Fun photos of Explore Mission Trails Day!

As event begins, community organizations set up displays on the Visitor and Interpretive Center patio.
Park rangers and community organizations set up displays on the Visitor Center patio.

This morning I headed up Mission Gorge Road to check out the big annual Explore Mission Trails Day event!

Mission Trails Regional Park is a 6000-acre nature reserve located in San Diego’s East County. It’s one of the largest urban parks in the United States–basically a wide stretch of rugged, rocky wilderness within our large modern city! The San Diego River runs through the very heart of the park as it makes its way from higher inland elevations to the Pacific Ocean. I often drive past and gaze at the low chaparral-covered mountains and hills, and twice I’ve climbed Cowles Mountain, but this was the first time I’ve actually set foot inside the Visitor Center.

What an awesome place! How did I miss it all of these years?

Today I limited myself to the south end of the park, including a short but super cool hike from the Visitor Center to the Grinding Rocks. (That will be my next blog post!) There were additional Explore Mission Trails Day activities up by the Old Mission Dam and Kumeyaay Lake Campground, and by Mast Boulevard and Highway 52. I suppose I’ll have to go again next year!

My photos tell the story of what I saw…

Banner beside Father Junipero Serra Trail announces Explore Mission Trails Day!
Banner beside Father Junipero Serra Trail announces Explore Mission Trails Day!
There were opportunities to learn about nature, wildlife, science, history and the environment.
There were opportunities to learn about nature, wildlife, science, history and the environment.
Some folks near the main entrance of the Mission Trails Regional Park Visitor Center.
Some folks near the main entrance of the Mission Trails Regional Park Visitor Center.
Bronze sculpture of a golden eagle is perched above path near the Visitor Center entrance.
Bronze sculpture of a golden eagle is perched above path near the Visitor Center entrance.
Plaque by door dedicates the large open space park to past, present and future San Diegans.
Plaque by door dedicates the large open space park to past, present and future San Diegans.
View inside the Mission Trails Visitor and Interpretive Center from second floor balcony.
View inside the Mission Trails Visitor and Interpretive Center from second floor balcony.
Flutists play near Heritage sculpture depicting Kumeyaay elders. Amazing monumental artwork is by T.J. Dixon and James Nelson.
Flutists play near “Heritage” sculpture depicting native Kumeyaay elders. Amazing monumental artwork is by T.J. Dixon and James Nelson.
The Art of Bird Photography is a special exhibition featuring the work of Blake Shaw.
The Art of Bird Photography is a special exhibition featuring the work of Blake Shaw.
Roberta Labastida is the author of My Ancestors' Village, which tells about the life of the native Kumeyaay people who were here long before the arrival of Europeans.
Roberta Labastida is the author of My Ancestors’ Village, which tells about the life of the Kumeyaay people who were here long before the arrival of Europeans.
Numerous exhibits and activities could be found inside the Mission Trails Visitor and Interpretive Center.
Numerous exhibits and activities could be found inside the Mission Trails Visitor and Interpretive Center.
Western Scrub Jay and Northern Racoon are animals one might see in this very large San Diego urban park.
Western Scrub Jay and Northern Racoon are animals one might see in this very large San Diego urban park.
Cleaning some chalk off where kids have been identifying animal tracks.
Cleaning some chalk off where kids have been identifying animal tracks.
The bobcat is often encountered in the hills and mountains of San Diego County. I once saw one while hiking around Mount Laguna!
The bobcat is often encountered in the hills and mountains of San Diego County. I once saw one while hiking around Mount Laguna!
Historically, the Kumeyaay lived in large family groups, and moved about depending on the season and the availability of nature's bounty.
Historically, the Kumeyaay lived in large family groups, and moved about depending on the season and the availability of nature’s bounty.
Exhibits in Visitor Center's museum show different aspects of Kumeyaay culture, including songs, games and crafts.
Exhibits in Visitor Center’s museum show different aspects of Kumeyaay culture, including songs, games and crafts.
Very cool observation window allows visitors to look out upon South Fortuna and Kwaay Paay Peak.
Very cool observation window allows visitors to look out upon South Fortuna and Kwaay Paay Peak.
With the majestic chaparral-covered Fortuna Mountains as its backdrop, the coastal sage scrub habitat is highly adapted to our long hot summers.
With the majestic chaparral-covered Fortuna Mountains as its backdrop, the coastal sage scrub habitat is highly adapted to our long hot summers.
Looking back out at the outdoor patio. More people have arrived in the past few minutes while I explored inside.
Looking back out at the rear patio. More people have arrived in the past few minutes while I explored inside.
Now I'm outside again, coming down some steps. Another overcast day, following San Diego's latest storm!
Now I’m outside again, coming down some steps. Another cloudy day, following San Diego’s latest storm!
Replicated flume near Visitor Center is a modern interpretation of the man-made channel that carried water from the old Mission Dam (a couple miles upriver) to Mission San Diego de Alcala.
Replicated flume near Visitor Center is a modern interpretation of the man-made channel that carried water from the Old Mission Dam (a couple miles upriver) to Mission San Diego de Alcala.
Sign by replicated flume details how it was engineered. Water was used at the old Mission for livestock, farms and inhabitants.
Sign by replicated flume details how it was engineered over two centuries ago. Water was used at the old historic Mission for livestock, farms and inhabitants.
Cool table full of meteorites next to traditional Kumeyaay house made of willow branches.
Cool table full of meteorites next to traditional Kumeyaay house made of willow branches.
This sign tells the story of a fictional Kumeyaay woman, circa the year 1000. This primitive house was called an Ewaa.
This sign tells the story of a fictional Kumeyaay woman, circa the year 1000. This primitive house was called an Ewaa.
Large boulder moved to Visitor Center due to construction contains a mortar-like hole used by Kumeyaay to grind acorns, seeds, roots, herbs and other foods.
Large boulder moved to Visitor Center due to construction contains a mortar-like hole used by Kumeyaay to grind acorns, seeds, roots, herbs and other natural foods.
A replicated solar calendar made of stones used by Native Americans to mark the Winter Solstice. Only a couple have been found in San Diego County.
A replicated solar calendar made of stones, used by Native Americans to mark the Winter Solstice. Only a couple have been found in San Diego County.
This beauty is a California Wild Rose, found beside the patio. You more often find them along streams.
This pink beauty is a California Wild Rose, found beside the patio. They’re more often found along streams.
Lady rests in Visitor Center amphitheater by small bronze sculpture of a Dusky-footed Woodrat. These wild rodents can create nests up to 8 feet high!
Lady rests in Visitor Center amphitheater by small bronze sculpture of a Dusky-footed Woodrat. This wild rodent can create a nest up to 8 feet high!
Sculpture of a coyote, one the top predators of Mission Trails Regional Park. Even with human encroachment, they remain numerous today.
Sculpture of a coyote, one the top predators of Mission Trails Regional Park. Even with human encroachment, they remain numerous today.
Family checks out a very cool sculpture of a mountain lion at the amphitheater. This secretive animal is rarely seen around here.
Family checks out a very cool, life-size sculpture of a mountain lion at the amphitheater. This secretive animal is rarely seen around here.
Ms. Frizzle was present at Explore Mission Trails Day! The event was an educational treat for both kids and adults!
Ms. Frizzle was present at Explore Mission Trails Day! The event was an educational treat for both kids and adults!

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High School students create cool graphic novel!

Thoughtful, talented young artists create a graphic novel using imagination and creativity.
Thoughtful, talented young artists create a graphic novel using imagination and creativity.

I made a very cool discovery!

A local high school had an intriguing exhibit in Balboa Park yesterday during the big Garden Party of the Century event. The CCA Envision Conservatory for the Humanities Hummingbird Project has been launched by Canyon Crest Academy in Carmel Valley. Students are creating a graphic novel!

The four-part graphic novel will tell the story of four separate children who magically transform into a hummingbird and take flight. During each journey, the central character meets other animal friends and explores new places. The exciting stories encourage imagination and help educate the reader about culture, mythology, history and the environment.

What a fantastic, brilliant idea! Students learn, write, create art and become published all at once!

Perhaps other schools might be interested in doing something similar!

Here’s their Spirit Skies graphic novel website.

The Hummingbird Project includes a four-part graphic novel created by students at Canyon Crest Academy!
The Hummingbird Project includes a four-part graphic novel created by students at Canyon Crest Academy!
Inspiring exhibit at Balboa Park's big Garden Party of the Century event.
Inspiring exhibit at Balboa Park’s big Garden Party of the Century event.

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Art, smiles and activism at 2015 EarthFair!

EarthFair was held in San Diego's Balboa Park to celebrate Earth Day.
EarthFair was held in San Diego’s Balboa Park to celebrate Earth Day.

Late this morning I took a walk through this year’s EarthFair. You might have seen my blog last year, when I posted photographs from the gigantic event. Every year EarthFair attracts tens of thousands of enthusiastic San Diegans to Balboa Park to celebrate Earth Day. It’s billed as the largest free annual environmental fair in the world, and that sounds true to me! It’s huge!

Many of the over 300 exhibitors throughout Balboa Park can be seen at the event every year, and last year I featured many in photos. So I figured this year I’d focus slightly more on close up images. Super colorful art on signs, shirts, gifts and canvases provided many opportunities for my camera. I also saw a lot of smiles!

Cool graphic on EarthFair shirt. Balboa Park attracted a huge crowd as usual!
Cool graphic on official EarthFair shirt. The annual Balboa Park event attracted a huge crowd as usual!
One many signs with environmental messages... love the Earth. Plant a tree.
One of many handmade signs with environmental messages… love the Earth. Plant a tree.
Bright sunflowers on table of urban farming advocates.
Bright sunflowers on table of urban farming advocates.
Super smile advertising the Cacaofest, celebrating the cultures behind the chocolate! I'm there!
Super smile promoting the Cacaofest, which celebrates the cultures behind the chocolate! I’m there!
Solar-powered rotating globe held in a human hand.
Solar-powered rotating globe held in a sculpted human hand.
Creating art out of perfectly good food saved from dumpsters. I blogged about these guys last year!
Creating art out of perfectly good food saved from dumpsters. I blogged about these guys last year!

