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.
Stewards Weekly Workshops - 
Every Wednesday morning, our dedicated Stewards learn and apply technical habitat restoration practices while enjoying the beauty of the 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!

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


Hundreds of community members join the San Elijo Lagoon Platoon to restore habitat at San Elijo Lagoon Ecological Reserve each year. Here's a few examples of how your efforts have benefited wildlife and special places for our community:
July 19, 2014 San Elijo Lagoon Nature Center A dedicated group of Lagoon Platoon volunteers enjoyed getting their hands dirty while making native seed balls. Volunteers learned about habitat restoration in the San Elijo Lagoon Ecological Reserve during July's weekend Lagoon Platoon Event. The 900 balls created contain native coastal sage scrub plant species such as:
bush monkeyflower (Mimulus aurantiacus)
golden yarrow (Eriophyllum confertiflorum)
salt heliotrope (Heliotropium curassavicum)
The seed balls will be distributed among coastal sage scrub restoration sites during future restoration events. The native seeds within the balls will germinate as we receive precipitation and grow to reclaim degraded habitat in the reserve. Visit the conservancy's Facebook page to see pictures from this event.
June 21, 2014 Sienna Canyon Volunteers celebrated the 2014 summer solstice by removing 10 cubic yards of invasive vegetation from the Sienna Canyon restoration site. Enthusiastic Lagoon Platoon volunteers learned to identify and control invasive species such as rabbit's foot (Polypogon monspeliensis), Mexican tea (Dysphania ambrosioides), and wild radish (Raphanus sativus) during the morning restoration event. Thank you to local community volunteers and Solana Beach Presbyterian Church who contributed to restoring high quality riparian and coastal sage scrub habitat in the reserve. See pictures from this event on our Facebook page
May 17, 2014 Santa Carina Lagoon Platoon closed the 2013-2014 planting season by installing 225 native coastal sage scrub plants along the Santa Carina trail during May's monthly community habitat restoration event. Volunteers celebrated Endangered Species Day (May 16) with Lagoon Platoon by restoring habitat for rare, threatened, and endangered species. San Elijo Lagoon Conservancy Docents educated participants about the important role restoration plays in providing habitat for endangered species during the mid-morning nature walk. Thanks to Encinitas Environment Day and the Endangered Species Coalition for helping promote the event. We appreciate Teen Volunteers In Action an others who volunteered to restore San Elijo Lagoon Ecological Reserve. As always, you can find pictures of the planting on our Facebook page.
April 26, 2014: Creek to Bay Cleanup Wind and rain can't stop our dedicated volunteers from protecting San Elijo Lagoon Ecological Reserve. On April 26, Lagoon Platoon joined forces with I Love A Clean San Diego for the 12th annual Creek to Bay Cleanup. Unaffected by the poor weather, one hundred volunteers weeded invasive plants, removed trash, and planted native coastal sage scrub vegetation across the eastern portion of the reserve. Nearly 250 pounds of trash and 600 pounds of invasive plants were cleared by volunteers. Thank you to the wonderful participants from Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Cox Communications, and The Rotary Club for helping at this year's cleanup. See pictures from Saturday on our Facebook page.
Volunteers remove debris from the reserve during the 2014 Creek to Bay Cleanup.
April 5, 2014: Santa Carina With lightning speed Lagoon Platoon volunteers erected a fence along reserve trails. Later this spring we will return to plant native coastal sage scrub vegetation within the newly fenced restoration area. This fence will protect young native plants as they grow along heavily used trails. Thanks to VG Donut and Bakery for providing refreshments to keep volunteers energized. Visit our Facebook page to see pictures of the fence construction. 
March 15, 2014: Sienna Canyon With spring around the corner, Lagoon Platoon volunteers continue the important work of restoring native habitat in the San Elijo Lagoon Ecological Reserve. Volunteers installed 147 native coastal sage scrub and riparian plants at the Sienna Canyon restoration site along Escondido Creek. During the mid-morning break, San Elijo Lagoon Conservancy President and Docent, Scott Griffiths, lead volunteers on a nature walk highlighting many of the important plant and animal species in the reserve, such as deerweed (Acmispon glaber). Thanks to Einstein Bagels and Burtech Pipeline for sponsoring this event. Our appreciation goes out to all volunteers who have participated to restore our beautiful reserve! Check out pictures from the morning on our Facebook page.
Volunteers dig in to plant native ripairan vegetation during March's Lagoon Platoon Habitat Restoration Event.
February 15, 2014: Sienna Canyon A core group of dedicated volunteers maximized their Saturday morning while planting 136 native riparian plants and 48 arroyo willow poles (Salix lasiolepis) along Escondido Creek. During the mid-morning nature hike, volunteers were educated on the flora and fauna within the reserve, including Southern Mule Deer (Odocoileus hemionus fuliginatus) and narrow leaf milkweed (Asclepias fascicularis). Big thanks go out to Einstein Bagels in Solana Beach for fueling volunteers with tasty refreshments. Visit the Conservancy's Facebook page to see photos from the event. 
January 18, 2014: Santa Carina Volunteers dug into the soil at Santa Carina and planted 175 coastal sage scrub plants including California sagebrush (Artemisia californica), lemonade berry (Rhus integrifolia), and black sage (Salvia mellifera). Thank you to event sponsors Grangetto's Farm and Garden Supply, Einstein Bagels and Sambazon for their support. See pictures from this event on the San Elijo Lagoon Conservancy Facebook page.

View slideshow of events

Next Restoration Event (Rain or Shine):

  • Saturday, September 20, 2014
  • 9 am - 12 pm
  • California Coastal Cleanup Day
  • Click here to RSVP (directions and details will be emailed to registered participants prior to the event)
Minors age 13 to 17
Complete the Minor Volunteer Information Form (PDF) and nick [at] sanelijo [dot] org (email) it to SELC, or bring it with you to the work party. Volunteers below the age of 13 may not attend because of inherent risks associated with our working environment.
Lagoon Platoon Field Resources:
Get ready for the next community habitat restoration event by reviewing our native plant field guides:

2014 Corporate Sponsors for Lagoon Platoon:

Seeking a team-building event? Let us help you craft the quintessential outdoor program for your company or group.

Citizens Restoring Coastal Habitat
Lagoon Platoon is made possible with funding from USFWS Coastal Program and Earth Island Institute, and support from California Coastal Conservancy, Wildlife Conservation Board, Southern California Wetlands Recovery Project.


Nick Regoli, Associate Biologist
San Elijo Lagoon Conservancy
Nick [at] SanElijo [dot] org
(760) 436-3944 x 709

“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 and SELC member