Lagoon Platoon Volunteers plant native coastal sage scrub vegetation along Santa Carina trail.

Community volunteerism revitalizes the reserve.

Join the thrill of hands-on conservation in San Elijo Lagoon Ecological Reserve. Lagoon Platoon, an all-volunteer community habitat restoration event, occurs monthly on 3rd Saturdays. All the tools needed for restoration are provided, and garden experience is not necessary.
Dig in and join us!
Community restoration events are great opportunities to meet others from nearby areas, while helping to improve native habitats. Each Lagoon Platoon event is led by San Elijo Lagoon Conservancy biologists, who oversee activities and lead participants on a mini-tour of the targeted restoration site during the mid-morning break.
Join Lagoon Platoon the third Saturday each month and restore native habitat with fellow community members. Sign up today to participate in the next monthly restoration event!
Every Wednesday morning, our dedicated Stewards learn and apply technical habitat restoration practices while enjoying the beauty of San Elijo Lagoon Ecological Reserve. Contact platoon [at] sanelijo [dot] org (subject: Interested%20Lagoon%20Platoon%20Steward) to find out how you can become a Lagoon Platoon Steward! Read about our Stewards of the Season.

Lagoon Platoon activities typically include:
  • invasive weed removal
  • planting of native species
  • debris removal
  • trail maintenance

Thousands of community members have joined San Elijo Lagoon Platoon to restore habitat at San Elijo Lagoon Ecological Reserve. Here's a few examples of how their efforts have benefited wildlife and created special places for our community:
October 17, 2015 Santa Carina After a gloomy and rainy week, the sun broke out and provided a great work day at the Santa Carina restoration site.  33 volunteers broke into three different groups to tackle various restoration projects in the area.  One group walked down to the riparian area to take cuttings of willow (Salix sp.) to eventually replant in the reserve.  Another group hiked around the trails collecting seeds from goldenbush (Isocoma menziesii), while the last group controlled invasive species in the restoration sites. 

