Hundreds of new trees planted in Balboa Park.

I was walking through Balboa Park on Sunday, making my way toward Park Boulevard, when I noticed a newly planted tree with a shiny plaque beside it.

I veered across the grass to investigate…

The plaque states:

TREE BALBOA PARK

This tree and hundreds of others have been planted throughout the park by the Balboa Park Conservancy, Urban Corps, Tree San Diego, and Parks & Recreation.

Funding for this California Climate Investments grant project has been provided through the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE), Urban and Community Forestry program.

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!

A hike near the Buena Vista Audubon Nature Center.

A beautiful, very easy nature hike can be enjoyed at the south end of Oceanside near the Buena Vista Audubon Nature Center. The quarter mile hike follows a quiet looping trail with views of the Buena Vista Lagoon Ecological Reserve.

Yesterday I walked the trail and took these photographs.

The Buena Vista Audubon Society runs the Nature Center, which is located at 2202 South Coast Highway. The trail begins and ends a few steps from the building’s front entrance, directly across the driveway.

The Buena Vista Audubon Society engages the community and local students by offering nature education and various birding opportunities. They are also active in working to protect and restore wetlands and other environmentally sensitive land. You can learn more about their mission at this web page.

The Nature Center was closed when I happened by, but the trail was wide open and inviting on a sunny July day.

Here and there through dense bulrushes, or at viewing platforms, one can see the placid lagoon, and birds floating in the water or taking flight. Not only does local wildlife depend on this important natural habitat, but Buena Vista Lagoon is used by thousands of migrating birds that follow the Pacific Flyway.

One section of the hike was on a wood plank boardwalk over shallow water, then the trail turned toward dry land where I saw majestic trees, including sycamores, cottonwoods, and even a few Torrey pines.

During my walk I happened to meet Buena Vista Audubon Society’s Executive Director Natalie Shapiro. Before I began my hike, I observed her picking up trash along the Coast Highway, where it crosses the lagoon. Then I saw her again on the trail! She asked if I’d like to volunteer! Volunteers are always greatly appreciated!

She was super friendly and explained to me the difference between bulrushes and cattails, which I tend to confuse. At the margins of the lagoon, the plant community includes both of these, not to mention pickleweed and saltgrass.

Since the 1940s, Buena Vista Lagoon has been sealed off from natural tidal fluctations, and it has consequently become a stagnant fresh-water system. But there are now plans to open the lagoon to the ocean, creating a more healthy wetland.

If you’d like to enjoy this very easy, educational nature hike, head to Oceanside. And plan to visit when the Buena Vista Audubon Nature Center is open! I need to do that, too!

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!

You can easily explore Cool San Diego Sights by using the search box on my blog’s sidebar. Or click a tag! There are thousands upon thousands of photos for you to enjoy!

Bike and scooter murals in East Village.

Two colorful murals in East Village promote riding bicycles and scooters. They’re painted on the north side of the old Farkas Store Fixtures building, on G Street between Ninth and Tenth Avenue.

The murals encourage motorists to get out of their cars to clear the air of pollution, save energy and enjoy San Diego’s beautiful outdoors!

I took these pics the other day during a downtown walk…

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!

You can easily explore Cool San Diego Sights by using the search box on my blog’s sidebar. Or click a tag! There are thousands upon thousands of photos for you to enjoy!

A huge, amazing mural is hidden in East Village!

There’s a 7 story tall mural that was painted three years ago in East Village that practically nobody sees!

The mural, painted in a nook of Broadstone Makers Quarter, is titled Growing Harmony, and it was created by talented local artists Carly Ealey and Christopher Konecki.

If you’ve ever driven downtown east on E Street, to merge via that curving ramp onto southbound I-5, you might have barely glimpsed the hidden mural in your rear view mirror. From certain high spots in Golden Hill and Sherman Heights you might be able to see it in the distance. But the absolute best view is from the small, little-used 17th Street bridge that passes over the freeway onramp, just south of Broadway. I took these photos from that bridge.

A hand holds a hummingbird’s house made from many objects, some natural, some artificial. Human creativity can sustain and uphold life.

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!

You can easily explore Cool San Diego Sights by using the search box on my blog’s sidebar. Or click a tag! There are thousands upon thousands of photos for you to enjoy!

Girl surfs with dolphins in Imperial Beach!

I like the message in one newly painted mural that I spotted last weekend as I walked through Imperial Beach.

A lady surfer is catching a wave with a pod of dolphins, and written above are the words: “From the land to the sea, we are connected, you and me…”

This mural can be found near the corner of Palm Avenue and 3rd Street, on a wall behind the Pacific Realty parking lot. The art was created last month “for Katy” by Marissa Quinn (@marissaquinn).

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!

You can easily explore Cool San Diego Sights by using the search box on my blog’s sidebar. Or click a tag! There are thousands upon thousands of photos for you to enjoy!

Mutt’Tipi–People of the Earth mural in IB.

Today I enjoyed long walks in both San Ysidro and Imperial Beach. I captured many photos, which I’ll share in the next few days!

First up, I discovered this amazing mural in Imperial Beach at the corner of Palm Avenue and 2nd Street, on the side of a 7-Eleven. It was painted in 2018 and I was surprised that I hadn’t noticed it previously. It’s titled Mutt’Tipi–People of the Earth. The artist is Marissa Quinn.

MuttTipi is the name that some Native American Kumeyaay in our region have called themselves, and it translates to People of the Earth.

The mural’s spiritual and environmental message includes a variety of symbols, including the sacred sun and moon, once-endangered brown pelicans and healing honeybees. The pelicans have human legs, connecting them to past ancestors.

The mural itself has an earthy look, which appears to be by design. It is also the result of wind, soil, rain and sunshine, and time’s passage.

