Summer Camp Recap, New Staff, and New Art at MTRP – Mission Times Courier


This summer has been full of exciting events at the park.

The Mission Trails Regional Park Foundation (MTRP) hosted its first camp since 2019, an afternoon program funded by the San Diego Foundation in partnership with the San Diego Unified School District (SDUSD). In preparation for camp, the MTRP Foundation’s newly hired education team put together a solid program for its campers.

From learning how to make bird calls, to guided walks on trails, doing crafts, and doing live animal demonstrations, campers had an amazing time and it was the first Mission Trails experience for many campers. We’ll be offering Thanksgiving week and winter break camps for students in all school districts, so watch for details in the coming months.

Our new art exhibition, NATURE! Embraced and Reimagined, will be on view at the MTRP Visitor Center until Friday, September 9.

This exhibition highlights local artists Jessica Ballenger and Vivian Fung, who have different approaches to photography.

Fung’s stunning landscape photography contrasts nicely with Ballenger’s mixed media works. Fung’s stunning images skillfully capture landscape lighting to dramatic effect. Ballenger uses images taken at local sites, including Mission Trails, to create works of art reminiscent of William Morris arts and crafts wallpapers, psychedelic 1960s posters and quilts. All works on display are available for purchase, with a percentage of the sale benefiting the park through the MTRP Foundation.

MTRP Foundation activities in August include our regular Trail Tykes programs, which take place the second and fourth Wednesdays of the month at 10 a.m. at the Visitor Center. At Trail Tykes, volunteers read nature-related stories, sing songs, and can take an optional short walk, led by our volunteers or our new Head Educator, Alissa Lustgarten.

A native of Indiana and a graduate of Purdue University, Lustgarten brings years of outdoor education to the MTRP Foundation and happens to be a graduate of the MTRP Trail Guide Class of 2022. We’re thrilled to have Lustgarten on staff and to welcome three seasoned outdoor educators who will work with her on the educational programming of the MTRP Foundation: Robin Kendall, Brian Moehl and Amanda Peterson.

Although it’s hot, it’s cool at the MTRP Visitor Center, so come and take in the views and exhibits and enjoy the library and a film.

While visiting, stop by the Gift Shop to browse MTRP merchandise including patches, lapel pins and our brand new kids’ tee. You can also shop online to support the park at: