Campus and community come together to celebrate, educate and preserve Tecolote Canyon on April 18

A few weeks ago, about 50 volunteers -- college and high school students, faculty, neighbors and community leaders -- spent four hours on a Saturday morning cleaning out Tecolote Canyon near San Diego Mesa College. Hauled out of the canyon were five truckloads of trash and non-native plants, and an even dozen shopping carts. Their mission was to clean and restore and preserve the canyon – and to ready it for tours offered during Canyon Day, a free community event led by Mesa College set for Saturday, April 18.

"The Canyon clean-up was a wonderful event supported by young and old, campus and community,” said Tom Kaye, one of the organizers and President of the Linda Vista Town Council. “It was the perfect opportunity for neighbors, Mesa, college and high school students to do something good for the canyons that surround us."

You can see the results of the clean-up effort in guided canyon tours conducted by nature experts during Canyon Day at Mesa College. Guided tours will be conducted by Anitra Kaye, San Diego Audubon Society, Jerry Shad, professor and field guide author, and biology and geology professors from Mesa College who frequently use the canyon as a living classroom.

The tours are the centerpiece of the second annual Canyon Day campus and community event, but there’s a whole bunch more in store for attendees at the free event.

Participants can tour the new organic garden at Mesa College and view demonstrations conducted by master gardener Paul Maschka. Canyon talks, information tables, and a walk-and-learn poster display will engage attendees while blue-grass music fills the air. Refreshments and treats created by Mesa culinary students will be offered. Future teachers studying at Mesa College will lead hands-on activities for kids including arts and crafts with recycled materials, rock painting, and opportunities to create bird feeders with natural materials. Everyone is invited to help paint a peace mural.

Canyon Day happens Saturday, April 18 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Mesa College nursery and landscape classrooms P100 and P200 near the corner of Genesee and Marlesta streets in Clairemont. For more information and directions, go on-line at