This is not a “Dirt Patch!”

Beautiful sunset over Wright's Field
White and blue Cessna with N2226N letters on side.

Audio of pilots mentioning “Emergency Decent, Look-Out Below! Viejas Valley, and The Alpine Dirt Patch.”

“…Over the Alpine Dirt Patch, Emergency Decent, look out below! San Diego East.”

This is an example of what you’ll hear daily from several misinformed pilots on their cockpit radios (airband frequency 122.750 MHz) talking to other pilots while they are taking turns making bomber-like dives, startling-loud stalls, and repetitive tight turns directly overhead.

The “Dirt Patch” these pilots are referring to is Alpine’s 245-acres of open-space conservation land that’s home to over 300 plant species and 100 bird species. This rare, historic ecosystem has a name, Wright’s Field, and protects two of the most endangered species in San Diego County, the Hermes Copper butterfly, and San Diego Thornmint. Other threatened species found on the preserve include the Quino Checkerspot butterfly and the Chocolate Lily.

San Diego Thornmint is a federally listed endangered plant that only grows in San Diego County. It is native to our region and is found in our Coastal Sage Scrub habitat. Back Country Land Trust has been working with AECOM and our resident Restoration Ecologist Scott McMillan to restore our own populations of this rare and endangered plant species at Wright’s Field in Alpine.

Hermes Butterfly
Hermes Copper
San Diego Thornmint
Quino Checkerspot
Quino Checkerspot
Chocolate Lilly
Chocolate Lily

“We are all just astonished at what the Back Country Land Trust has been able to accomplish for the benefit of the community. I can see the land becoming a ‘living classroom’ just behind the school.”

— Carol Morrison, Alpine Historical Society

two children with hats at Wright's field
Adult with 4 children in Wright's field.
Several children sitting on ground with teachers examing the environment.
Teacher explaining to three children at Wright's Field.

Since 2015, Back Country Land Trust has provided Environmental Education to over 2,500 students through their Living Classroom Program.

What is the Living Classroom Program?

Back Country Land Trusts’ Living Classroom Program provides outdoor environmental education opportunities to elementary school students in Alpine and the surrounding area. With the support of BCLT’s partners, students have the opportunity to explore nature, learn about their local environment and contribute to their community through hands-on service learning projects.

Outdoor Education

Their hands-on service learning projects include outdoor educational field trips and native plant restoration projects. Experienced field instructors teach about the history of Alpine and introduce native plants and habitats found throughout Wright’s Field nature preserve. Students plant native wildflowers and shrubs and trees on their school campuses giving them a sense of purpose and pride to see the results of their work each day.

Connection to the Land

When children develop a relationship with nature they begin to appreciate and care for their environment and surroundings. Connecting youth with nature is a step toward a more sustainable future.

Notice: All content on this page was sourced from the Back Country Land Trust to highlight their conservation efforts of Alpine’s fragile ecosystems. Please visit the BCLT website and support them. ©2020 BACK COUNTRY LAND TRUST, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED