Bolsa Chica is a Part of Me

Sage’s relationship with Bolsa Chica is a unique one, as her parents were two of the founders of the Bolsa Chica Stewards before she was born, and her mom is now BCLT’s Executive Director.  Sage has participated in work days on the mesa before she could walk.  Committee meetings and fundraisers were as common in her young life as play-dates and Disney movies.  She, in fact, was named after all the Sage scrub plants her parents planted out on the Bolsa Chica Mesa.  Sage scrub plants are strong shrubs, yet beautifully fragrant and feminine.  These plants are the anchor of the habitat, and shelter for small, vulnerable animals.   It is that beauty and resilience that makes it the foundation of the mesa vegetation, and the qualities for which Sage Kolpin was named.  For many, there is a moment in time when the bond begins with Bolsa.  The first time you walk its dusty trails, or the first time you encounter a Great Blue Heron up close.  For Sage, her bond had no such defining moment.  It runs a bit deeper. ~ Kim Kolpin, Steward Founder, and current Executive Director

By Sage Kolpin

Working out on the Bolsa Chica Wetlands has changed my life in no way shape or form.  There is not a moment in which I discovered my purpose while out on the mesa, or a single day that made me into who I am now.  Rather, I have been carved from days working out on the Bolsa Chica Wetlands and know no such life without the smell of straggled sage scrubs or the feeling of muddy hands.  I have been raised with the skills and knowledge that it would take an adult years to acquire, and the ideas and beliefs that erudite people to this day are discussing. There have been achievements I have acquired and choices I have made that have been inveigled by my time out on the wetlands.

Ever since the age of 2 I have known how to plant a plant and by the age of 8 public speaking was an enjoyable task rather than a nauseating one, but there has been no moment in which these characteristics have been a direct result of the Bolsa Chica, rather I know not where else they could have arisen from.  There is nothing in my life that has not, or will not, be tainted by the time spent volunteering or by the people who are passionate to volunteer.  I have grown up surrounded by these people who are inspired to help protect and preserve not only the mesa but natural resources that we all love to enjoy, and they are inspiring to be encompassed by.

I will forever be changed by the people who I have grown up listening to and watching, and as I go onto school pursuing Anthropology I can’t help but think of all of these people and this experience.   Growing up planting plants and forging trails has given me an insight to a field like no other, but that is not what I find to be the greatest reward.

I have grown up around all sorts of different people and have gotten to share in the passion of restoring the Bolsa Chica.  I have spent my weekends with people who have taught me so much and given me advice that I know I will always take with me.  Leading this past workday was nothing new to me as I have done it many times in the past,  I was raised with a plant in hand and a voice saying “green side up”.

I am very grateful for all the experiences that I have been granted out on the mesa, it is nothing new or bewildering to me because I have always known it.  Growing up on the Wetlands has made me a stronger and well-grounded person, however it is nothing new.   Bolsa Chica has, and will always be a part of me.


photos: James Huang

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