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May 03, 2017

WILDCOAST Partners with Eagle Creek To Conserve Our MPAs

Earth Day
Images courtesy of Eagle Creek

By Dan Funk, Eagle Creek.

As an expert travel brand, one of the core values here at Eagle Creek is to be responsible global citizens. Locally, globally, and within our industry, we thrive when we’re making a difference. While a part of that responsibility is in the products we produce, another aspect is making a difference in the places we live, work and travel.

To make an impact in the places we live, employees enjoy trading a few days at the office for a few days outside volunteering. That’s why last week we had a company-wide volunteering day with the Batiquitos Lagoon Foundation, a designated Marine Protected Area (MPA) just down the road from Eagle Creek’s headquarters.

We were introduced to the Batiquitos Lagoon Foundation through our partnership with WILDCOAST, which is a local organization in San Diego that conserves coastal and marine ecosystems and wildlife. After partnering with WILDCOAST for some time, it only made sense to volunteer at the nearest Marine Protected Area to our office.

The Batiquitos Lagoon is one of the few remaining tidal wetlands on the southern California coast of the United States. About 185 species of birds have been seen at different times of the year, and the Lagoon has over 2 miles of trails with beautiful views of the natural landscape. The lagoon is an idyllic getaway from the hustle and bustle of southern California freeways and crowded beaches. 

“The Batiquitos Lagoon Foundation exists because of all of the volunteers who come from the local community and the corporate groups.” says Deb Mossa, a Board Member of the Batiquitos Lagoon Foundation, “We thank Eagle Creek for coming out because we wouldn’t have anybody to help us maintain the trails if we didn’t have volunteers.  This is a community effort to help get us where we want to go, and the goal is to keep Batiquitos beautiful. Our mission is to preserve, protect, and enhance, and you guys have all helped us do that today. So, thank you guys so much!”

Last Thursday we tackled a few different projects to help manage over-growth and make some trail improvements. Some worked on improvements to the foundation’s garden, but the largest scale project was maintaining the trail and working on the removal of invasive plants. Although the invasive plants we removed were beautiful, it was a good learning for us because invasive plants take over native plant growth. By dominating key resources like space, water, sunlgiht and nutrients, these plants can end up totally throwing off the ecosystem of the entire area.

We also worked on rebuilding a rope fence to mark the trail and protect the surrounding area from foot traffic. Keeping people away from certain areas of this protected area is essential for the protection of other local visitors, such as the endangered California Least Tern and the threatened Western Snowy Plover. The foundation created a man-made sand nesting site just for these two species, who need an open sandy area, along with shells and pebbles to provide camouflage for their eggs.

Overall, it was a great day and we are always thrilled to show up with our whole Eagle Creek team. Thanks to WILDCOAST and the Baquitos Lagoon Foundation for being such awesome partners! Keep up the AWESOME work!