Grand Caribe Shoreline Park with the “Sheltering Wings’ sculpture. Courtesy Port of San Diego

The Port of San Diego and city of Coronado hosted a celebration to commemorate the 25th anniversary of Grand Caribe Shoreline Park and its artwork “Sheltering Wings” Friday.

“The Port of San Diego thanks the members of the Silver Strand Beautification Committee, who worked so diligently with the port years ago to create this incredible, peaceful park on San Diego Bay,” said Commissioner Garry Bonelli, Coronado’s representative on the port board commissioners. “It turned out to be a prudent land-use decision that everyone has greatly benefitted from.”

The event was held during National Parks and Recreation Month, a recognition each July that intended to promote the importance of parks and recreation to health and wellness, tourism and economic prosperity, environmental conservation and social equity.

Grand Caribe Shoreline Park, located on Grand Caribe Isle adjacent to the Coronado Cays, is one of the port’s 22 waterfront parks. Development of the 3.7-acre park, which officially opened on July 5, 1996, was a joint effort of the port and the Silver Strand Beautification Committee. The objective of creating the park was to enhance the existing natural and native plant communities and to provide an educational botanical setting. At the opening, the sculpture “Sheltering Wings” by artist Christopher Slatoff was unveiled.

“Sheltering Wings” is a bronze sculpture of two full-size blue herons located in the center of Grand Caribe Shoreline Park. The idea of a blue heron sculpture originated with the beautification committee. Slatoff created the artwork as a tribute to the rare birds that can be seen feeding and resting on Grand Caribe Isle and artwork’s name symbolizes the idea of protecting the fragile natural environment. It is part of the port-owned Tidelands Collection of public artworks, a waterfront collection consisting of more than 70 artworks placed throughout tidelands in parks and piers.

When Grand Caribe Shoreline Park was first developed, it included six species of native wildflowers and was the site of a rare and threatened species called Lotus nuttalianus. One hundred-fifty of these plants were identified and transplanted to an undisturbed area of the park. The majority of the native plants are still there and continue to thrive, and the habitat continues to be monitored by the port.

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