During the event, a San Elijo education docent grabbed groups of volunteers and led them on a nature hike, with a focus on the uses of native plants by the native Kumeyaay people. 
Much thanks to Einstein Bagels for providing bagels for the volunteers, and to everybody who came out and joined this month’s restoration event!
September 19, 2015 Coastal Clean up Day Lagoon Platoon volunteers participated in the 31th annual Coastal Cleanup Day by collecting 407 pounds of trash and 70 pounds of recyclables from San Elijo Lagoon Ecological Reserve and Manchester Avenue. Removing debris before it has a chance to enter local waterways is a key step in protecting our wetlands and oceans. Additionally, volunteers removed 15 cubic yards of invasive iceplant (Carpobrotus edulis) to protect native coastal sage scrub habitat bordering the reserve.
We are extremely grateful to all the groups who came together to make this event possible: I Love A Clean San Diego, Teen Volunteers In Action, California Western School of Law, San Diego County Parks and Recreation, MiraCosta College, Einstein Bros Bagels, and San Elijo Lagoon Platoon Volunteers. Visit the conservancy’s Facebook page to see pictures of the 2015 cleanup!  
June 20, 2015 San Elijo Native Plant Nursery San Elijo Native Plant Nursery is one step closer to propagating native plants for use in restoration projects at the reserve! Volunteers worked overtime to complete perimeter fencing, erect the shade structure, and spread gravel on the future propagation area. Work was tough but rewarding as volunteers witnessed a large change in the nursery site. A sincere thanks goes out to each and every volunteer who participated! Visit our Facebook page to see pictures from the event. 
May 16, 2015 Harbaugh Trails Volunteers had a wonderful day restoring native habitat in the west basin of the reserve during May’s monthly restoration event. Lagoon Platoon participants split into groups to control invasive plants and collect native seed. Harbaugh Trails is looking wonderful thank to the help of hard working Lagoon Platoon Volunteers!
Volunteers plant riparian vegetation at the Ford Wildlife Habitat Preserve.
April 25, 2015, Creek to Bay Cleanup Spring rain cleared as the 2015 Creek to Bay Cleanup got under way at San Elijo Lagoon Ecological Reserve. One hundred volunteers accomplished an astounding amount of work in the reserve during this 13th annual, county-wide cleanup. Volunteers removed more than 650 pounds of debris and invasive plants, installed 360 native plants, removed 270 feet of fencing, and collected 6 ounces of native seed at the reserve alone. A giant thanks goes out to San Elijo Lagoon Platoon stewards and volunteers, I Love A Clean San Diego, Janssen Pharmaceuticals, San Diego Rotary Club, Comcast Communications, and many more who made this event a success!
March 21, 2015 Stonebridge Mesa Community volunteers celebrated the spring equinox by planting native coastal sage scrub species on Stonebridge Mesa. Volunteers did a fabulous job installing 380 plants to restore native habitat in the reserve. Before planting, volunteers learned about Kumeyaay culture and their use of native plants during a docent lead nature walk. Dickinson Cameron Construction generously provided a much appreciated lunch to fuel this month's event. Thank you to the 60 participants and leaders who joined Lagoon Platoon's March event. 
Lagoon Platoon volunteers plant coastal sage scrub vegetation at Stonebridge Mesa.
February 21, 2015 Stonebridge Mesa Equipped with meter quadrats and plant ID skills, Lagoon Platoon volunteers set up and conducted seedling survivorship surveys at coastal scrub restoration sites on Stonebridge Mesa. Lagoon Platoon’s first foray into citizen science was a success as participants worked in teams to establish 36 quadrats, calculate non-native cover, and survey for 12 native plant species. Surveys will continue on a regular basis to assess the effectiveness of various seed application techniques to restore native habitat in San Elijo Lagoon Ecological Reserve. This event was possible thanks to the outstanding leadership of Lagoon Platoon stewards and eager volunteers!
January 17, 2015 Santa Carina Lagoon Platoon volunteers kicked off 2015 by restoring coastal sage scrub habitat along the Santa Carina trail. Local community participants planted 301 native species in under two hours with enough time to enjoy a docent led walk. Attendees learned about coastal sage scrub habitat and how species, such as the California Gnatcatcher (Polioptila californica), rely on this habitat type for survival. Thank you to the 47 volunteers and leaders who helped make this wonderful event possible, and Einstein Bagel Bros in Solana Beach for donating refreshments. See pictures on our Facebook page and join us February 17 for our next volunteer restoration event. 
Conservancy Board Member, Scott Griffiths, joins Lagoon Platoon to restore native habitat in the reserve.



Presented by Wetlands Recovery Project 


  • Satuday, December 19
  • 9 am - 12 pm
  • Please join us by signing up.
Complete Minor Volunteer Information Form (PDF) and nick [at] sanelijo [dot] org (email) it, or bring it with you to the event. Volunteers below the age of 13 may not attend because of inherent risks associated with our working environment.
Get ready for the next community habitat restoration event by reviewing our plant field guides:



Seeking a team-building event? Let us help you create an outdoor program for your company or group.

Joe DeWolf, Community Restoration Program Specialist
San Elijo Lagoon Conservancy
Joe [at] SanElijo [dot] org
(760) 436-3944 x 709

View slideshow of events

“I’m inspired and pleased at the extraordinary work Lagoon Platoon volunteers have accomplished to restore native habitat in the reserve. Getting the community involved in the control of invasive species is important for our local ecosystems." - Jim Elliott, Steward of the Season Summer 2014

“When people litter and degrade the lagoon, I don’t think they realize how one small piece of trash can affect every species in the area. Volunteering allows me to fix these problems and keep a balance within the lagoon.
”— Kelsey Navis, volunteer and high school student

“The catalyst for me to volunteer was the gulf oil spill. I thought it wasn't such a remote possibility that this could happen here.”—Laura Liedtke, docent