Sea Grant California exhibit at the Dockside Market.

These friendly people with Sea Grant California showed me all sorts of fascinating creatures that reside off our coast! They encourage using locally sourced food.
These friendly people with Sea Grant California showed me all sorts of fascinating creatures that thrive off our coast! They encourage using locally sourced food.

During a walk last weekend, I headed out onto the pier just north of Seaport Village where the ever-growing Tuna Harbor Dockside Market is held on Saturday mornings. In addition to the local fishermen selling a wide variety of freshly caught seafood, I noticed one table with an interesting exhibit. Folks were demonstrating a few of the many different sea creatures that can be caught off San Diego’s coast.

I learned this display was created by Sea Grant California, an organization that connects government agencies, California universities, nonprofit organizations, local businesses and residents in our coastal community. Their mission is to conduct impartial research, disseminate knowledge, encourage best practices for environmental stewardship and optimize sustainable economic development.

Lots of people on the pier were checking out the live marine creatures on display, and learning which species are most common in the Pacific Ocean off our coast. I was told that most of San Diego’s commercial fishermen are conscientious and highly responsible. There are about 131 commercial fishing vessels licensed in the county. Many are based in Tuna Harbor, which occupies a picturesque stretch of San Diego’s Embarcadero.

In addition, I learned that the Port of San Diego is testing an aquaculture project at the end of one of Tuna Harbor’s docks. The port’s Oyster Nursery Research Project is part of an expanding effort to try out new Blue Economy technologies in San Diego Bay. The concept of a Blue Economy is to use innovative methods to maximize resources that are locally available in a sustainable and environmentally friendly way.

Very cool!

Fresh locally caught fish on ice for sale at San Diego's Tuna Harbor Dockside Market.
Fresh locally caught fish on ice for sale at San Diego’s Tuna Harbor Dockside Market.
What's for dinner?
What’s for dinner?

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

Boy Scouts improve Bennington Memorial Oak Grove.

Crew members of USS Theodore Roosevelt help Boy Scout Maxwell Thomson move logs in the USS Bennington Memorial Oak Grove. Photo courtesy Kathleen Winchester.
Crew members of USS Theodore Roosevelt help Boy Scout Maxwell Thomson move logs in the USS Bennington Memorial Oak Grove. Photo courtesy Kathleen Winchester.

Over the past year and a half, some amazing young men have been working to improve the USS Bennington Memorial Oak Grove in Balboa Park. These community-minded Boy Scouts, with the help of the San Diego Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution, have undertaken projects in the historic grove in order to achieve the rank of Eagle Scout.

You might remember the photos that I posted of the USS Bennington Memorial Oak Grove. It’s tucked away in a corner of Florida Canyon, not far from Naval Medical Center San Diego and the Balboa Park Municipal Golf Course. The 66 live oak trees were planted in 1905 to memorialize 66 sailors killed on the USS Bennington on July 21st of that year. The gunboat’s boiler exploded while it was in San Diego Bay, and many men tragically perished.

The efforts of these hardworking Boy Scouts have added beauty, safety and memory to the old oak grove. Four have successfully become Eagle Scouts. They are Joshua Ortega, Sam Kinsey, Frederick Persons and Erik Ortlieb. The projects of two other young men are now underway. Those Scouts are Maxwell Thomson and Preston Buljat.

Most of these photographs have been contributed by local historian Kathleen Winchester. She and other members of the DAR’s San Diego Chapter have been instrumental in providing coordination and encouragement as the USS Bennington Memorial Oak Grove is improved. Please read the photo captions to appreciate the unselfish work of these young men.

I have learned the grove’s kiosk will eventually contain the names of those who perished aboard the USS Bennington. And very soon a flagpole will be raised in the grove-the project of Preston Buljat.

In 2014, the San Diego Chapter of Daughters of the American Revolution partnered with the San Diego Park and Recreation Department and the Friends of Balboa Park as part of the latter’s “Adopt-A-Plot” program and adopted the Bennington Memorial Oak Grove.

The local DAR intends to purchase more oak trees to replace dead ones. If anyone wants to help with this worthy endeavor, contact the San Diego Chapter of DAR. All contributed funds will go straight to the purchase of trees.

As you can see in a few of the photos, U.S. Navy sailors from the San Diego homeported aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt have also lent a hand. Their involvement is especially meaningful as Teddy Roosevelt was the President of the United States in 1905 when the USS Bennington disaster occured. President Roosevelt was a conservationist who would have loved this shady grove of majestic oaks.

The sailors from the USS Theodore Roosevelt, by helping to beautify the USS Bennington Memorial Oak Grove, honored their fellow seamen from an earlier time.

The USS Bennington Memorial Oak Grove in Balboa Park has been improved by some amazing young men working to achieve the rank of Eagle Scout.
The USS Bennington Memorial Oak Grove in Balboa Park has been improved by some amazing young men working to achieve the rank of Eagle Scout. Photo courtesy Kathleen Winchester.
The oak grove's entrance sign is an Eagle Project undertaken by Erik Ortlieb of Boy Scout Troop 4 in La Jolla.
The oak grove’s entrance sign is an Eagle Project undertaken by Erik Ortlieb of Boy Scout Troop 4 in La Jolla.
Erik Ortlieb poses with Kathleen Winchester of the DAR by the sign he built on October 16, 2016. It welcomes visitors into the beautiful old oak grove.
Erik Ortlieb poses with Kathleen Winchester of the DAR by a post of the wooden sign he built on October 16, 2016. The sign welcomes visitors into the beautiful old oak grove. Photo courtesy Kathleen Winchester.
Boy Scout Sam Kinsey works on the trail that leads into the historic USS Bennington Memorial Oak Grove in Balboa Park.
Boy Scout Sam Kinsey works on the trail that leads into the historic USS Bennington Memorial Oak Grove in Balboa Park. Photo courtesy Kathleen Winchester.
Boy Scout Joshua Ortega finished a footbridge in the grove just days before his 18th birthday. He is now attending Pepperdine University.
Boy Scout Joshua Ortega finished a footbridge in the grove just days before his 18th birthday. He is now attending Pepperdine University. Photo courtesy Kathleen Winchester.
Plaque on the bridge reads Eagle Scout Project - Joshua R. Ortega - Troop 299 - June 2016.
Plaque on the bridge reads Eagle Scout Project – Joshua R. Ortega – Troop 299 – June 2016.
Boy Scout Frederick Persons poses in front of the new kiosk he built. Around him are volunteers from Boy Scout Troop 295.
Boy Scout Frederick Persons poses in front of the new kiosk he built. Around him are volunteers from Boy Scout Troop 295. Photo courtesy Kathleen Winchester.
Crew members of San Diego aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt lend a helping hand by rolling logs that will border a path though the grove.
Crew members of San Diego aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt lend a helping hand by rolling logs that will border a path though the grove. Photo courtesy Kathleen Winchester.
Boy Scout Maxwell Thomson and U.S. Navy sailors roll logs into place in the USS Bennington Memorial Oak Grove.
Boy Scout Maxwell Thomson and U.S. Navy sailors roll logs into place in the USS Bennington Memorial Oak Grove. Photo courtesy Kathleen Winchester.
Maxwell Thomson poses with friends among logs which now mark the trail through the revitalized USS Bennington Memorial Oak Grove!
Maxwell Thomson poses with friends among logs which now mark the trail through the USS Bennington Memorial Oak Grove. Photo courtesy Kathleen Winchester.
15-year-old Maxwell Thomson takes a short break as DAR San Diego Chapter members cheer him on!
15-year-old Maxwell Thomson takes a short break as DAR San Diego Chapter members cheer him on! Photo courtesy Kathleen Winchester.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

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Refugee students learn job skills at city farm!

