Habitats League, a non-profit organization, oversees the Institute at Crestridge. The Earth Discovery Institute organizes educational, volunteer and fundraising activities for the reserve, according to its website at And, coordinator Leslie Reynolds is always looking for people to assist with those activities.

Crestridge Ecological Reserve

Neighbors who enjoy Crestridge Ecological Reserve have also made a commitment to supporting the area as well.

Photo © Ann Hennessey

"We would really love people to volunteer in any capacity," Reynolds said. "There are a myriad of volunteer opportunities." Institute volunteers were instrumental in developing the plan to rehabilitate the vandalized portion of Crestridge, and educating the reserve.s neighbors about proper use of the land. Volunteers also got their hands dirty actually restoring the area.

This past summer the Earth Discovery Institute guided the progress of an informational kiosk built at one of the reserve.s public entrances. San Diego County-architect and artist James Hubbell designed the rounded kiosk using hay bales and earth. Upon the kiosk.s completion, native plants will grow from the roof. The concept, according to DFG biologist Terri Stewart, is to introduce the public, especially urban school children, to nature so they might grow up to better appreciate and, in turn, protect the outdoors.

Two more buildings are planned but do not yet have final DFG approval: a field station that would include a computer lab, library, offices and a home for a land manager; and an open-air studio where people could create art.

In the meantime, the Institute is busy working with local schools, Granite Hills High and Crest Elementary, bringing students to the reserve to learn first-hand about science and nature.

Ann Hennessey is a freelance writer and teacher in Southern California.