Letter from the Director
Welcome to fall! In this quarter’s Pala Environmental Department Newsletter, we talk about what our staff have been doing over the past three months, including community outreach, youth education, and gathering environmental data to help protect Pala’s environment. This fall, we plan to continue working on completing our demonstration garden to showcase native plants and vegetable gardening. We will also be holding a quarterly Household Hazardous Waste Collection event at the Pala Transfer Station during the week of October 9, 2023.
Read on to see what else is happening at PED!
Indigenous Peoples’ Day at the San Diego Safari Park
Indigenous Peoples’ Day is a holiday in the United States that celebrates and honors Indigenous American peoples and commemorates their histories and cultures. It is celebrated across the United States on the second Monday in October.
There will be an Indigenous People’s Celebration at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park on October 9th. All are welcome to this celebration of the Indigenous community, their commitment to wildlife, and their culture.
The event will begin with a Blessing Ceremony at Benbough Amphitheater at 10 a.m. The schedule of events is full of interesting things to see and do throughout the day all around the park. You can find PED amongst the Environmental Wellness Ambassadors between 11 am – 3 pm at the Mombasa Pavilion where there will be traditional and educational activities for the whole family.
PED Drone Program
Have you seen or heard a drone flying around the reservation lately? PED has started to use drones in order to better document and protect our natural resources here in Pala. The drone has been used to assess flood damage, look for illegal dumpsites to clean up in hard-to-access areas, and help our GIS Department make maps, among other tasks. We also recently recreated a photo from 1905 that looks east over the village; it’s really interesting to see how the reservation has grown and changed over time.
Keep in mind we only fly the drone for official uses, as required for our programs or at the request of the Executive Committee. The drone will also not be flown over homes or yards when possible, and if it must be flown over housing, it will not be able to see what is happening in homes/yards. One possible exception would be if the Executive Committee directs PED to do an environmental inspection of a property.
Have questions? Feel free to reach out to Alexis at email@example.com or pop into our office to chat.
Pala Land Use Open Forum
PED is working on creating a Comprehensive Land Use Plan for the Tribe. What is a comprehensive land use plan? It’s a government planning process using public input and various data types to build a vision for the community on how to best grow for the future. Land use planning helps decide where homes should go, where open spaces should be preserved, where community services are needed, and other important local needs.
What’s important is that this process is public and democratic. All Pala Band members are invited to provide their input. To build a land use plan for the future, we need to know and understand where needs are, where hazards are, and what the public wants to see. Where is flooding always an issue? Are there areas with important cultural uses that should be preserved? Are the Pala youth in need of a new community center? Is there an area that needs internet services? All these kinds of questions can be answered by the community to help the Tribe best plan for growth and building.
The Pala Land Use Open Forum is taking place from 10 am – noon on Saturday, September 30, at the Pala Administration Building. The meeting is open to Pala Tribal Members only. We hope to see you there.
PED’s Focus on Native Plants
You can find PED staffing a booth each month at the Pala Pop-up events. Those who stopped by in August received a free native plant and native seed packet. PED gave away a total of 100 native plants, which included a couple varieties of sages, yarrow, chalk dudleya, desert mallow and mountain mahogany. The seeds given away can be found at the Native Seed Library which is located in front of the Learning Center in Pala.
The Native Seed Library is one of PED’s newer projects. We plan to restock it seasonally. Please stop by and check out seeds that are currently available and take any seeds you’d like to grow in your yard. But, what makes this a library is returning seeds to the library. Those who have taken seeds, grown plants successfully, and are now able to collect seeds from their plants, are asked to donate them to the seed library. The library can then serve as a continued source of seeds for the community.
During summer school at Vivian Banks PED visited on June 16th, 23rd, and 30th and had fun with the students while learning about a variety of topics. One day was dedicated to pollinators, during which we discussed the various types of pollinators, their importance, and even beekeeping. For their take home that day the students planted wildflower seeds in a biodegradable and compostable pot.
Besides giving away plants and seeds, PED hosted two Healthy Yard Workshops earlier this month. The workshops provided guidance to the community on how to obtain a beautiful, low-maintenance, water-wise garden that will bring in pollinators. Topics discussed included climate change and how plants can mitigate some of the impacts, the importance of native or at least waterwise plants that are naturally drought tolerant and require little water, types of irrigation systems, how to compost, and more.
If you’ve missed out on these opportunities offered by PED, you’ll have more opportunities in the future including Indigenous Day at the San Diego Safari Park on October 9th. We hope to see you there!
The First Day of Autumn
This year the autumnal equinox is on September 22nd at 11:50 pm PDT. But, what is an equinox? An equinox is when the Earth’s axis is tilted neither toward nor away from the sun, resulting in roughly equal amounts of daylight and darkness at all latitudes. On the equinox and for several days before and after, the length of day will range from 12 hours and six minutes to 12 hours and 16 minutes depending on the latitude. Here in the northern hemisphere, the autumn season, when days get shorter, is beginning.
If you would like to find out more about the equinox check out this National Geographic article which includes a video providing visuals on how it happens—and why some cultures have celebrated it since ancient times.
Take Action to Save Water
It is critical for our community to conserve water, since Pala gets all of our drinking water from our aquifer. Even though we did have a great rain year, we are still facing groundwater shortages in our region, making it very important to reduce how much water we use. There are many easy ways to save water around your house and yard.
Check out the tips in the flyers below. If there are any conservation methods you are not currently using, take action and incorporate at least one into your life over the next month. If you do, we would love to hear about it.Flyer-Planet Pala-Save Our Water Reducing Water Consumption Around the House
Flyer-Planet Pala- Save Our Water Reducing Water Consumption Around the Yard
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