by Kelley Gusich | photos by Soul of Photography

Fostering the Love

volunteer_foster1Sally Foster has been an Encinitas resident since 1978. She loves the combination of urban arts and culture with the slow-paced comfort of a life by the seashore. Her oldest son Michael Miazgowicz has a Ph.D. in Immunology and currently lives at home. Her youngest son Gregory Miazgowicz has a B.S. in environmental studies and lives in Seattle, WA, where he manages a sporting goods store and teaches yoga.

When Gregory was in high school, he did an Environmental Impact Study in which his choice of study was the San Elijo Lagoon. “Many folks don’t realize the lagoon is part of the Pacific Coast Flyway,” Sally related, “which means that many migrating birds stop here to feed and rest during their yearly trips north and south.” She continued, “More than 300 different species have been seen at the San Elijo Lagoon.”

Name: Sally Foster
Community: Encinitas
Volunteer Affiliation: San Elijo Lagoon Conservancy, LIFE Club at San Elijo, and Coastal Community Foundation
Profession: Retired Dean of the San Elijo Campus of MiraCosta College; previously a psychology professor for 23 years
Family: Sons – Michael and Gregory Miazgowicz
Interests: Birdwatching, gardening, dancing, music, yoga, and walking
Favorite Local Spots: Las Olas, Pipes Café, Pacific Coast Grill, and The Lumberyard Tavern


volunteer_foster2During Sally’s tenure as dean at the Miracosta College San Elijo campus, she was asked to co-sponsor a Lagoon Lecture series there. It proved to be a very successful series and in 2007 she was asked to join the board of directors. She had been a member of the San Elijo Lagoon Conservancy for many years so this increased involvement was welcome volunteer work. Her biggest wish for the Lagoon is that the upcoming restoration project will successfully protect the wetlands for the enjoyment of current and future generations. “How many people are lucky enough,” Sally shared, “to have a healthy, vibrant, biologically diverse wetland reserve right in their own backyard?”

There are many ways to volunteer with the conservancy, from becoming a docent to rolling up your sleeves and getting involved with nature. Docents lead tours for school children and the general public. For those interested in hands-on conservation, some will assist biologists in habitat management restoration projects. “Many of our volunteers find that their time spent with us opens new doors of opportunity,” Sally explained, “not only are they working outside in a special place, they are alongside others who share their love for keeping nature wild and healthy.”volunteer_foster3

When she’s not busy with lagoon conservation, Sally enjoys bird watching, gardening, walking, practicing yoga, going to concerts – from symphonies to The Rolling Stones – and many forms of dance. Her self-described goofy and off-color sense of humor might be unexpected on a first meeting, but it’s no surprise to her family and friends.

Group: San Elijo Lagoon Conservancy
Mission: Protect and restore the resources of San Elijo Lagoon Ecological Reserve, its watershed, and related ecosystems for the benefit of current and future generations.
Phone: 760-436-3944
Upcoming Event: Birds of a Feather Gala on Sept. 19