This past weekend I had the opportunity to participate in a seed cleaning event at the San Diego National Wildlife Refuge (SDNWR) site in Jamul. I had never been to the Jamul location before, so it was a bit difficult trying to find the place. However, after a few wrong turns, I eventually arrived at the site. The refuge was hard to spot because there wasn’t any sign out in front of the gate as to what the place was, and the building was quite hidden. In fact, when I looked it up online, there wasn’t even a set address. Despite that fact, the site was beautiful. As I was driving through the gate, I was surrounded by expansive fields that made it seem as if I was in a safari. Coming up to the refuge, the place was literally a huge old house. As I walked inside and encountered the Earth Discovery Institute staff starting to set up, I was kind of confused. However, once they explained to me the story of this refuge it all made sense. Apparently, a very long time ago there used to be a married couple that lived in this house all by themselves. The never had any kids and so they opened their house to the public as a country club where parents could bring their kids to their pool and learn how to swim. Then when the couple passed away, they donated their house to the SDNWR. Therefore, what once was bedrooms is now offices. Most of the house has still been kept the same, though. There are still the three kitchens that the couple used to cook in, and the pool is still there along with other aspects of the house. It was a bit creepy walking though the house because everything was wooden and antique, but it was definitely a cool site to see. Anyway, we held a seed cleaning that day and had approximately fifteen people come to help out. It was neat to see how most of them were either teachers or retirees. They were all so nice, and enjoyed taking their time taking the seeds off sagebrush, sunflowers, and other plants, and separating them. For me it was definitely more tedious, but a good way to learn how to be patient. After about three hours or so, everyone was tired and we decided to clean up for the day. We got a lot done, though, and we couldn’t have done it without our amazing volunteers.

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