Community Support

Getting Rid of the Reed

By | Community Support, Public Service, Uncategorized

Amidst the whirring  of brushcutters, tinkling of glass bottles and the bellow of tuba music from passing cars, volunteers at Southcrest Community Center yesterday tackled a creek full of giant reed in celebration of the international Coastal Cleanup Day. It was a feat of teamwork, strength and good spirit and we finished the day with a cleaner creek!

Volunteers from NASSCO and Las Hermanitas joined the fun to remove giant reed (Arundo donax) for Coastal Cleanup Day. Thanks everyone!

NASSCO and Las Hermanas volunteers teamed to remove giant reed (Arundo donax) for Coastal Cleanup Day. Thanks everyone!

It’s amazing how one tiny speck can turn into a weedy wall of impenetrable giant reed (Arundo donax). With each passing storm, Giant Reed sends little bits of its roots into the passing flow to establish dense new stands downstream. The new growth soon becomes so thick that one can’t even walk through the mess, and it later clogs storm drains and litters creekbeds.

It’s also spectacular what one tiny spark can turn into a warm glow of inspiration. More than 50 volunteers came out early on a Saturday morning to haul away Arundo and make room for lush trees like willows, oaks and sycamores. The success of the event was largely due to the amazing organizational capabilities, dedication and generosity of the employees and their families at General Dynamics – NASSCO. Also lending a hand were Las Hermanitas and various community members from the neighborhood. Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez joined the team to yank out castor bean (Ricinus communis) before it even had a chance to set seed! And just up the road at Emerald Hills Park, over 300 volunteers gathered together to remove trash from our precious Chollas Creek.

To all of the volunteers who helped for Coastal Cleanup Day, any day and every day to keep our creeks and oceans clean…thank you! We’re proud to be part of a community that cares.

Happy Coastal Cleanup Day!

Sept. 9 – Save the Date! Brush Management Meeting

By | Community Support, Upcoming Events

Brush Management Zone – Informational Meeting
Wednesday, September 9
9:00 AM
5106 Federal Blvd. #203

– Coffee and breakfast treats will be served –


Have you received a brush management citation from the City of
San Diego?
Community representatives and canyon stewards at Groundwork
invite you and your neighbors to meet with City Officials to
express your concerns.
You’re invited to:

  • Explain your situation directly to the city Fire Marshall
  • Partner with neighbors to reduce brush management costs
  • Learn how to comply with brush management regulations

Questions? Call Patrice Baker at 619-543-0430 or email Patrice at

Poetry in the Park

By | Community Support

“A community is a living organism. It has an identity that is unique, a culture that is its own.” – Poet in the Park

Creative Juices Flowing at Chollas Creek Crossing

Creative Juices Flowing at Chollas Creek Crossing

This summer was full of inspiration at Chollas Creek Crossing as the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority teamed up with Joi Jackson of the San Diego Black Writers Collective to lead a summer poetry workshop. Local residents gathered in the open air environment of the Creek to delve into topics of community, nature and cooperation through discussion, exploration, art and poetry. The event made it ever more apparent that civic engagement is paramount to revitalizing and protecting the Chollas Creek Crossing at 47th Street and Castana. The participants’ creative works were displayed throughout the park, including some of the anonymous stanzas below:

Poets gather at Chollas Creek Crossing

Poets gather at Chollas Creek Crossing










Chollas Creek Crossing, an Inspirational Space

Chollas Creek Crossing, an Inspirational Space

“Water rushing at a lightning speed to nowhere.”


“Insects crawling as if begging for a lift to a carnival.”


“By the flowing stream,

Though not always wet,

Flying bumbling beetles,

Bouncing off invisible walls.”


