One Cool Earth is currently planning the construction of a small nature path along Pennington Creek, an active steelhead trout stream that connects the campus Morro Bay. Uniquely located on the grounds of an educational institution, the path with interpretive signs and benches carved from locally harvested urban timber will serve as an educational resource. Students and volunteers will complete the planning, construction and maintenance of the trail over the next few years. We are currently applying for grants to pay for materials, plants and supplies. If you are interested in co-sponsoring this project, please contact us.
Pennington Creek exists as a microcosm of local environmental challenges and of community involvement in overcoming them. Originally degraded by overgrazing and deforestation, the creek suffered severe erosion. OneCoolEarth has played a longterm role in the restoration of Pennington Creek, originally as an advocate for developing appropriate land use practices to balance the needs of the creeks ecosystem and those of the surrounding Cal Poly ranch and croplands. Later, our organization furnished native oaks as part of a major restoration conducted by the California Department of Fish & Game to control erosion. Later, Maino Construction assisted in the installation of a system of fish ladders and the California Conservation Corp chiseled resting pools into the creek bed to aid spawning steelhead trout swimming upstream from Morro Bay. Currently, this story of success lies just as unknown to Cuesta Students and San Luis Obispo natives as the creek itself, hidden as it is behind a few dying Italian stone pines and a fence, beridden by gophers and non-native annuals. A nature path, beautifying and restoring the landscape, opening the human and natural history of the site as well as its ecology to the public would be a capstone on the Pennington Creek’s long history and perpetuating its legacy by educating generations to come.