Growing up with the Lagoon



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A Mom and Daughter Share Birding and Hiking Together in San Elijo Lagoon, and Beyond

Of all the places in San Diego to enjoy the outdoors, Padmapriya Jagannathan—who goes by Padma—says her favorite is San Elijo Lagoon. “It’s like I’ve seen the lagoon grow up with my daughter,” shares Padma.  

When her daughter, Sree, was around seven years old, they began attending our interactive experiences. “Every time there was an event at the lagoon, we came,” says Padma.

Sree holding snake at family fun day

Above: Sree meets a California kingsnake at our annual spring nature festival. Photo from 2014 Spring Festival

Now Sree is a junior in high school, and Padma shares, “She is very busy and one of the quick ways to unwind is to go to San Elijo Lagoon and watch birds for some time.” Researching best birding places is how they discovered this wetland and made the connection with Nature Collective as members.

Padma looking at birds with binoculars

Above: Padma searches for birds at San Elijo Lagoon 

Growing up in Southern India, Padma felt a sense of awe in what she describes as “the tremendous rivers of India.” She moved to the U.S. in the 90s and fell in love with the national parks here. Padma says she’s following Sree’s lead in all the ways they continue to experience nature. 

When Sree began inquiring about having a pet, her parents began the animal journey by setting up a bird feeder in the backyard. Watching various species of birds feeding mesmerized Sree, who started asking lots of questions. The bird feeder inspired their shared love of birding, volunteering, and being together outdoors.

Curlew at San Elijo Lagoon

Above: Curlew at San Elijo Lagoon, a favorite of Padma’s.

An ideal day for them is hiking. Idyllwild is another favorite, and birding together. “No cameras, phones, or distractions. Just our hiking poles and binoculars,” she adds.

“We saw a courtship dance of two Grebes at Lake Hodges. They stood up and ran on the water in a courtship ritual called rushing. Things I’ve only seen in a nature documentary,” says Padma.

Despite the demands of high school and their careers, nature insists on inviting them to explore new sights, sounds and scents. Padma adds, “Sree looks at me, and I look at her, and then we go to the lagoon. It’s the easiest way to unwind.”

Padma and her family share a love of nature wild and free, birds high in the sky, on the shoreline and sheltering inside tree branches. This love and their membership with Nature Collective makes them Nature Heroes and we are honored that they share their story. We wish them, and all of you, many seasons of happy birding adventures, engagement with us, and nature discoveries where ever you explore!

Featured image: Padma and Sree at San Elijo Lagoon

Today, consider becoming a member of Nature Collective. Make a donation today, so that everyone can connect with, experience, and protect nature.” Thank you.

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