on the border
As part of our continuing exploration of environmental, social, and fiscal implications of sustainability, a group of University of San Diego students used last Saturday to explore the Tijuana River Valley. We started with a visit to Wild Willow farm, a small organic farm operated in the flood plain of the Tijuana river. It was a very interesting visit, and we learned a lot about both how small-scale farming works and the issues related to operating in an area with a lot of migrants crossing.
From there it was off to the Tijuana River National Estuarine Research Reserve, where Chris Peregrine from State Parks talked to us about the challenges and the benefits of operating a wetland reserve where >2/3 of the watershed is in Mexico. We got to go see these important and threatened ecosystems, and had lunch at the Visitor's Center.
Finally, we headed up to Friendship Park, the small park on the border that was closed during construction of the new fence. From there you get a sweeping view of the estuary, as well as parts of Tijuana, making it an ideal spot to discuss some of the social and environmental issues that intertwine here. What made this even better was being able to talk both to Agent Kris Strickland of the Border Patrol and Enrique Morones from Border Angels (a non-profit dedicated to reducing the number of migrant deaths while crossing the border). Each of them clearly view the border issues differently, yet both stressed the need for education and compassion, and it was gratifying to see how much common ground there is when reasonable people discuss even a contentious issue.
In short, we packed a lot of learning and broadening of perspective in a single day, which is what undergraduate education is all about. Thanks to everyone who worked so hard to make this possible!