Meet Billy Paul, Creek to Bay Site Captain and a tireless advocate for our environment.
For more than 40 years, Billy Paul has been an environmental activist involved with many environmental projects in San Diego. He also rescues beagles. He works tirelessly to protect the natural environment and the unique animals that call San Diego home, particularly in the areas around Ocean Beach and along Rose Creek. A Vietnam veteran and former Marine, Billy has been involved in everything from cleanups at Dog Beach, to saving Famosa Slough from being drained by developers back in the 1970s. When he first got involved in cleanups, areas like Famosa Slough were being used by locals as dumping grounds for everything from shopping carts and even cars! Working with other dedicated citizens, Billy helped revitalize that area and started to notice a trend – the cleaner the area was, the less trash people would dump there over the course of a year. He says, “I’ve come to realize that if people don’t see trash there, they won’t dump stuff there!” which is one of the reasons he believes cleanups like Creek to Bay are so important.
Several years ago, Billy started volunteering at Rose Creek, an often overlooked waterway that runs along the eastern boundary of Pacific Beach and behind Mission Bay High School. He became a site captain for that site alongside his friend, Karin Zirk, who is also a member of the Friends of Rose Creek. Not only have they removed tons of trash from the creek, they even convinced Campland by the Bay to host an ice cream social after cleanups, providing volunteers with a small token of appreciation after a long morning of work! Thank you Campland!
Billy now lives in Clairemont where he serves as Chair of the Balboa Avenue Citizens Advisory Committee which has helped to revitalize the Balboa Avenue area and make it safer for drivers, pedestrians, and even the animals that call the area home. Billy’s dedication to protecting the environment, the people, and the animals in his local community are evident in the many ways he volunteers his time. It’s evident that nothing will stop Billy Paul from working tirelessly for a clean environment! He was even scheduled for hip replacement surgery this month that would have had him wheelchair bound at Creek to Bay. Fortunately the surgery was pushed back, although he said that he would have been out there regardless. Lucky for us, Billy will be fully mobile at Rose Creek for the Creek to Bay Cleanup and sharing his stories and experiences with the volunteers who share his enthusiasm for preserving the natural habitats near their home.