Table of Contents: 

Club Information
Club Web Calendar
Acornicle newsletter
Club Activity Pictures Page


Fun Stuff

4-H History

Links to 4-H sites 

Send comments!


Search our site




The home of a new project which started in February 2004.  Kevin Fletcher is the Project Leader.

In this project we will be monitoring and compiling pictures of areas devastated by the San Diego County fires of October 2003.  We will be working directly with the County 4-H Office, documenting all photos with GPS coordinates, compass headings, and maps.  The goal is to take the exact same photos every three months to document the recovery of the vegetation. Other clubs in the county are doing this project in their fire devastated areas also.  This information will be submitted to the County 4-H Office and used by the Farm Advisory as a land management tool. 

Mason is checking the photo image he just took.

Bryan is using the camera to take a picture of the landscape.  He is photo-documenting the recovery of the plants.

The marker is the landmark used for Site #7.

Bryan is entering the waypoint for the next photo site into the GPS unit.  The GPS is connected to the laptop to provide a map to the next site.

Mason is using the GPS unit to pinpoint the exact location.

Documentation is always important.

Mason is entering the GPS longitude and latitude into his log book.

February 2007 - Jon is taking a picture in the direction Kevin is point to.


January 2008

June 2008

April 2010

       Jon's Dad is standing beside a new Tecate Cypress seedling which sprouted up after the October 2007 fires.  From a different angle, Kevin stands beside the same tree in 2010, two and a half years after the fire.

Jon entered the following display at both East County Fair and San Diego County Fair.  He received top honors at both fairs.

February 2004 - The project is started and selected nine sites of the Otay Fire.  Below, are the first photos taken from each site to be documented.

Click on the pictures to see the progress of the recovery.

Site #1 - Hwy 94 turn out just past inspection station.

Site #2 - Otay Truck Trail 0.7 mile from Marron Valley Road

Site #3 - Otay Truck Trail 1.2 miles from Marron Valley Road

Site #4 - Otay Truck Trail 1.9 miles from Marron Valley Road

Site #5 - Otay Truck Trail 3.2 miles from Marron Valley Road

Site #6 - Otay Truck Trail 3.7 from Marron Valley Road

Site #7 - Otay Truck Trail 6.2 from Marron Valley Road

Site #8 - Otay Truck Trail 6.4 from Marron Valley Road

Site #9 - Otay Truck Trail 6.4 from Marron Valley Road

The following article is from the San Diego County 4-H newsletter, February 2004.


The fires that spread through San Diego County were devastating to many families and to the county. We are all interested in how burned natural areas are going to recover from the fire. Will they return to their pre-fire habitat or will they look different? How long is the recovery going to take? Do we need to assist the recovery by spending resources on replanting the area? What are the interim stages going to look like? Our Southern California habitats have a history of burning and typically recover fully in a matter of years.

One simple way to document this process is with photo-monitoring. If you take photographs from the same location, looking at the same landscape over a period of time you can create a historical record of the recovery process. This project is one way a group of members can support the on-going fire recovery effort. The 4H Club is uniquely designed to conduct such a project because while individuals may leave the club, the club unit remains to train new youth to continue the project over several years to collect the information. The following is a brief guide to setting up a photo-monitoring site and data collection. But first, you need to be prepared to continue this project for several years and to be consistent in how you take your photographs.

Step I - Select the photo points. These are the locations of the camera, not the subject of the photos. If this is a club project enough information on the location has to be collected and available so anyone can find the photopoint. Key elements of each photo point are: 
     1. It should be permanent and accessible, like a roadside turnout or intersection. Do not use private property or roads unless you own it or can be assured of access over a period of time. Public spaces like parks are a good location.
     2. An elevated site is usually preferable because it is less likely to be obscured over time by vegetative growth.
     3. Assign each photopoint a name, number, or letter.

Step II - Identify photopoint coordinates.
     1. Find the photopoint site on a roadmap as close as possible. Use a popular map, such as AAA or Thomas Guide.
     2. Record the exact location (longitude and latitude) with a hand held GPS (Global Positioning System) device. If a GPS unit is not available, use orienteering;
     a. Find two permanent features (e.g. boulders, road signs, large trees) near your photopoint
         b. Take measurements with a tape and record the direction from each with a compass
         c. These two measures and directions will triangulate your photopoint

Step III - Taking the photos.
     1. Photographs can be taken in more than one direction of different landscapes from each photopoint, but each of these have to be recorded separately.
2. Frame the photo to capture the expected ‘area of influence’, not just a small area of the site
     3. Try to include fixed features, such as buildings, roads, telephone poles, large trees or boulders for scale and reference
     4. Use a wide angle lens (28-35mm)
5. Take photos from the same height each time
     6. Take photos on overcast days to minimize shadows
     7. Take photos at the same time each day and with the sun behind you
     8. Use a digital camera or a 35 mm with high-speed film (200-400 asa). Get prints and digital copies of each the first time photos are taken, subsequent pictures can be just digital
     9. Complete a data sheet entry for each photo while still in the field

Step IV Repeat photos
      1. Return to each photopoint on a set schedule; monthly, quarterly, biannually, or annually
     2. Uses your map information to locate the photopoint and use your prints to ‘re-frame each picture.

If your 4-H group would like to be a part of this project contact Steve Dasher 858-694-8874 for more information.


  Last updated February 20, 2013