Apoyo de la Comunidad

By | Community Support

No podemos tomar por hecho nada – nuestro medio ambiente, ni la comunidad, ni las escuelas de nuestros ninos. Durante empresarios tratan de construir apartamentos en la propiedad de la escuela en la esquina de Hilltop y Euclid, hay residentes como Elida Chavez expresan sus sentimientos…


“Soy residente de 40 años a partir de esta comunidad. Yo apoyo Groundwork San Diego Chollas Creek en el desarrollo y ejecución del plan en movimiento. El desarrollo de este plan va a dar vida a nuestra comunidad y preparar a nuestros niños y jóvenes para un mejor estilo de vida. La educación es la clave y Fundamentación Groundwork San Diego Chollas Creek es el lugar para nuestros hijos a participar en proyectos con la Universidad de California en San Diego y nuestras escuelas. El programa trae la tecnología de punta, el diseño y la creatividad de un sistema ecológico que beneficiará a toda la comunidad. Fundamentación Groundwork San Diego-Chollas Creek será un modelo para muchas otras ciudades que quieren lograr un cambio positivo y mantener vivo el sueño de una vida mejor. La participación en el crecimiento de la comida sana y el trabajo con la Madre Tierra le da vida al Espíritu de nuestra comunidad.


Mi mayor preocupación es mantener el arroyo de Chollas Creek un funcionamiento libre abierto arroyo. Como todos sabemos, debemos honrar y respetar a los dones de esta tierra que continúa y siempre representar a nuestros dueños de estas tierras …. la Nación Nativa Kumeyaay. El arroyo de Chollas Creek conecta nuestras Naciones Nativas en San Diego con la comunidad y nuestro océano. Pido a toda nuestra comunidad a unirse con Fundamentación San Diego-Chollas Creek en el apoyo a nuestros esfuerzos para mantener a todos los desarrolladores de cubriendo o de cierre de nuestro arroyo…el arroyo de Chollas Creek.”


– Elida Chavez, residente Oak Park-East San Diego

12 de Agosto, 2015


Sientes en profundidad sobre la preservacion del propiedad Hilltop para usos del comunidad y educacion? Puedes enviarnos un correo electronico en o puedes escribir en nuestra pagina de Facebook

Community Support for the EarthLab

By | Community Support, Uncategorized

We cannot take anything for granted, whether it be our environment, our communities, or even our children’s schools. As the Hilltop/Euclid property comes under threat of being re-purposed to high-density apartment buildings, passionate residents of the Chollas Creek Watershed are the greatest supporters of keeping the land in its best use for future generations.


Elida Chavez says it best…


” I am a resident of 40 years from this community.  I support Groundwork San Diego Chollas Creek in the development and implementation of the plan in motion.  The development of this plan will bring life to our community and prepare our children and youth for a better lifestyle.  Education is the key and Groundwork San Diego Chollas Creek provides the setting for our children to engage in projects with University of California at San Diego and our [local] schools.  The program brings the up-to-date technology, design and creativity of an ecological system that will benefit the entire community.  Groundwork San Diego-Chollas Creek will be a model for many other cities that want to bring positive change and keeping the dream alive of better living.  The involvement in growing healthy food and working with Mother Earth will bring healing to the Spirit of our community.


My greatest concern is keeping Chollas Creek an open free running creek.  As we all know, we must honor and respect the gifts of this land that continues and will always represent our relatives….the Kumeyaay Nation.  Chollas Creek connects our Native Nations in San Diego with community and our ocean.  I ask our entire community to join Groundwork San Diego-Chollas Creek in supporting our efforts to keep all developers from filling or closing Chollas Creek. ”


– Elida Chavez, neighborhood resident

August 12, 2015


Do you feel passionately about preserving the Hilltop property for community space and outdoor learning in our schools? Send us an email at or post to our facebook page

Three cheers for our volunteers!

By | Community Support

We are so lucky here at Groundwork to not only be surrounded with such great people in a special community, but to have the help of truly wonderful volunteers. Thanks to them, we’re able to make the great strides that we do! Today we celebrated our fantastic volunteers at the first Volunteer Appreciation Luncheon. Bravo to Luke, Valarie, Jeanne and Andrew! In case you haven’t yet met, here’s a little bit that makes each of them so special.


