Above: Nature Collective Executive Director Doug Gibson talks about the organization’s new name, written on the sand sculpture. Formerly called the San Elijo Lagoon Conservancy, the environmental non-profit announced a name change and fresh logo designed to reinforce their commitment to diversity, inclusion, accessibility and collaboration within their organization. Photo by Kelli Kyle
ENCINITAS — More than 150 individuals gathered on an early-summer Friday evening at Seaside Beach in Cardiff to celebrate a major milestone for a local environmental nonprofit.
The sounds of a local drum circle created a layer of anticipation for the announcement that would come and sand sculptor J.T. Estrela had etched the words, “Nature Collective.”
You probably know Nature Collective by its former name, the San Elijo Lagoon Conservancy.
“The name reflects our growing impacts in San Elijo Lagoon and beyond,” said Doug Gibson, executive director for Nature Collective. “We would not be here without that passionate and collective support of our many partners and conservation leaders.”
Nature Collective is dedicated to protecting and educating people about the San Elijo Lagoon, a habitat stretching from Cardiff to Solana Beach that encompasses the Annie’s Canyon Trail systems.
With a fresh logo and new name, the Nature Collective is focused on increasing collaboration with local partners to emphasize a commitment to inclusivity, diversity and accessibility in nature.
The beach party was meant to organically inspire people’s passions for the outdoors without the use of guided tours or official speeches.
“It’s important for people to feel like they’re having fun in nature in an informal way,” Lydia Cobb, a media representative with The Nature Collective, said. “We wanted to do a free-spirited beach party that embraces fun and all ages and nature for everyone.”
Attendees at the May 17 celebration enjoyed the beach, the sunset, drum music, light refreshments and the intricate sand sculpture.
The crowd was made up of mostly North County residents, as well as Encinitas Mayor Catherine Blakespear, Solana Beach Mayor David Zito and a few council members from each city.
Del Mar resident Rachel Warren stopped by the event with her pup Scout, a 15-year-old Boston terrier. Warren’s friend works for the Nature Collective and suggested she check out the name unveiling.
“You could just announce the name in an Instagram post, but they made it a full event and a community thing, which is really cool,” Warren said.
As a fan of the Nature Collective, Warren said she especially appreciates its education programs for children around the county.
“It’s important to get kids while they’re young to realize why we have organizations like this to protect the space,” Warren said. “Otherwise it could be a retail center or more condos.”
Solana Beach resident Stephanie Karnavas shared Warren’s sentiment. She came to the party with her husband, Steve, and their 13-month-old son, Sebastian. The family hikes the trails of the lagoon often — they are grateful for Nature Collective’s efforts to maintain them.
“If it weren’t for their conservation, the area would probably be developed,” Warren said. “I think this is a gem for the whole community.”
Under its new name, Nature Collective will continue to provide tours, educational field trips and volunteer opportunities so that people all over San Diego County can experience what these local natural lands have to offer.