Donate Don’t Dump is a project undertaken by Rob Greenfield. Check out my blog from last year, if you’d like!

A powerful smile from the artist behind Nuts and Beans are Powerful Proteins!
A powerful smile from the artist behind Nuts and Beans are Powerful Proteins!
Protecting animals was one major theme at EarthFair.
Protecting animals was one major theme at EarthFair.
This guy is Dr. Wilderness. He had a family magic show. Great outfit!
This cool guy is Dr. Wilderness. He had a family magic show. Great outfit!
This smiling Dad and daughter musical duo was raising money to help build school gardens.
This cheerful Dad and daughter musical duo was raising money to help build school gardens.
A flower and smile, and I learned how copper gives slimy snails an electrical shock!
A flower and a smile.  I learned how copper gives slimy snails an electrical shock!
A happy blue whale out of water.
A happy blue whale out of water.
Lots of tie-dye could be seen throughout Balboa Park.
Lots of tie-dye could be seen throughout Balboa Park.
Many crafts, clothes and goods for sale featured lush color and spiritual imagery from Eastern religious traditions.
Many crafts, clothes and goods for sale featured lush color and spiritual imagery from Eastern religious traditions.
A super cool painting of Mr. Padre, Tony Gwynn, created by artist Michael Rosenblatt.
A super cool painting of Mr. Padre, Tony Gwynn, created by artist Michael Rosenblatt.

Is this painting of local baseball legend Tony Gwynn awesome, or what? It has a Facebook page!

Lots of hand-crafted musical instruments were for sale.
Lots of hand-crafted musical instruments were for sale.
Some guys carry flags in preparation for a small Earth Day parade through Balboa Park.
Some guys carry flags in preparation for a small Earth Day parade through Balboa Park.
Sam Garcia, Jr. works at a canvas. Several talented artists were at work for all to see.
Sam Garcia, Jr. paints a canvas. Several talented artists were at work for all to see.
Creative kids (or adults) could color these huge panels however they pleased!
Creative kids (or adults) could color these huge panels however they pleased!
Large panels on display featured fantastic artwork, many images with a 1960s feel.
Large panels on display featured fantastic artwork, many images with a 1960s feel.
This human skull really caught my attention!
This human skull really caught my attention!
Beautiful wild animals in an exotic nature scene.
Beautiful wild animals in an exotic nature scene.
What's your sign. This panel showed activist signs photographed during 25 years of EarthFair.
What’s your sign? This panel showed activist signs photographed during the 25 years of EarthFair.
This very nice Quaker lady advocates vegetarianism.
This very nice Quaker lady advocates vegetarianism.
Kids' art shown at The Project Lennon table. The organization promotes peace and positive outlets for urban youth.
Kids’ art shown at The Project Lennon table. This organization promotes peace and positive outlets for urban youth.
Local vegan and vegetarian groups had different booths and some humorous signs.
Various vegan and vegetarian groups had different booths and some humorous signs.
I wonder what the animal rights folks would think of this. Animals used to fight poverty.
I wonder what the animal rights folks would think of this? Animals used to fight poverty and hunger!
Which one of these is the real animal. That happy parrot on top.
Which one of these is the real animal? That happy parrot on top!
Sign states that every year 30,000 species go extinct.
Sign states that every year 30,000 species go extinct.
I saw lots of banners with peace signs and rainbow colors.
I saw lots of banners with peace signs and rainbow colors.
This butterfly was flitting about in the San Diego spring breeze.
This butterfly was flitting about in the San Diego spring breeze.
Food was also a major topic, and appeared in unusual works of art.
Food was also a major topic, and appeared in unusual works of art.
This totem pole was made of recycled materials!
This totem pole was made of recycled materials!
A table in the kids activity area promoted imagination and creativity.
A table in the kids activity area promoted imagination and creativity.
Harry Eubanks of Rivers Eden paints cool art on old bits of wooden fencing.
Harry Eubanks of Rivers Eden paints cool art on old bits of wooden fencing.
Fun art from recycled everyday items in the Repair and Reuse tent.
Fun art from recycled everyday items in the Repair and Reuse tent.
The art of peace by Da Vinci, Warhol, Picasso and other famous artists.
The art of peace by Da Vinci, Warhol, Picasso, Van Gogh and other famous artists.
Arts and crafts were for sale in a large area of grass near Park Boulevard.
Arts and crafts were for sale in a large vendor area on the grass near Park Boulevard.
Lion dances would take place later in the day!
Lion dances would take place later in the day!
Volunteer today! Plant a butterfly garden in Balboa Park!
Volunteer today! Plant a butterfly garden in Balboa Park!  Do it!
Art was encouraged everywhere I turned. I enjoyed taking a walk through the 2015 EarthFair!
Art was encouraged everywhere I turned. I enjoyed taking a walk through the 2015 EarthFair!

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Meet Don and Dulce, Old Town’s donkeys.

I took another walk today…

Walking through Old Town San Diego State Historic Park we see a sign near Seeley Stable Museum. Let's go see the donkeys!
Walking through Old Town San Diego State Historic Park we see a sign beside Seeley Stable Museum. Let’s go see the donkeys!
Is this one of the donkeys. Nope. Visitors and kids from local schools can sit on this wooden critter, because touching the live donkeys is not allowed.
Is this one of the donkeys? Nope. Visitors and kids from local schools can ride this docile wooden critter, because touching the live donkeys is not allowed.
Look! We found some horned cattle corralled in a corner! Nope. Wrong again.
Look! We found some horned cattle corralled in a corner! Nope. Wrong again.
California State Park rangers ahead! I think something cool is up this way!
California State Park Rangers ahead! I think something cool is up this way!
It's 30 year old donkey Don. This guy can be grumpy, I'm told. I saw some evidence of that!
It’s 30 year old donkey Don. This guy can be grumpy, I’m told. I saw some evidence of that!
Over here we meet 28 year old Dulce, which in Spanish means sweet, or candy. She (I think it's a she--I didn't ask) is the friendlier donkey.
Over here we meet 28 year old Dulce, which in Spanish means sweet, or candy. She (I think it’s a she–I didn’t ask) is the friendlier donkey.
But the rangers here seem the friendliest of all!
But the rangers here seem the friendliest of all!

Visiting school kids, with the help of Don and Dulce, can learn what life was like (particularly for a donkey) in the very early days of San Diego.

Four things I learned during my brief visit:

Donkeys were a preferred draft and pack animal because of their spine, which pound for pound is much stronger than a horse. A donkey can pull half its weight.

Donkeys are closely related to the zebra.

Don and Dulce are rescue animals.

Old Town has fun surprises around every corner!

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Help Westview High School Music Outreach succeed!

Young ladies perform classical music in Balboa Park to help raise money for a very worthy cause!
Young ladies perform classical music in Balboa Park to raise money for a very worthy cause!

A group of talented young people in San Diego have a lofty ambition. They want to make our world a much better place!

This afternoon I was walking along when I happened upon two members of the Westview Music Outreach Club skillfully playing classical music. They had attracted a small crowd on El Prado in Balboa Park. Their sign really caught my attention:

Westview High School Music Outreach of San Diego has important goals! Their mission is to enrich others through music. Can you help them succeed?
Westview High School Music Outreach of San Diego has important plans! Its mission is to spread riches of music.

The club is already engaged in many positive activities! Check out their website.

I don’t see why the Westview High School Music Outreach can’t became an enormous success. With a little help anything is possible. Their (and your) generous musical gifts might touch and enrich thousands of lives! Can you help them succeed?

High School students actively working to change the world into a much better place!
High School students actively working to change the world into a better place!

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Kids explore science, engineering at STEM event.

Kids learn about electronics by combining fun pieces from a kit, creating circuits.
Kids learn about electronics by combining fun pieces from a kit, creating circuits.

Today I checked out a truly amazing event! Expo Day capped off the week-long San Diego Festival of Science and Engineering (formerly known as the San Diego Science Festival), and brought out thousands of families and kids, eager to learn about science. STEM, which stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math education, was Expo Day’s principal focus. The seventh annual event nearly burst the seams of downtown’s big Petco Park stadium. There were so many cool exhibits, so much stuff to see, I only managed to experience about half of it! My poor old brain nearly exploded!

Here is a bit of what I saw!

Exhibitor map for Expo Day, main event of the San Diego Festival for Science and Engineering.
Exhibitor map for the huge Expo Day, concluding event of the San Diego Festival for Science and Engineering.
Lots of folks inside Petco Park (baseball stadium of the San Diego Padres) learn about science.
Lots of folks inside Petco Park (baseball stadium of the San Diego Padres) learn about science.
This kid is way more interested in a map to cool science stuff than boring bags of cotton candy!
This kid is way more interested in a map to cool science stuff than boring bags of cotton candy!
A robot was moving mysteriously about, amusing people who were just walking along the concourse.
A robot was moving mysteriously about, amusing people who were just walking along the concourse.
Group demonstrates the structure of some common molecules.
Group demonstrates the structure of some common molecules.
The big annual STEM event focused on Science, Technology, Engineering and Math education.
The STEM event focused on Science, Technology, Engineering and Math education.
Investigating creatures one might find in a mudflat.
Investigating organisms one might find in a mud flat.
This balloon soon rose on a column of air and floated out of the tube!
This balloon soon rose on a column of air and floated out of the tube!
Young inventors assemble unique creations using all sorts of ordinary materials.
Young inventors assemble unique creations using all sorts of ordinary materials.
Understanding genetic attributes using Boolean logic. Sounds complicated!
Understanding genetic attributes using Boolean logic. Sounds complicated!
Youth would attempt to break a Guinness World Record at Second Hour of Code mass coding event led by a Microsoft professional.
Youth would attempt to break a Guinness World Record at Second Hour of Code mass coding event led by a Microsoft professional.
I've never seen so many hands on experiments in one place!
I’ve never seen so many hands on experiments in one place!
Don't mess with this guy. He's a super cool scientist dude!
Don’t mess with this guy. He’s a super cool scientist dude!
Kids test out non-Newtonian fluids which seem to harden like rubber when struck.
Kids test out non-Newtonian fluids which seem to harden like rubber when struck.
Young explorers are shown how to build their own spectroscope! And to think I was confounded by my Etch A Sketch!
Young scientific explorers are shown how to build their own spectroscope! And to think I was confounded by my Etch A Sketch!
Test your own confused mental cognition and speak these colors really fast for yourself!
Test your own mental cognition and speak these colors really fast for yourself!
Oh, man! Check this weird elephant out! I love optical illusions!
Oh, man! Check this weird elephant out! I love optical illusions!
This fancy aquarium acts as a flume, used to test the motion of fish and their muscular development.
This fancy lab aquarium acts as a flume, used to test the motion of fish and their muscular development.
Pointing out a butterfly in a displayed collection.
Pointing out a butterfly in a carefully classified collection.
Wow! These youngsters are building DNA models! That's way beyond me!
Wow! These youngsters are building DNA models! That’s way beyond me!
Learning how smoking exposes people to all sorts of toxic chemicals.
Learning how smoking exposes people to all sorts of toxic chemicals.
Girl learns about gyroscopes and angular momentum with a spinning bicycle tire.
Girl learns about gyroscopes and angular momentum with a spinning bicycle tire.
Some students built cool models of futuristic cities.
Some students built cool models of futuristic cities.
Awesome robots were all over the place!
Awesome robots were all over the place!
People were jumping about as this robot dashed about scooping stuff up.
People were jumping about as this robot dashed about scooping stuff up.
This robot participates in the Lego League, trying to score points on an unusual course.
This robot participates in the Lego League, trying to score points on an unusual course.
This is a mechanical, computerized Rubik's Cube solver that detects color.
This is a mechanical, computerized Rubik’s Cube solver that detects color.
Looking down into Petco Park's Power Alley, where more STEM exhibits were located.
Looking down into Petco Park’s Power Alley, where more STEM exhibits were located.
Lots of animal life on display included this beautiful long-nosed snake.
Lots of animal life on display included this beautiful long-nosed snake.
Lady demonstrates how bio fuels are refined using filtration.
Lady demonstrates how bio fuels are refined using filtration.
Chrismas lights helped teach about energy conservation.
Christmas lights helped to teach about energy conservation.
Thousands turned out for the San Diego Festival of Science and Engineering Expo Day.
Tens of thousands turned out for the big San Diego Festival of Science and Engineering Expo Day.
Many businesses were showing their products, discoveries and technological advances.
Many businesses were showing their products, discoveries and technological advances.
AirZooka vortex generator shoots circular pulse of air at the shimmer wall!
AirZooka vortex generator shoots circular pulse of air at the shimmer wall!
This automated machine helps prepare lab samples in medical facilities.
This automated machine helps prepare lab samples in medical facilities.
Kids left notes on a wall with their bright ideas.
Kids left notes on a wall with their bright ideas.
Planting some tomato seeds, to watch the plant grow at home!
Planting some tomato seeds, to watch them sprout and grow at home!
More kids making complex molecules with marshmallows! I guess they'll be future scientists!
More kids making complex molecules with colored marshmallows! I guess they’ll be future scientists!
Some art was being created to accompany all the science and technology stuff.
Some art was being created to accompany all the science and technology stuff.
This guy uses electromagnetism to launch cans skyward and splatter cucumbers!
This guy uses electromagnetism to launch cans skyward and splatter cucumbers!
Petco's sunny Park at the Park was jammed with families enthused by education.
Petco’s sunny Park at the Park was jammed with families enthused by education.
Demonstating maglev (magnetic levitation) using eddy currents.
Demonstrating maglev (magnetic levitation) using eddy currents.
Young people write down what they like about science!
Young people write down what they like about science!
Young astronomers duplicate the colors of an enhanced surface image of asteroid Vesta.
Young astronomers duplicate the colors of an enhanced surface image of asteroid Vesta.
This NASA inflatable is the actual size of the Curiosity rover now on Mars.
This NASA inflatable is the actual size of the Curiosity rover now on Mars.
Everyone is fascinated by a cool NASA photograph of the surface of Mars.
Everyone is fascinated by a cool NASA photograph of the surface of Mars.
A member of the next generation lays his hands on our planet.
A member of the next generation lays his hands on our planet.

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Photos aboard Scripps research vessel Melville!

Ready to board R/V Melville from San Diego's Broadway Pier before the research ship is retired.
Ready to board R/V Melville from San Diego’s Broadway Pier before the research ship is retired.

The research ship Melville retired today. For five decades scientists aboard the ship helped to expand our understanding of the oceans, marine biology and planet Earth. I headed down to the Broadway Pier on San Diego’s Embarcadero this morning, because for one rare and final time the general public was invited to tour this legendary ship!

The R/V Melville, the oldest active ship in the University-National Oceanographic Laboratory System fleet of marine research ships, was launched by the Navy in 1969. Operated by the world-famous Scripps Institution of Oceanography in La Jolla, the vessel has undertaken 391 research cruises and steamed a total of 1,547,080 nautical miles. A fact sheet distributed to today’s visitors also notes that the Melville logged over 90 equator crossings and has hosted around 7,116 scientists from 237 institutions. That amounts to a lot of knowledge gained!

The amazing oceanographic research ship was named after George Melville, an arctic explorer and Rear Admiral in the United States Navy. One interesting fact: the ship was used in the filming of the 1976 movie King Kong!

I took these photos as I enjoyed this fascinating final tour of the ship. I hope my captions accurately describe what I saw. (If they don’t, please leave a comment!) Some of the interior shots are a bit blurry. I apologize.

The Melville is operated by the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, part of UCSD in La Jolla.
The Melville is operated by the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, part of UCSD in La Jolla.
One of many friendly, helpful people who've served on the history-making ship.
One of many friendly, helpful people who’ve served on the history-making ship.
The tour started at the bow. Downtown San Diego skyline in background.
The tour started at the bow. Downtown San Diego skyline rises in the background.
Excited people climb up toward the pilot house of Melville.
Excited people climb up toward the pilot house of Melville.
The shiny ship's bell!
The shiny ship’s bell!
Huge number of buttons, knobs, switches and dials in the pilot house of Melville.
Huge number of buttons, knobs, switches and dials in the pilot house of Melville.
A second photo of the complicated ship control console.
A second photo of the complicated ship control console.
The ship's log is open on some navigational charts.
The ship’s log is open on some navigational charts.
Looking out porthole from the chief scientist's quarters below deck.
Looking out porthole from the chief scientist’s quarters below deck.
The chief scientist during research cruises slept here.
The chief scientist during research cruises slept here.
The library, lounge and study contain shelves of books and several interesting displays.
The library, lounge and study contains many shelves of books and several interesting displays.
Graphic in library depicts the R/V Melville.
Graphic in library depicts the R/V Melville.
Portrait of George Wallace Melville, the ship's namesake.
Portrait of George Wallace Melville, the ship’s namesake.
Bronze plaque commemorates the Melville's launch date in 1968.
Bronze plaque commemorates the Melville’s launch date in 1968.
Painting by artist Chuzo of the Melville hangs in a corridor near some stairs below deck.
Painting by artist Chuzo of the Melville hangs in a corridor near some stairs below deck.
Meal hours are posted on door leading to the cafeteria.
Meal hours are posted on door leading to the cafeteria.
Visitors check out the mess hall where crew and research scientists enjoyed a break, to eat, talk and share knowledge.
Visitors check out the mess hall where crew and research scientists enjoyed a break, to eat, talk and share knowledge.
One can choose bug juice or milk. I'll take milk, please!
Hungry folks can choose bug juice or milk. I’ll take milk, please!
Numbered mugs on the mess hall wall. Number 1 belongs to the captain.
Numbered mugs on the mess hall wall. Number 1 belongs to the captain.
Several masks, ethnic artifacts and marine objects decorate the walls of the cafeteria.
Several masks, ethnic artifacts and marine objects decorate the walls of the cafeteria.
A look at a shipboard laboratory where various materials could be analyzed.
A look at a shipboard laboratory where various materials could be analyzed.
At the photo's center is a winch control. Video monitors help scientists visualize their work underwater.
At the photo’s center is a winch control. Video monitors help scientists visualize their work underwater.
Gauge registers up to 75,000 pounds of tension!
Gauge registers up to 75,000 pounds of tension!
Massive A-frame at stern of Melville. The working deck contains exhibits for people to check out.
Massive A-frame at stern of Melville. The working deck contains exhibits for people to check out.
Sea Soar is an undulating towed vehicle used to collect real-time information, from the sea surface to a depth of 400 meters.
Sea Soar is an undulating towed vehicle used to collect real-time information, from the sea surface to a depth of 400 meters.
This outdoor area can be closed off during rough weather so that work can be performed when conditions are poor.
This outdoor area can be closed off during rough weather so that work can be performed when conditions are poor.
M.O.C.N.E.S.S. Multiple Opening/Closing Net and Environmental Sensing System allows oceanographers to catch zooplankton and measure environmental properties like salinity and temperature
M.O.C.N.E.S.S. Multiple Opening/Closing Net and Environmental Sensing System allows oceanographers to catch zooplankton and measure environmental properties like salinity and temperature.
Kids examine a rock dredge, used for the recovery of heavy material on the ocean floor.
Kids examine a rock dredge, used for the recovery of heavy material on the ocean floor.
Van Veen Grab for ocean floor sampling. When it hits bottom, the jaws close and grab a sample of sediment, rocks and creatures.
Van Veen Grab for ocean floor sampling. When it hits bottom, the jaws close and grab a sample of sediment, rocks and creatures.
Seismic Sound Source for sub seafloor acoustic imaging. Towed behind research vessel in conjunction with hydrophone streamer arrays to image the sub-seafloor geologic structure.
Seismic Sound Source for sub seafloor acoustic imaging. Towed behind research vessel in conjunction with hydrophone streamer arrays to image the sub-seafloor geologic structure.
Heavy machinery available on the complex ship includes multiple winches, cables, cranes.
Heavy machinery available on the complex ship includes multiple winches, cables, cranes.
Ocean probe with multiple sensors near an A-frame at ship's side, where it might be lowered by cable into the water.
Ocean probe with multiple sensors near an A-frame at ship’s side, where it might be lowered by cable into the water.
CTD and Water Sampling Rosette measures conductivity, temperature and depth with a variety of sensors. Other chemical and biological parameters can also be measured.
CTD and Water Sampling Rosette measures conductivity, temperature and depth with a variety of sensors. Other chemical and biological parameters can also be measured.
The super strong cable runs from here to one of two A-frames, where equipment can be towed or lowered.
The super strong cable runs from here to one of two A-frames, where equipment can be towed or lowered.
One of many powerful winches on the research vessel Melville.
One of many powerful winches on the research vessel Melville.
View from Broadway Pier of A-frame jutting from the Melville's side.
View from Broadway Pier of A-frame jutting from the Melville’s side.
Farewell RV Melville. The human race learned much during your decades of service!
Farewell R/V Melville. The human race learned much during your many decades of service!

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A garden and poem at New Children’s Museum.

New Children's Museum Garden Project beside Martin Luther King Jr. Promenade.
The New Children’s Museum Garden Project beside Martin Luther King Jr. Promenade.

I can’t stand being cooped up inside, especially on Christmas, so around noon I went out for a short walk around a sunny but very quiet downtown San Diego. I didn’t intend to blog about anything, but here I am posting a few pics anyway. That’s because I was impressed by the beauty of a very small spot along a popular walkway.

The Martin Luther King Jr. Promenade runs along a portion of Harbor Drive, and it passes San Diego’s fun New Children’s Museum. In addition to a playground right next to the pathway, there’s a very small urban garden. The museum’s Garden Project is a demonstration area that allows children to explore a few plants and the basics of gardening. Some art is incorporated into the space, and a surprising poem!

Small garden plot beside children's play area contains flowers and a few edible plants.
Small garden plot beside children’s play area contains flowers and a few edible plants.
Kids can explore gardening and learn with their own hands about our environment.
Kids can explore gardening and learn with their own hands about our environment.
Bicycle wheels and a couple scarecrows add to the fun in the Garden Project.
Bicycle wheels and a couple of scarecrows add to the fun in the Garden Project.
A few vegetables in plots enjoy the downtown San Diego sunshine!
A few vegetables in plots enjoy the downtown San Diego sunshine!
A whimsical poem is inscribed on a long wall enclosing the small garden.
A whimsical poem is inscribed on a long wall enclosing the small garden.

I should’ve photographed this entire poem, but I assumed at the time that it could be found on the internet. I was wrong! The poem seems like a fun, playful bit of writing, and I can’t make heads or tails of it looking at my few photos. Oh, well. I’ll leave it to you to reconstruct the verses I’ve selected!

I did figure out that the poem was written by Quincy Thomas Troupe, Jr., who used to be a professor at the University of California, San Diego, just up the coast in La Jolla. He is known for his biography of Miles Davis, the legendary jazz musician. Quincy also helped to write The Pursuit of Happyness, a true story which was adapted into the popular film starring Will Smith. (I love that movie!)

The poem bounds along with crazy, almost nonsensical words.
The poem bounds along with crazy, almost nonsensical words.
Hopping frogs seem to be important characters in this silly poem.
Hopping frogs seem to be important characters in this silly poem.
The poetry was written by local San Diego author Quincy Troupe.
The poetry was written by local San Diego author Quincy Troupe.
A beautiful sight greets pedestrians strolling down Martin Luther King Jr. Promenade.
A beautiful sight greets pedestrians strolling down Martin Luther King Jr. Promenade.

Here are two photos I took the following spring of flowers in the garden:

Perfect beauty.
Perfect beauty.
Bursts of color.
Bursts of color.

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San Diego Library exhibit: Lincoln and Civil War.

Abraham Lincoln, slavery, the Constitution, dissent, the Civil War, and lingering questions.
Abraham Lincoln, slavery, the Constitution, dissent, the Civil War, and lingering questions.

A thought-provoking historical exhibit is currently on display in downtown San Diego’s Central Library. Titled “Lincoln: The Constitution and the Civil War,” the large multi-paneled exhibit outlines and discusses a number of controversial issues that arose during the time of America’s Civil War. The exhibit, which has visited a number of different libraries, was created by the American Library Association and the National Constitution Center.

Old photos and texts help visitors to understand the election of Abraham Lincoln, the secession of the southern states, and the Civil War itself; complex topics that are explored include slavery and the plight of African Americans, the Constitution and state sovereignty, and civil liberties.

If you happen to find yourself in East Village, pop into the library. The large display is on the ground floor and very difficult to miss. The traveling exhibit will remain at this location through January 9, 2015.

