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Introducing The Keithley Preserve

If you live in the Elfin Forest area, you may have noticed some sign changes to the former Los Cielos Preserve. After much thoughtfulness and consideration, we have decided to rename the Preserve after one of our dedicated board members, Elizabeth Keithley (Betsy).

“Betsy has been a force at the Conservancy.  She brought a lifelong passion for the outdoors, protecting open space and habitats to her work.  The Keithley Preserve would not have been possible without foresight and action to protect neighboring properties,” shared Richard Murphy, Board President.

Betsy began her involvement with the Conservancy shortly after its founding in 1991, and has been an active board member for the last decade. Having grown up during a time when housing developments were being built in the same open spaces she played in as a child, she quickly realized the value of conservation. The Conservancy’s education programs, that now serve nearly 5,000 students annually, are especially important to her as she’s noticed children don’t have the same access or exposure to nature she had growing up. She hopes that their continued exposure to nature will inspire young people to continue the legacy of conservation for generations to come.

“I believe that human beings are part of the ecosystem, and therefore, dependent on all the other life forms among which we live and interact. These species require natural habitats and humans must preserve them,” said Betsy, “I am grateful that now I have the opportunity to conserve open space for people and animals to enjoy and live in.”


Her deep knowledge of conservation principles, history in the Elfin Forest community, and heart are all things the Conservancy has grown to cherish. Betsy has a big vision and a willingness to take bold risks, and, as a result, the Conservancy was able to create the Keithley Preserve, the Harmony Heights Preserve, and a strong and dynamic outdoor education program. Her conservation legacy in the Escondido Creek watershed will live on in perpetuity.

“The Keithley Preserve is home to a number of diverse ecosystems including oak woodlands, chaparral, riparian, and coastal sage scrub which provides habitat for the federally threatened coastal California gnatcatcher,” says Hannah Walchak, the Conservancy’s Conservation Director, “it’s a jewel of the Elfin Forest area, and only natural we’d rename this after one of our most beloved supporters.”