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!

You can easily explore Cool San Diego Sights by using the search box on my blog’s sidebar. Or click a tag! There are thousands upon thousands of photos for you to enjoy!

New electronic sign encourages bicycling.

Early this morning I made an interesting discovery!

I was walking along Pacific Highway in downtown San Diego when I noticed an electronic sign has been recently installed near the County Administration Center. This colorful City of San Diego sign appears to encourage bicycling.

Evidently the new electronic sign will show the number of cyclists that are on the road “today” and “this year.” If that’s the case, it will probably be an estimate.

Of course, I could be entirely wrong about the sign’s function. Once it’s activated, we’ll see what appears!

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!

Enormous pipe laying ship docked in San Diego!

Take a look at this enormous ship! I saw it today docked at San Diego’s B Street Pier, across from the Cruise Ship Terminal. The vessel, with what appears to be a helicopter pad high above its bow, is so huge I spotted it several blocks from San Diego’s Embarcadero!

The Normand Energy is a Pipe Layer vessel built in 2007, sailing under the flag of Norway. I was curious why such an unusual ship is visiting San Diego, so I searched the news.

It turns out the Normand Energy was chartered by Global Sea Mineral Resources (GSR) to test the Patania II, a deep-sea mining prototype. But on April 25 Patania II became detached from its 5 kilometer (over 3 miles!) cable and became stranded on the Pacific Ocean floor!

According to this article, the “25-tonne mining robot prototype was trialed in the Clarion Clipperton Zone in the Pacific since April 20. The machine was supposed to collect nodules rich in cobalt and other battery metals…such minerals would be used to supplement in-demand electronic products and energy storage such as smartphones, laptops, solar panels, wind turbines, and electric vehicles…”

According to this article, a recovery mission successfully retrieved Patania II on April 29.

Environmentalists including Greenpeace oppose deep-sea mining and the damage to the ocean bottom that would result, but ironically the rare earth elements that could be extracted are required for various components in clean energy technology.

If you’re curious about the whereabouts of the Clarion Clipperton Zone and what this “geological submarine fracture zone” is exactly, here’s a fascinating Wikipedia article.

Check out additional photographs of the Normand Energy that I took from various angles. The next two are from the Broadway Pier…

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!

You can easily explore Cool San Diego Sights by using the search box on my blog’s sidebar. Or click a tag! There are thousands upon thousands of photos for you to enjoy!

Even more Young Art: Outside the Frame!

The San Diego Museum of Art’s unique project Young Art: Outside the Frame continues to expand!

Today I spotted even more SDG&E utility boxes that are being painted for the outdoor exhibition of youth art!

A total of 25 utility boxes are being painted around downtown by professional artists, taking their inspiration from the San Diego Museum of Art’s biennial exhibition of local student art, which this year is titled Young Art 2021: My World, Our Planet. The super nice people at Mindful Murals are coordinating the various artists.

The past few weeks I’ve posted photographs of many other boxes. To see them, and to learn even more about Young Art: Outside the Frame, click here and here and here and here and here. To see how some of the finished utility boxes compare with the original youth art that is now being exhibited in the museum, click here!

The first of the new boxes I spotted today are located on Broadway just east of Park Boulevard. Three stand together in a group. It appears the middle box hasn’t been started yet. I don’t know who has painted the boxes on either end, but I’ll provide an update when I learn!

The fourth box I spotted today is on A Street between Tenth and 11th Avenue, directly in front of the Shell gas station. It’s by abstract artist T. Jay Santa Ana (@tjaysantaana).

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!

You can easily explore Cool San Diego Sights by using the search box on my blog’s sidebar. Or click a tag! There are thousands upon thousands of photos for you to enjoy!

Museum’s environmental youth art, reimagined on the street!

The San Diego Museum of Art’s new exhibition Young Art 2021: My World, Our Planet has opened!

At the title suggests, the museum’s biennial Youth Art exhibition has an environmental theme this year. Students from schools all around San Diego County have contributed.

There’s a new twist this time, however!

Professional artists, coordinated by Mindful Murals, are reimagining 25 works of this outstanding youth art by painting SDG&E utility boxes from Balboa Park down Park Boulevard into downtown San Diego. Every utility box “recreates” a canvas painted by a young person!

I’ve already photographed many of the utility boxes. So I was excited to see all the great original youth art hanging on the San Diego Museum of Art’s walls!

Wouldn’t it be fun, I thought, to compare some of the original art with the painted utility boxes? Of course it would!

The professional artists painting the boxes were encouraged to interpret the student canvases in their own unique way. You can see significant differences. (And painting an outdoor utility box that will be seen momentarily by passing motorists and pedestrians is very different than painting a canvas with a fine brush.)

To view photos of many more utility boxes, click here.

So, without further ado, here come the comparisons!

Plastic, Not Dinner, by Anjolie Ly, Westview High School. Large numbers of turtles are killed each year when they mistake plastic waste for jellyfish.
Artist Brise Birdsong. A more perfect ocean environment.
Strong Together, by Chloe Katz, Art Studio Light.
Artist Amanda Saint Claire, mentoring Katie Flores.
Turn Off the Light, by Anqi “Cici” Mei, Solana Pacific Elementary.
Artist Nhuy Reid.
2050, by Sheridan Liew, Sherry Art Studio/Canyon Crest Academy. A future of severe environmental pollution might look like this.
Artist Lucy Helle.
Wind Farm at Sundown on 8 East, by Arianna Larios, Homeschool.
I don’t know the artist at this moment! When I learn, I’ll provide an update. UPDATE! The artist is Sean Hnedak.
Oceana, by Alice Zhu, Westview High School. A girl’s serenity contrasted with her hair as an oil spill.
Artist Alyssa Stewart.

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!