The City of Carlsbad has teamed with local civic groups and MiraCosta College to create and install five interpretive signs along trails at Lake Calavera Preserve, the city’s largest and most visited conservation area. See photos.
The City of Carlsbad Parks & Recreation Department installed four of the five signs in late September and early October with the help of volunteers, and will install the fifth sign early next year after completing wetlands restoration and trail work along Calavera Creek.
The five signs, each measuring 18-by-48 inches and designed by Tanya Bredehoft, are placed strategically along Lake Calavera Preserve’s six miles of trails. They explain behind-the-scenes natural phenomena that make the preserve’s 256 acres unique. The topics covered by the signs are:
- “Something’s Blooming,” about the native plants that contribute to the preserve’s natural beauty.
- “Know Your Neighbor,” about the animals that live there.
- “The Agua Hedionda Watershed,” about the creeks and streams that feed into Agua Hedionda Lagoon and, ultimately, the Pacific Ocean.
- “Why Do Wetlands Matter?” about the importance of wetlands to the local ecology, and
- “Know Your Volcano,” about Mount Calavera, the 513-foot extinct volcano that presides over the preserve.
MiraCosta College Geology Professor John Turbeville, who has studied the ancient volcano and conducted classes along its slopes, provided the content for the sign about Mount Calavera, and the college provided the sign itself.
Calavera is the Spanish word for “skull,” and Turbeville said Mount Calavera is a volcanic plug that last erupted about 18 million to 22 million years ago. (To read Professor Turbeville’s paper on the volcano’s geology, visit his website.)
“Every time I lead a class up there I wind up talking to a lot people about the volcano,” Turbeville said. “So it’s good to have this information contained on a sign that gives a brief description of the area’s geology and the volcano’s history.”
Carlsbad’s High Noon Rotary donated money for the “Agua Hedionda Watershed” sign, and Preserve Calavera, a local group dedicated to preservation of the local environment, funded two signs — “Know Your Neighbors” and “Why Do Wetlands Matter?”
Diane Nygaard, president of the Preserve Calavera board, said that the signs give a good introduction to the preserve’s natural wonders.
“We only love what we know and we only know what we’re taught, and these interpretive signs are a way to educate the users about the wonderful resources they can see as they walk and bike along the trails,” Nygaard said. “We hope that knowing the area will help get them engaged in it and we’ll all become better stewards of the land.”
On Sept. 28, National Public Lands Day, Preserve Calavera and the City of Carlsbad Parks & Recreation Department gathered a group of Cub Scouts to stencil life-size animal tracks on the concrete base of the “Know Your Neighbors” sign, to serve as a guide for visitors searching for animals tracks along the creek.
City of Carlsbad Parks & Recreation Planner Liz Ketabian said the signs are an important addition to Lake Calavera Preserve, in northeastern Carlsbad near Oceanside.
“These interpretive signs are part of the Lake Calavera Trails master plan, and we’re extremely grateful to all our partners, contributors and volunteers for helping make this project a success,” Ketabian said.
Lake Calavera Preserve is one of 13 conservation areas the City of Carlsbad has established through its Habitat Management Plan, which is designed to protect the rich diversity of plants and wildlife in San Diego County. The preserve is managed by the Center for Natural Lands Management under a contract with the city.
–City of Carlsbad