by KELLY GUSICH | photos by Soul of Photography

Preservation and Education 

Jim Dietz came to Olde Solana Beach back in 1992 and settled with his family in a small group of homes on the only dirt road in Solana Beach, which overlooks the San Elijo Lagoon. He worked for many years helping to build and sell computer systems but upon his retirement two years ago, he decided that beyond spending time with his family – three children and five grandchildren – the lagoon should be his new office.

Wanting to help kids learn about nature, Jim participated in the San Elijo Lagoon Conservancy’s President’s Council. After training with natural science experts to learn as much as possible about the plants and animals in the lagoon environment across the street, Jim now serves as a conservancy naturalist, leading nature tours of the lagoon for school children in grades one through seven. The tour groups he teaches come from North County and Escondido. The objective of the tours, besides exposing students to the lagoon’s beauty and entertainment, is instructing people at a young age and helping them to have an impact on preserving the watershed as a whole.


There are about 25 naturalists who give their time for these tours, providing support for student groups up to four days a week. Jim most enjoys working with the enthusiastic students who visit. “When I finish a walk with them, I really feel I have accomplished a part of making sure our next generation appreciates the natural world and is ready to care for it,” Jim shared.

Volunteers can serve the conservancy as Native Habitat Planting Volunteers, interns, and more, with events like Family Fun Days and Family Discovery Days throughout the year. “Our conservation education program ensures students will connect to nature, become watershed and wetland literate, recognize nature’s relevance, and become conservation confident and skilled to take action on behalf of the environment.”

With the conservancy now celebrating its 30th anniversary and focusing on the next 30 years, Jim would like readers to know about the talent, dedication, and unwavering selflessness of the conservancy’s board and volunteers. “Their impact on the quality of the environment in the lagoon has been very significant,” he explained. “I doubt we would have a lagoon to really enjoy without their work.” Here’s to the next 30 years of preservation, conservation, and appreciation at the San Elijo Lagoon.


Meet Jim Dietz

Name: Jim Dietz
Community: Solana Beach
Volunteer Affiliation: San Elijo Lagoon Conservancy
Profession: Former Director of Marketing, Product Management & Development at Teradata Corporation
Family: Married with three children and five grandchildren
Hobbies & Interests: Tennis, golf, skiing, craft beer

San Elijo Lagoon Conservancy At-A-Glance

Nonprofit Land Trust: San Elijo Lagoon Conservancy
Mission: The mission of San Elijo Lagoon Conservancy is to protect and restore the resources of San Elijo Lagoon Ecological Reserve, its watershed, and related ecosystems for the benefit of current and future generations.
Contact: | 760-436-3944