Refugee high school students grow and sell vegetables in North Park. They are Youth FarmWorks interns receiving a helping hand from the International Rescue Committee!
Refugee high school students grow and sell vegetables in North Park. They are Youth FarmWorks interns receiving a helping hand from the International Rescue Committee!

I was walking around North Park yesterday when I stumbled upon a small farm on a dirt lot north of St. Luke’s Episcopal Church. I crossed 30th Street to see what was going on, and noticed a bunch of youth working the soil, and sitting at a table selling vegetables!

It turns out these super friendly new San Diego residents are refugees attending local high schools. As Youth FarmWorks interns they are learning job skills and gaining confidence in their new country. This urban farming project was created by the International Rescue Committee, which helps refugees adjust to life in the United States, where they are safe and free from persecution.

I was given a tour of the small farm by a super cool young man–he’s the guy who gave me a thumbs up in that first photo! He showed me the various vegetables they were growing, including different types of lettuce, beets, squash, cherry tomatoes, and much more. My tour was awesome!

Good luck to everyone!

Sign by the large vegetable garden reads Youth Farm Works - Job Training Urban Farm.
Sign by the large vegetable garden reads Youth Farm Works – Job Training Urban Farm.
Many large planters contain all sorts of growing vegetables.
Many large planters contain all sorts of growing vegetables.
Kids at work on the urban farm.
Students at work on the urban farm.
A very cool smile!
A very cool smile!

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

Photos of 54th Annual North Park Toyland Parade!

A cool sight before the 54th Annual North Park Toyland Parade gets started!
A cool sight before the 54th Annual North Park Toyland Parade gets started!

Here are lots of photos from today’s 54th Annual North Park Toyland Parade!

This was my first year watching the Toyland Parade. I headed to North Park and walked about a little before the parade began. Then I found a spot on the sidewalk and got my camera ready!

Kids head toward the parade route, which begins along University Avenue in San Diego's North Park neighborhood.
Kids head toward the parade route, which begins along University Avenue in San Diego’s North Park neighborhood.
These kids were selling fresh mistletoe before the parade got started.
These kids were selling fresh mistletoe before the parade got started.
Folks chat in the staging area before the hometown holiday parade begins in the late afternoon.
Folks chat in the staging area before the hometown holiday parade begins in the late afternoon.
And here we go! Boy Scouts lead the parade carrying flags.
And here we go! Boy Scouts lead the parade carrying flags.
After a bunch of local San Diego politicians go by, here comes the Grinch!
After a bunch of local San Diego politicians go by, here comes the Grinch!
It's the Gift of Dance! Some very lively Mexican folklorico dancing adds zest to the parade!
It’s the Gift of Dance! Some very lively Mexican folklorico dancing adds zest to the parade!
Whirling color.
Whirling color.
A fun truck with a Christmas tree in back.
A fun truck with a Christmas tree in back.
Looks like Santa-clown.
Looks like Santa-clown.
This fun parade entry sported a miniature North Park landmark sign.
This fun parade entry sported a miniature North Park landmark sign.
I believe this is a student attending Saint Didacus Parish School.
I believe this is a student attending Saint Didacus Parish School.
Lots of candy was being handed out to thrilled kids along the parade route.
Lots of candy was being handed out to thrilled kids along the parade route.
Kimberly Wong was the 2017 Miss Toyland Parade Queen!
Kimberly Wong was the 2017 Miss Toyland Parade Queen!
Friendly folks from the Cambodian Nazarene Church.
Friendly folks from the Cambodian Nazarene Church.
This silly guy with the John P. Squibob group posed for my camera.
This silly guy with the John P. Squibob group posed for my camera.
Happy people go by.
Happy people go by.
San Diego's Al Bahr Shriners seems to be in every parade around the city.
San Diego’s Al Bahr Shriners seems to be in every parade around the city.
More goofy clowns.
More goofy clowns.
Here come those fun little parade vehicles the Shriners always drive.
Here come those fun little parade vehicles the Shriners always drive.
Here come some North Park Little Leaguers.
Here come some North Park Little Leaguers.
A Mexican and Canadian flag, and a really good time. I believe these are kids at Jefferson Elementary Steam Magnet.
A Mexican and Canadian flag, and a really good time. I believe these are kids at Jefferson Elementary Steam Magnet.
Everyone loves a parade. Including the participants!
Everyone loves a parade. Including the participants!
Here comes the Madison High School marching band!
Here comes the Madison High School marching band!
Marching cheerfully down University wearing Santa hats. Many familiar holiday tunes were performed during the parade.
Marching cheerfully down University Avenue wearing Santa hats. Many familiar holiday tunes were performed during the parade.
Yikes! It's Bumble, the Abominable Snowmonster of the North! Watch out Rudolph!
Yikes! It’s Bumble, the Abominable Snowmonster of the North! Watch out Rudolph!
And here comes another Grinch! Is nobody safe?
And here comes another fierce Grinch! Is nobody safe?
Here comes a bunch of super cool vehicles. Check this out...
Here comes a bunch of super cool vehicles. Check this out…
Check out the hydraulics action of this awesome lowrider!
Check out the hydraulics action of this awesome lowrider! These guys were bouncing their cars like mad all along the parade route!
The parade crowd loved these crazy cars.
The parade crowd loved these crazy cars.
It's the Sweetwater High School Red Devil Corps!
It’s the Sweetwater High School Red Devil Corps!
Here comes Charlie Brown, Snoopy and Woodstock on an elf-driven motorcycle!
Here comes Charlie Brown, Snoopy and Woodstock on an elf-driven motorcycle!
These are members of the Realm of Andor, part of the Belegarth Medieval Combat Society. They meet Sundays in Balboa Park at Morley Field.
These are members of the Realm of Andor, part of the Belegarth Medieval Combat Society. They meet Sundays in Balboa Park at Morley Field.
Everyone is in the North Park holiday parade. Even the Junk King!
Everyone is in the North Park holiday parade. Even the Junk King!
This guy's cool Star Trike appears to be modeled after the Starship Enterprise.
This guy’s cool Star Trike appears to be modeled after the Starship Enterprise. I wonder if it’s difficult to obtain dilithium crystals?
And at the end of the North Park Toyland Parade, good old Santa Claus waves to everyone from atop a fire engine! Merry Christmas!
And at the end of the North Park Toyland Parade, good old Santa Claus waves to everyone from atop a fire engine! Merry Christmas!

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Write down your secret, share it anonymously!

PostSecret is coming to the Museum of Man in Balboa Park on April 14, 2018.
PostSecret is coming to the Museum of Man in Balboa Park on April 14, 2018.

How cool is this?

I was walking through the Fall Back Festival in the Gaslamp before it opened this morning and stumbled upon an amazing community art project!

The project is called PostSecret, and it was begun in 2004 by an inspired gentleman named Frank Warren. People write down one of their emotional secrets anonymously on a postcard and mail it in. The postcards are then displayed as public art! The project has already received over a million submissions!

The folks I met at the Fall Back Festival were representing the Museum of Man in Balboa Park. I learned the traveling PostSecret exhibition is coming to San Diego and will open at the museum on April 14, 2018! Residents of San Diego are encouraged to share their secrets!

How? Simply mail a creative postcard containing one of your written secrets–it can be anything, as long as it is true–to the Museum of Man address you see in one of my photos! You can make your postcard into a work of art, or just write down a few brief words.

I’m mailing my postcard tomorrow.

You also have secrets to share, don’t you?

These friendly folks would like you to mail in one of your secrets anonymously!
These friendly folks would like you to mail in one of your secrets anonymously!
PostSecret is a project that was begun in 2004 by Frank Warren. Over a million secrets have been shared.
PostSecret is a project that was begun in 2004 by Frank Warren. Over a million secrets have been shared.
That address on the right is where you need to mail your postcard! Mail as many secrets as you'd like!
That address on the right is where you need to mail your postcard! Mail as many secrets as you’d like!
Perhaps by mailing your secret, you'll help us humans better understand our inner selves. Or gain a personal sense of relief. Or merely have a good laugh!
Perhaps by mailing your secret, you’ll help us humans better understand our inner selves. Or gain a personal sense of relief. Or simply enjoy a healthy laugh!

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

Stories glimpsed along a sidewalk in Little Italy.

Words in the story of Little Italy. Words that appear in untold human stories. Factory and first class Italian macaroni.
A chapter in the history of Little Italy. These few words also appear in untold human stories. Factory and first class Italian macaroni.

Sidewalks are crisscrossing pathways inside countless stories. Often elements from the stories linger in front of one’s eyes.

I recently walked down Kettner Boulevard in Little Italy. I moved slowly forward down the west sidewalk, from Kalmia Street to Fir Street.

Someone carefully laid these tiles in one small section of the sidewalk. Adding to many forward journeys a brief moment of beauty.
Someone carefully laid these tiles in one small section of the sidewalk. Adding to many forward journeys a brief moment of beauty.
Art, love, tears, humor . . . and croissants. Elements that are shared in many stories.
Art, love, tears, humor . . . and croissants. Elements that are shared in many stories.
Essential words underfoot. Many pass without noticing.
Essential words underfoot. Many might pass without noticing.
What thought or emotion caused someone to produce this image on a wall? Where is that person now?
What thought or emotion caused someone to produce this image on a wall? Where is that person now?
An airy vision of what might be. An enhancement of a wall that presently is.
A carefree vision of what might be. Dreams on another wall in the city.
Two stories intersect for a moment. The story of an artist and the story of a pedestrian.
Two stories intersect for a moment. The story of an artist and the story of a pedestrian.
Art on a sidewalk shows an imagined path into a promising future.
Art on a sidewalk shows an imagined garden path into an idyllic future.
Many in Little Italy have had their lives positively influenced by Vince Lombardi.
Many in Little Italy have had their paths influenced by legends.
This restaurant has been a dream ever since we were kids playing on the street of Little Italy...
This restaurant has been a dream ever since we were kids playing on the street of Little Italy…
A moment in memory captured, made magical, and shared.
A moment in memory captured, made magical, and shared.
Little Italy in San Diego, where countless moving feet and stories converge.
Little Italy in San Diego, where countless moving feet and stories converge.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

To read a few stories I’ve written, click Short Stories by Richard.

Scouts remove gum at Cabrillo National Monument!

Many generous Boy and Girl Scouts volunteered to beautify Cabrillo National Monument during Operation Gum Drop Removal!
Many generous Boy and Girl Scouts volunteered to beautify Cabrillo National Monument during Operation Gum Drop Removal!

I noticed during my visit to Cabrillo National Monument today that troops of Boy and Girl Scouts were busy around the park cleaning up chewing gum and other trash!

This very cool volunteering event was part of National Public Lands Day. It was also an opportunity for Scouts to earn special badges and enjoy a free lunch with park rangers!

Wow! Great job Scouts! Your positive outlook and dedication to community service has made San Diego even more beautiful! So here’s a big Thank You!

Scouts helping to remove gum and trash were awarded a Scout Ranger Patch, and enjoyed a complimentary lunch with Park Rangers!
Scouts helping to remove gum and trash were awarded a Scout Ranger Patch, and enjoyed a complimentary lunch with Park Rangers! How cool is that!
View of Cabrillo National Monument's Visitor Center from afar. I could see Scouts working hard throughout the park!
View of Cabrillo National Monument’s Visitor Center from afar. I could see Scouts working hard throughout the park!

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!