Today’s post comes from ILACSD’s Marketing Intern, Brian!
Co-captains Monica Fuentes and Kevin Johnston are teaming up for Coastal Cleanup Day on September 15th at the I Love A Clean San Diego media site to take on the hefty project of the Serra Mesa’s canyon lands.
Monica is no stranger to Ruffin Canyon, an area near her home that extends over 84 acres. Over the years she has been a site captain at many of its Creek to Bay and Coastal Cleanup Day sites, periodically setting up new cleanups within Serra Mesa. In fact, Monica has volunteered so many times that she’s lost track. Though not even sure how many years it’s been, judging by the number of ILACSD shirts in her closet we’d have to say it’s been a lot!
Although Kevin is new to the Serra Mesa site, he’s also no stranger to Coastal Cleanup Day. This will be his sixth year as a CCD site captain, the previous five being at Eugene Canyon in Normal Heights. This year he is using his expertise to tackle Serra Mesa’s Library Canyon. These experienced canyon captains are a perfect pair to head up this site, and Monica is sure to use her site knowledge to guide them both to excellence.
Monica became involved with ILACSD through her work with Friends of Ruffin Canyon, a local Serra Mesa group that fosters community participation in the protection of Ruffin Canyon. Although an avid hiker and gardener, it wasn’t until she became involved with Friends of Ruffin Canyon that she started learning about the native plants in and around the area. Now she works hard with the group to preserve the native species while getting rid of invasive plants.
Kevin is a nature lover that has been drawn to the canyons ever since he moved to San Diego. He simply couldn’t pass up the opportunity to clean up his local canyon with the help of an organization and a team of volunteers. Receiving the publicity, supplies and encouragement that CCD has to offer was definitely a bonus.
What motivated you to be a site captain with I Love A Clean San Diego?
Kevin: I prefer to volunteer in the local canyon in the neighborhood I live in. I live in Serra Mesa now, and Library Canyon hasn’t had as much attention as Ruffin. It’s great to have these local nature escapes and interesting habitats in the urban environment.
Why do you think events like Coastal Cleanup Day are important?
Kevin: ILACSD events have been essential in improving our water quality, the health of our natural urban ecosystems, and the overall aesthetics of our open space areas – encouraging nature-based recreation by the locals and giving sensitive species a place to thrive.
Monica: Coastal Cleanup Day is a great event because it helps publicize the importance of cleanups in our inland area and prevents debris from ending up in the ocean. Although inland, Ruffin Canyon connects to the San Diego River.
What is the strangest piece of trash you’ve found at Coastal Cleanup Day?
Kevin: We found a Mr. Potato Head toy in Eugene Canyon one year.
Monica: The strangest piece of trash was an empty safe that had been pried open…
You can join Monica and Kevin’s team in Serra Mesa by clicking here and registering!
Not near Serra Mesa? Go to www.cleanupday.org and find a Coastal Cleanup Site near you!