Category Archives: San Diego

Volunteers and the Search for Water

P1000656(Photo by Robert Barossi)

by Robert Barossi

A number of stories I’ve posted here have dealt with the severe, historic drought in California. As the state approaches the fourth consecutive summer of drought, water conservation is becoming more difficult and volunteers continue to be a major part of those conservation efforts. For environmental organizations dealing with dwindling water supplies, it’s sometimes volunteers who are heading the relief efforts. In this story out of San Diego, a volunteer is doing just that, playing a major role in finding potential new sources for water. Jim Hughes is a volunteer with Friends of Balboa Park, an organization dedicated to maintaining and preserving that iconic San Diego landmark. In the middle of the park is Casa De Balboa and its thatĀ  building which Hughes believes can become a new source of water. Jim’s story highlights some interesting and potentially important ways for water to be collected from the building, so that it might be used to irrigate the surrounding park or gardens. This is also a story that points out how important and beneficial it is for volunteers from one organization to work with other groups, in this case the San Diego Women’s Foundation and students from San Diego State University


If you have enjoyed the stories on my blog, check out my eBook: Being Where You Are: How Environmental VolunteersĀ  Impact Their Community and the Planet Every Day


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Volunteers Under the Mistletoe


(photo by digidreamgrafix, courtesy of

by Robert Barossi

The holiday season is without doubt one of my favorite times of year. Whether it’s holiday songs playing on my car’s stereo while navigating snowy streets or houses covered in Christmas lights that fill my neighborhood, I’m a sucker for pretty much anything related to the holiday season. Kissing under the mistletoe is, of course, just one long-standing tradition of the season and this story from San Diego focuses on that famous plant and the legend and lore that surrounds it. It’s also got one of the best titles I’ve seen for a volunteer-related story, “Mistletoe: A Parasite of Peace.” While the article offers lots of information to explain that attention-catching title, it also focuses on a group of volunteers, the Canyoneers. This group of dedicated and passionate volunteers work with the San Diego Natural History Museum and lead area hikes and, every year, sell mistletoe to raise money for their nature programs. Gathering and selling the plant is a holiday season tradition for these volunteers, one that helps them fund some of the great work they do all year round.

More information here on San Diego’s Natural History Museum

Just for fun, a couple of resources I found about the lore and legend of mistletoe, form The Farmer’s Almanac, Smithsonian Magazine and The History Channel

Ocean Friendly Gardens

P1000689(Photo by Robert Barossi)

by Robert Barossi

Recently, I posted an environmental volunteer story about gardens and how volunteers help to maintain these green spaces in public areas, especially suburbs, cities and urban centers. Volunteers are also involved in another kind of garden activity. This story out of San Diego details how volunteers are helping residents create ocean friendly gardens. These gardens, which will be installed with the help of professionals and volunteers, will help to keep urban runoff free of pollution, or at least help to significantly lower the pollution that runoff brings to the ocean.

The organization leading the effort is The Surfrider Foundation, check them out here.