Exploring the Escondido Watershed – Passport to the Chaparral (or Falling in Love with Local Nature Like it Really Matters)
There was a time when understanding the environment around you was a matter of survival – when the flowers bloomed, where best sources of water were, and how to avoid the grizzly bear. Now, much of our local knowledge is limited to street names, navigating freeway off ramps, and avoiding traffic tickets.
To help us enhance our joy of life by understanding and connecting with the local landscape, what rock is underfoot, and to distinguish the finer details of nature like differences between male and female shrubs along the wildland trails of Escondido, the California Chaparral Institute has created an interactive program free to all – The Passport to the Chaparral.
The Passport is an 8 page pamphlet that offers 20 activities, volunteer opportunities, and civic actions intended to help participants become better familiar with Escondido Nature. Daley Ranch is featured with two hikes: Stanley Peak and the Boulder Loop Trail. Also included are a map of the region, interesting details and sketches of several chaparral inhabitants, and why the watershed of Escondido is so important.
Once a participant accomplishes ten of the 20 activities, the record is sent in for Chaparral Passport Certificate and a free 12 page, laminated Chaparral Pocket Naturalist Guide. Participants are encouraged to continue their nature experience by participating in the Chaparral Naturalist Program at the Elfin Forest Recreational Preserve.
It is time to become intimate with the wild nearby, know what home truly means, and to pass along that wisdom to others so they can do the same.
The Passports will be available soon at Daley Ranch, the Elfin Forest Interpretive Center, and other nature-based locations.