Lincoln: the Constitution and the Civil War is on display in San Diego's Central Library.
Lincoln: the Constitution and the Civil War is on display in San Diego’s Central Library.
Meet Mr. Lincoln. The new American president was viewed by some with uncertainty or distrust.
Meet Mr. Lincoln. The new American president was viewed by some with uncertainty or distrust.
People at San Diego's new downtown public library check out a provocative historical exhibit.
People at San Diego’s new downtown public library check out a provocative historical exhibit.
The Confederacy attacked Fort Sumter after Lincoln decided to resupply the fortification.
The Confederacy attacked Fort Sumter after Lincoln decided to resupply the fortification.
Old envelope depicts a boxing match between Lincoln and Jefferson Davis.
Old envelope depicts a boxing match between Lincoln and Jefferson Davis.
The Civil War, fought for complex reasons, effectively ended slavery in America.
The Civil War, fought for complex reasons, effectively ended slavery in America.
The original Constitution didn't abolish slavery. It left the matter to the states.
The original Constitution didn’t abolish slavery. It left the matter to the states.
Exhibit examines dissent, and Lincoln's choice to suspend the writ of habeas corpus.
Exhibit examines dissent, and Lincoln’s choice to suspend the writ of habeas corpus.
Traveling library exhibit asks about the state of equality, freedom and democracy today.
Traveling library exhibit asks about the state of equality, freedom and democracy today.
It is for us the living...to be dedicated here to the unfinished work.
It is for us the living…to be dedicated here to the unfinished work.

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School students create amazing chalk art at Festa!

School kids create fantastic chalk art on Little Italy street for 2014 Festa event.
School students create amazing chalk art on a Little Italy street for the 2014 Festa event.

2014 Festa takes place tomorrow! The extremely popular event, this year celebrating its 20th anniversary, will be held as usual on the streets of Little Italy, a neighborhood on the north side of downtown San Diego. I’m excited!

Why?

The Gesso Italiano chalk art! Several city blocks will be overflowing with absolutely fantastic artistic creations! Perhaps you remember my blogs posts about the astounding chalk art at 2013 Festa. You’ll find them here, here and here.

Today a small army of artists began to work on a several block stretch of bare asphalt in San Diego. Tomorrow over a hundred thousand people will crowd Date Street and admire the finished masterpieces.

One block of Date Street has been reserved just for school kids! They were hard at work when I walked past today mid-afternoon!

Stand by for loads more photos tomorrow! I’m heading out to Festa in the early morning wearing comfortable walking shoes!

Washington Elementary STEAM students attend school just up the street.
Washington Elementary STEAM students attend school just up the street.
This Italian chalk art will be admired by tens of thousands on Sunday.
This Italian chalk art will be admired by tens of thousands on Sunday.
Roosevelt I.B. Middle School students work on a scene that includes a gondola.
Roosevelt I.B. Middle School students work on a scene that includes a gondola.
The chalk artists usually use existing artwork as a guide.
The many chalk artists usually use existing images as a guide.
Gesso Italiano chalk art is extremely bold, bright and colorful.
Gesso Italiano chalk art is extremely bold, bright and colorful.
Santa Fe Christian High School students were creating some fun, inspired art!
Santa Fe Christian High School students were creating some fun, inspired art!
Grant Pecoff has a studio in Little Italy. His original artwork is being duplicated.
Grant Pecoff has a studio in Little Italy. His original artwork is being duplicated.
Torrey Pines High School National Art Honor Society student works on asphalt canvas.
Torrey Pines High School National Art Honor Society student works on asphalt canvas.
Platt College had partially completed this, but no one was present when I walked past.
Platt College had partially completed this, but no one was present when I walked past.
13 year old Lidia F. Vasquez has been creating amazing chalk art for 4 years!
13 year old Lidia F. Vasquez has been creating stunning chalk art for 4 years!
Here's what Lidia is working from. She attends High Tech Middle School.
Here’s what Lidia is working from. She attends High Tech Middle School.
And this is the cool masterpiece young Lidia is producing. Wow!
And this is the super cool, mind-blowing masterpiece young Lidia is producing. Wow!
Teresa Elliot is almost finished with this abstract many-colored human face.
Teresa Elliot is almost finished with this abstract many-colored human face.
The Mount Miguel High School design appears to contain a cherub with rainbow wings.
The Mount Miguel High School design appears to contain a cherub with rainbow wings.
Very talented young people are hard at work on a sunny day in San Diego.
Very talented young people are hard at work on a sunny day in San Diego.
Team from Cathedral Catholic High School works to create some elaborate art.
Team from Cathedral Catholic High School works to create some elaborate art.
Chalk outlines of human figures that are slowly taking form.
Chalk outlines of human figures that are slowly taking form.
Torrey Hills Elementary kids are making something Italian that looks tasty!
Torrey Hills Elementary kids are making something Italian that looks tasty!
San Pasqual High School still has a bit or work to do. I can't wait to see it finished!
San Pasqual High School still has a bit or work to do. I can’t wait to see it finished!
Lincoln Acres Art Program is creating a cool Mona Lisa optical illusion with chalk!
Lincoln Acres Art Program is creating a cool Mona Lisa optical illusion with chalk!
I could take photos of this incredible stuff all day!
I could take photos of this incredible stuff all day!
One block of Cedar Street at Festa is dedicated to school students and their art!
One block of Date Street at Festa is dedicated to school students and their art!

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