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.
The Port of San Diego's Oyster Nursery Research Project at the end of a dock inside Tuna Harbor.
The Port of San Diego’s Oyster Nursery Research Project at the end of a dock inside Tuna Harbor.
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!

Volunteers restore habitat in San Dieguito River Valley!

Hard-working volunteers remove non-native vegetation in a small part of the San Dieguito River Valley.
Hard-working volunteers remove invasive vegetation in a small area of the San Dieguito River Valley.

Today I happened upon a bunch of energetic volunteers working to restore habitat in the San Dieguito River Valley! They were removing non-native vegetation near the Sikes Adobe Historic Farmstead!

Lots of invasive, rapidly growing wild mustard appeared to be the main problem. I also learned from a friendly San Dieguito River Park ranger that mustard is highly flammable, much more so than California coastal sage and chaparral plants that are native to our arid region.

Today’s work, coinciding with Family Volunteer Day, was an effort of several organizations, including the San Dieguito River Valley Conservancy. Their mission is to implement the vision of the San Dieguito River Park, a greenway that stretches all the way from Volcan Mountain near Julian to Dog Beach in Del Mar! Their conservation and educational programs, along with their purchases of land in the River Park planning area, will ensure that the beautiful San Dieguito River Valley will be a rich and healthy natural treasure for many lifetimes to come!

Want to learn more? Or maybe get involved? Here’s their website!

This Saturday event was part of Family Volunteer Day, a worldwide day of service promoted by generationOn.
This Saturday event was part of Family Volunteer Day, a worldwide day of service promoted by generationOn.
Youth have fun while they work to make the Earth a healthier place.
Youth have fun while they work to make the Earth a healthier place.
A San Dieguito River Park ranger had brought many pots of native lemonade berry to plant.
A San Dieguito River Park ranger had brought many pots of native lemonade berry to plant.
Another perfect day to work outdoors and help the environment!
Another perfect day to work outdoors and help the environment!

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!

Are you a blogger? Do you want to help make the world a better place? You might want to join Bloggers Lifting Others Generously.

Cool environmental mural on Commercial Street.

Cool artwork painted by Dolan Stearns for the PangeaSeed Sea Walls: Murals for Oceans project in 2016 depicts the harmful presence of non-biodegradable plastic trash in the oceans.
Cool artwork painted by Dolan Stearns for the PangeaSeed Sea Walls: Murals for Oceans project in 2016 depicts the harmful presence of non-biodegradable plastic trash in the oceans.

I got off the Orange Line trolley the other day to capture photos of some cool street art on Commercial Street just east of 20th Street.

Like many other PangeaSeed Sea Walls: Murals for Oceans artwork that one can spot around San Diego, this one has an environmental message about taking care of the ocean. The mural, which illustrates the harmful effects of plastic pollution on marine life, was painted in 2016 by Dolan Stearns.

The left side of the mural shows an ugly yellow head spewing pollution into the water.
The left side of the mural shows a big, ugly yellow head spewing pollution into the water.
The right side of the mural features a large pink whale.
The right side of the mural features a large pink whale.
The three-eyed whale has a mouthful of plastic junk.
The three-eyed whale has a mouthful of plastic bags, bottles, cups and junk.
The yellow human head, topped by city buildings and a smokestack, vomits disgusting trash into the blue ocean.
The yellow human head, topped by city buildings and a smokestack, vomits disgusting waste into the blue ocean.

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 fun photos for you to share and enjoy!

How to create 3D printed intertidal organisms!

Sign inside Visitor Center at Cabrillo National Monument describes the fascinating 3D Cabrillo project.
Sign inside Visitor Center at Cabrillo National Monument describes the fascinating 3D Cabrillo project.

The Visitor Center at Cabrillo National Monument has a cool exhibit of 3D printed intertidal organisms. An explanation is provided of how the tide pool animal models were created, and shows how the general public and interested educators can easily access essential resources via a dedicated website!

Student curriculum, simple instructions and the 3D Cabrillo biomodel .STL files library (and a link to raw Autodesk files) are all found here.

For 3D Cabrillo and the particular models seen in this exhibit, free imaging software and an iPad were used to capture images of intertidal organisms preserved by La Jolla’s world-renowned Scripps Institute of Oceanography. After models were edited on a computer using design software, they were sent to a 3D printer at the San Diego Central Library’s Innovation Lab.

This program was adapted from the Scan Our Seas project created by Dr. Andrew D. Thaler.

Do you know of any school students who’d like to learn more about marine biology, the environment and technology? This is definitely a very cool (and fun) project!

Many colorfully painted 3D printed models of intertidal organisms are on display inside the Visitor Center.
Many colorfully painted 3D printed models of intertidal organisms are on display inside the Visitor Center.
3D printed Starburst Sea Anemone.
3D printed Starburst Sea Anemone.
3D printed Dorid Nudibranch.
3D printed Dorid Nudibranch.
A video explains the 3D printing process, including editing the tidepool animals.
A video shows the 3D printing process, including editing the tidepool animals.
3D printed Wavy Turban Snail.
3D printed Wavy Turban Snail.
3D printed Ochre Sea Star.
3D printed Ochre Sea Star.
Students are encouraged to create nature journals. Writing is fun, too!
Students are encouraged to create nature journals. Writing is fun, too!
3D printed Scallop.
3D printed Scallop.
3D printed Garibaldi.
3D printed Garibaldi.

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 interesting photos for you to share and enjoy!

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!

A plant in Balboa Park now extinct in the wild.

Balboa Park's knowledgeable Ranger Kim Duclo points out an extremely rare specimen of Deppea splendens in the Botanical Building.
Balboa Park’s knowledgeable Ranger Kim Duclo points out an extremely rare specimen of Deppea splendens in the Botanical Building.

I learned something really amazing last Sunday in Balboa Park. I had joined one of Ranger Kim Duclo’s park tours as it was in progress, and I followed the group into the Botanical Building.

Near the center of the Botanical Building, Ranger Kim stopped beside a beautiful green tree and told us it was one of the rarest plants in the entire world!

Deppea splendens was originally discovered in 1973 by botanist Dennis Breedlove. He found it growing in a single spot in Mexico’s southern mountains. Fortunately Dennis gathered some seeds. Because when he returned in 1986, the plants had all been destroyed. The area had been developed into farmland.

Ranger Kim told us that specimens of Deppea splendens now grow in relatively few places–mostly in special havens like Balboa Park. He also said that one day the plant might be reintroduced into the wild, much as the California condor was saved locally from extinction and successfully returned to its natural habitat.

May that day come!

A look at the thriving Deppea splendens inside Balboa Park's lush Botanical Building.
Photo of a thriving Deppea splendens inside Balboa Park’s lush Botanical Building.
The distinctive flowers of Deppea splendens, a plant that is now extinct in the wild. This public domain photograph is from Wikimedia Commons.
The distinctive flowers of Deppea splendens, a plant that is now extinct in the wild. I found this public domain photograph at Wikimedia Commons.
These beautiful green leaves might be reintroduced into the wild one day!
These rare, beautiful leaves might be seen once again in the wild!

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 fascinating photos for you to share and enjoy!

15 Unique Volunteering Opportunities in San Diego.

As a member of Bloggers Lifting Others Generously, I sometimes blog about those who are working to make San Diego a better place.

Here are 15 different community organizations that could use volunteers. Many of them welcome volunteers with no specific background or experience.

Click the following links to past blog posts where you can learn more:

Volunteers needed at San Diego Habitat for Humanity!

There are many different volunteer opportunities–it’s more than just building houses. No experience required!

How to get support from fellow Veterans in San Diego.

This local organization is looking for compassionate Veteran mentors who would like help others.

Guide dogs for the blind in San Diego!

If you’d like to raise a guide dog, here’s a great opportunity!

How you might save the life of a cancer patient!

Join the bone marrow registry, or donate your baby’s cord blood.

How to help special education kids in San Diego!

This school that helps special kids could always use special volunteers!

Photos from Ocean Beach Pier Cleanup Day!

Participate in a San Diego beach cleanup! It’s a lot of fun!

A San Diego gift that will last forever.

The Friends of Balboa Park needs all sorts of different volunteers! Follow the link to their website where you can learn much more.

How to help keep the San Diego River healthy.

The San Diego River Park Foundation has many different volunteering opportunities, including river cleanups.

Volunteer to help restore San Diego wetlands!

Offer your helping hand to the San Diego Audubon Society’s worthy projects!

Free books for teachers, schools, hospitals and prisons.

Volunteer for an organization whose goal is to promote literacy.

The Salvation Army celebrates service in San Diego.

Everyone has heard of the Salvation Army. Why not volunteer?

How you can help beat leukemia and blood cancers!

Create a fundraiser. Help save lives!

San Diego Marines collect Toys for Tots!

Have your San Diego business become a drop-off location for toys!

Foster homes needed for loving San Diego cats!

Open your heart and home to a rescue animal!

Glean Queens of San Diego need your help!

Pick fruit and help distribute food that would otherwise go wasted.

If you’d like to help homeless people in San Diego get back on their feet, I’ve compiled 20 Ways to Help the Homeless in San Diego. Check it out!

Have a great day!

Richard