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Coastal Forage at La Jolla Tide Pools

Pala Tribal member and Climate and Community Fellow Shannon Magee, accompanied by Coastal Fellow Madison Wilson, attended a coastal forage training put on by Chris Nejo, Pala Cultural Committee spokesperson, San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance Natural Lands Manager Charlie de la Rosa, and Devin O’Dea, California Chapter Coordinator for Backcountry Hunters and Anglers.

The ocean shore with rocks covered in seaweed, waves crashing, and a white egret standing in the middle of the rocks.

On a beautiful King Tide day on April 15th, 2023, we gathered on the homelands of the Kumeyaay at La Jolla Tide Pools. Organized by Pala tribal member Chris Nejo, Backcountry Hunters & Anglers California Chapter Coordinator Devin O’Dea and San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance Natural Lands Manager Charlie de la Rosa, the intention of this day was to share tools and skills, reconnecting Pala’s community members with coastal foods like seaweeds, fish and shellfish. We were also joined by Pala’s vice president of food and beverage Chef Bob Zhang, who is looking to incorporate more traditional foods into the menu at Pala’s Casino. About 20 people from all age groups including the Climate Science Alliance’s own Climate and Community Fellow Shannon Magee, and Coastal Fellow Madison Wilson spent the day learning new skills in harvesting and preparing coastal foods.

With all our required fishing permits in hand, Charlie and Devin helped everyone set up their fishing poles as we dropped our lines into the tide pools. Although no fish were caught this way, we were excited to be greeted by lobster, garibaldi, nudibranchs, crabs, many types of seaweed and countless other tidepool treasures. As we gathered, Chef Bob prepared previously caught ingredients like yellowtail nigiri with fresh wasabi and ginger and grilled California spiny lobster from earlier in the year when the season was open. We also sampled smoked yellowtail and bluefin collar with grape leaves, a salad with yucca stalk foraged by Chris, all of which were delicious! While Shannon and Madison got to work cleaning owl limpets, Charlie returned to the shore from spearfishing with a gorgeous calico bass, which was served poached. With the owl limpets finally cleaned, everyone helped to prepare a yellowtail and owl limpet ceviche and fresh mussels. See our menu for more dishes prepared by Chef Bob!

Everyone had a fun, engaging and informative time gathering and sharing food, and we all left with full hearts and bellies. Many Indigenous Nations, especially in California, have been largely displaced from coastal areas making maintaining connections to the ocean and the food it provides an important act of sovereignty. Shannon, Madison, and Climate Science Alliance are grateful to have been a part of this day. The Climate Science Alliance is excited to continue to support this and other Indigenous coastal work through our Indigenous Coastal Initiative, part of the Tribal Working Group. For more information or to become involved, please keep in touch through our Tribal Working Group and be sure to update your membership here.

A graphic with a photo of a cutting board with owl limpets and calico bass. The right side of the graphic lists the menu items and has two circular photos of the yellowtail poke and the yellowtail maki roll.

Image text: Coastal Forage Menu. Salad with yucca stalk and sweet ginger dressing, yellowtail and owl limpet ceviche, yellowtail poke, poached calico (kelp bass) with ginger and fish sauce, lobster grilled on indirect heat, yellowtail maki roll, steamed mussels, smoked bluefin tuna and yellowtail collar with grape leaves.


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