Opening of new gate providing access to Scripps Coastal Reserve is Feb. 25

A grand opening celebration for the San Diego-Scripps Marine Conservation Area, and the new entrance gate to the Knoll (upland) area of the Scripps Coastal Reserve, part of the University of California National Reserve System, will be held Saturday, Feb. 25.

The event is free and open to the public though there is no parking at the reserve. Free parking and shuttle bus service will operate from the UC San Diego Pangea parking structure at the corner of North Torrey Pines Road and Pangea Drive from 1 to 4 p.m.. Park in the structure and catch the shuttle at the curb on Pangea Drive.

Docent-led tours begin at 1 p.m. UC San Diego Chancellor Marye Anne Fox will preside over the ribbon cutting for the gate at 2 p.m. From 2:30 to 4 p.m. guests are invited to experience Peter Terezakis's Sacred Sky Sacred Earth: Meditation at Scripps Knoll. Begun in 1995, this event is part of a series of inter-active, site-specific, temporary art works which call attention to our earth and sky.

Meditation at Scripps Knoll will require walking around the reserve and will include performances by UC San Diego alumni from the Department of Music, the Department of Theatre and Dance, and special guest artists from Bali, Great Britain, and Mexico. For more information, visithttp://www.terezakis.com

The Scripps Coastal Reserve provides excellent opportunities to examine the dramatic land-sea interface in Southern California. Commanding a view for 50 kilometers (30 miles), the precipitous upland portion of the reserve, located adjacent to the UC San Diego Scripps Institution of Oceanography (SIO), is topped by a grassy knoll and bounded by steep coastal canyons. The reserve's rugged coastal bluffs plummet 100 meters (328 feet) to the ocean surface. From there, the marine portion of the reserve plunges to a depth of 227 meters (745 feet) below sea level into the tributaries of the Scripps and La Jolla submarine canyons.

The Scripps Pier juts 320 meters (1,050 feet) into the Pacific Ocean, providing access to rich, deep, underwater habitats. Plant and animal communities at the reserve have adapted to the various stresses of life at the marine margin, such as shifting tides, sand migration, inundation, and desiccation. This site's highly diverse, terrestrial and marine reserve habitats include coastal sage scrub, succulent scrub, disturbed grassland, coastal strand, rocky reef, sandy beach, submerged sandy plain, pier pilings, submarine canyon and associated ledges.

The University of California Natural Reserve System is a network of protected natural areas throughout California. Its 37 sites include more than 750,000 acres, making it the largest university-administered reserve system in the world. Most major state ecosystems are represented, from coastal tidepools to inland deserts, and lush wetlands to Sierra Nevada forests. The reserves also serve as a gateway to more than a million acres of public lands. Founded in 1965 to provide undisturbed environments for research, education, and public service, the Natural Reserve System contributes to the understanding and wise stewardship of the earth.

For more information, visit http://nrs.ucsd.edu/scripps.html, and http://www.facebook.com/scrippscoastalreserve or call 858-534-2077.

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