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Stay beautiful, San Diego: UVA alumni help restore the San Diego River coastal habitat

May 07, 2013

In his National Volunteer Week proclamation this year, President Obama reminds us that, “where difference could draw us apart, we are bound together by a single sacred word: citizen.” In the wake of the tragic events our nation has faced in recent weeks, this sentiment resides with us more strongly than ever. It’s inspiring to see people come together to lift each other up, and we’re especially fortunate at Rivanna to help recognize those who dedicate themselves to service. We don’t often have the opportunity to work with our customers first hand, but I recently had the chance to volunteer with the San Diego River Park Foundation. The UVA Club of San Diego partnered with the Foundation as part of Cavaliers Care, a worldwide service event in honor of UVA founder Thomas Jefferson’s birthday.

The San Diego River Park Foundation was established in 2001 with the vision of a clean and healthy river environment. The Foundation’s mission is to create a system of parks and community spaces along the 52-mile San Diego River. 95% of California’s coastal dune and wetland habitats no longer exist, but they are vital to the survival of native species of plants and animals. The Foundation works to clean up and restore the area along the river through volunteer projects and educates the public on the importance of river health.

Our Cavaliers Care event focused on the re-introduction of native plant species at the mouth of the river, in the Ocean Beach neighborhood of San Diego. The team worked to remove invasive plants and plant new, native species in the area. We learned a great deal about the different types of habitats found along the river, including the animals and plants that call the river and its surrounding area their home. It was a educational and eye-opening experience, especially in a community that is so dependent on our local bodies of water. The event was an excellent reminder that while San Diego boasts an enviable climate and beautiful environment, there is much to be done to maintain the beauty for which the city is so well known.

As a remote employee working far from our Charlottesville office, it was particularly enjoyable for me to connect with one of our customers firsthand. I have a new appreciation for the San Diego River (and even made a few furry friends!). I look forward to participating in more events in the future, and encourage you to find an environmental beautification project in your area. Find a Keep America Beautiful affiliate near you and get involved!

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