Luke, Jeanne, Valarie and Andrew received awards from Education Director JoAnna as Earthlab Volunteers of the Year!

Jeanne Bredestege
Without a complaint, Jeanne has cheerfully collected seeds, tackled pests, mixed soil, mended the propagation hut, and even gone out to Lakeside to purchase a truckload of soil. One day she helped moved 3 yards of soil across the Earthlab, bucket by bucket! Among her many talents, she is now adding teaching to her repertoire. She has just joined the DEEP Summer Literacy Program as our newest intern. Rather than consider her a volunteer, we see her as a team member, working with us to advance our projects.

Valarie Reece
Valarie sought us out and we are so lucky! She is open-minded and flexible about the project overall. She is so generous with her time, and is using the experience to prepare to cultivate her own fields. She even brings her own plants from home for us to add to the garden! She has an amazing gift with trees and we are happy to call her our EarthLab Arborist.

Luke Duesbery
Much of the infrastructure, from the solar panels to the aquaponics system, greenhouse, fencing, and paint are all the work of Luke. With his research experience as an SDSU professor, he continues adding to his work with rain catchment and graywater systems planned for next year. His wild spirit is a pleasure to be around.

Andrew Rae
Andrew’s creative juices have taken Earthlab activities from Balboa Park to the international border. Representing the San Diego Art Institute, he has turned blanks walls at the EarthLab into a vibrant mural while involving students in the process. He keeps dreaming of more projects like a totem pole, mosaic wall, and fence murals. His partnership has brought our students incredible opportunities for creativity and growth.

A Prickly Project

By | Community Support

Our native prickly pear (Opuntia littoralis) has a bad case of cochineal scale. The white fluff is covering the pads and causing them to dry out and break down. We are working to eradicate this insect infestation by scrubbing it off the cacti pads, but that requires carefully navigating the prickly pear’s sharp spikes. This awful chore could only be achieved by an absolutely awesome volunteer… Jeanne, our Cuyamaca College Ornamental Horticulture summer intern, has spent several tedious days on this and is making steady progress. Thank you, Jeanne!

– Lorraine Kelley

Jeanne bravely volunteers to remove cochineal scale from the cacti at the native propagation center

Jeanne bravely volunteers to remove cochineal scale from the cacti at the native propagation center

A Stroll in the Canyon

By | Community Support

Over the past few weeks I have had the wonderful opportunity to be out in Radio Canyon and neighboring Encanto Canyon on a regular basis. Our project has been to collect field data to measure the success of the recent coastal cholla (Cylindropuntia prolifera) habitat restoration efforts. All it takes is a walk through the canyons to clearly see how successful it has been – the native plants are thriving and new plants can be seen all around. You should take a stroll through the canyon and check out just how beautiful it looks!

– Charlotte Carter


Sweeping view of Radio Canyon

Sweeping view of Radio Canyon from the restoration area

School’s in For Summer

By | Community Support

Voice of San Diego’s Mario Koran highlights Groundwork’s summer education program as a model for improving success throughout the school year. An insightful article about reversing the trend of summer learning digression and the future of neighborhood vitality in San Diego…


“More than 80 percent of the kids who attend this program make gains in reading by the end of summer.”


Bountiful Harvest

By | Community Support

Summer is here and so is more fresh produce! The compost is steaming and the sunflowers are blooming (and 15 feet tall!)  At the EarthLab farm we’re pulling in a bumper crop of radishes, zucchini, cucumbers and more.  Next up on the horizon, we’re planting corn, eggplant, peppers and tomatoes.  All those hot weather favorites should be available in the next few months, and we’re looking forward to sharing our bounty with the community!

– Adam Graves


Fresh summer produce from the EarthLab Farm

Fresh summer produce from the EarthLab Farm