Environmental Studies and Biology Lecturer Christina Simokat and students from her Into to Ecology class (BIOL 105) gather plant, animal, soil and water data at the Kelly Trail in Carlsbad's Agua Hedionda Lagoon. Students are assessing a trail extension proposed by Agua Hedionda Lagoon Foundation to provide more information about the state of the native habitats there.
Christina teaches various courses including Intro to Environmental Studies and Research Methods, and spends a lot of time hanging around wetlands. She is a native of San Diego and her research interests include citizen science and science communication, and increasing diversity and inclusivity among environmentalists.
Joan Didion wrote in 1968, “All that is constant about the California of my childhood is the rate at which it disappears.” A lot more has disappeared since then. Christina hopes to entice students to explore and enjoy what is left of the precious, unique habitats of Southern California. “We have some astounding natural jewels still, and if we understand them better, we may value them more and hang on to them.”
By San Diego Union Tribune Reporter Deborah Sullivan Brennan
In downtown Escondido, between Evan’s Tires and the concrete banks of the Escondido Creek, a transformation was in progress.
A gold and black Monarch caterpillar inched up the stem of a milkweed plant in Plaza Del Arroyo last week, seeking leaves that would fuel its conversion to a vivid orange butterfly.
The garden, on North Broadway near Grape Day Park, could be mistaken for a patch of decorative landscaping on the commercial corridor. But it’s more functional than that. Along with the milkweed are other native plants that form a buffet for pollinators, including Monarchs, other butterflies and bees, as well as birds and bats.