Our Latest Newsletter

Our Newsletter for July, August and September 2017

SHS Newsletter 6-17 final- Vol 9, issue 3 2017 July Aug Sept printed
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Santee Monarch Waystation

Did you know?

The Santee Historical Society has been declared a Monarch Waystation.

We have a Butterfly crew that will be at the Barn on July 9th to install our new sign and to discuss how we can improve our Monarch Waystation.

If you would like to be part of this, please email Jason Kevane at   Volunteers@SanteeHistoricalSociety.org


What is a Monarch Waystation ?

Monarch Waystations are places with the right kind of milkweed for monarchs to lay their eggs.  These plants provide food for the caterpillars to grow into butterflies.  They also provide nectar so that the butterflies can make their long journey to Mexico where they spend the winter.

Why are the Monarchs Dying?

Loss of milkweed breeding habitat due to the widespread use of herbicide resistant crops.

Widespread adoption of herbicide-resistant corn and soybeans has resulted in the loss of more than 80 million acres of monarch habitat.


Pesticide use which kills non-target insects and further degrades habitat.


Climate change is affecting monarch populations in a number of ways.

Erratic weather may also delay the emergence of milkweed in spring and change the bloom time of flowering plants that provide resources to migrating monarchs.

Logging and development have degraded monarch overwintering sites.


Developments in the U.S. are consuming habitats for monarchs and other wildlife at a rate of 6,000 acres per day – that’s 2.2 million acres each year, the area of Delaware and Rhode Island combined!


There has been a 74% decline in the California overwintering population of Monarch Butterflies in less than 20 years, comparable to declines observed in the monarch population that overwinters in Mexico.


What is the Santee Historical Society Doing?

To offset the loss of milkweeds and flowers we have created a “Monarch Waystations”. This is the Santee Historical Society’s contribution to monarch conservation.


What do Monarch Butterflies have to do with Santee History?

Santee has historically been an agricultural area.  Our city was originally full of Muscat grapes, exotic fruit trees, and award winning Guernsey’s, along with native milkweed.



The Santee Historical Society is proudly continuing Santee’s tradition of excellence in agriculture by helping preserve the Monarch Butterfly and educating the public about the necessity and beauty of nature.

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Santee Community Composting Event

Learn about Composting and Vermicomposting

With summer around the corner, the City of Santee and Waste Management will be holding free composting workshops for Santee residents at the Santee Historical Society, located at 9200 Magnolia Ave.

The event will offer residents of Santee the opportunity to learn the basics of vermicomposting (composting with worms).

Workshops will be held held at the following times:

-10:30a.m. -11:30a.m. -12:30p.m.

Additionally, the museum will be open for residents to browse before and after the workshops. For additional information, customers may contact Kristine Costa with Waste Management at kcosta2@wm.com.


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Photos from our Monarch Butterfly event

We had a great turnout out our Monarch Butterfly event.   We thought we would share some photos with you.

A released monarch butterfly

Guests planted a Monarch Butterfly Garden

One of the exhibits at the Monarch Butterfly Event



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The Gopher Trapping Champion lived in Santee!!

Meet the Gopher Trapping Champion of 1927

Friday Morning, February 11, 1927

Who is the champion gopher trapper of the county?  Two Escondido ranchers started something when they put in a claim for the title, announcing that they had trapped about 250 together.

Then came Gilbert Shamrak of Ramona who clipped 538 gopher tails in 1926 and figured that number sufficient to rest all other claims of big catches of that year.

But, now, comes information to Escondido, birthplace of the gopher trapping contest, of the original Pied Piper of gopherdon.  His name is Henry McPherson.  His home is at the Edgemoor Farm in Santee.  According to news from his home, he is at present in the county hospital suffering from a slight stroke of paralysis.  However, he is expected to improve sufficiently within a few days to resume his occupation of catching rodents in this neighborhood.

McPherson is 61 years old.   He has been at the farm since January 1924, and during that time is reported to have caught and been paid for nearly 5000 gophers.  This is only an estimate, however, as the clerk of the farm, H.A.Vance, did not look up the records, but he did go through the files for the last year.  McPherson caught and was paid for 2000 gophers.  The county pays a bounty of 5 cents for each gopher tail.


McPherson keeps his daily catches until he has them in lots of 50 or 100 and then sends them to county officials.  Chester Gunn, superintendent, counts the tails and vouches for the number and the supervisors accept his figures.

There is no doubt about the 2000 caught during 1926, as the records show it and the tails are all tied up in the tobacco sacks and kept in the office at the farm.

McPherson is so badly crippled by paralysis that he has no use of his right hand and can walk only with difficulty.  However, by the use of his left hand and his teeth, he manages to set his traps.  He uses the ordinary spring traps and set them so skillfully that the gophers find it necessary to crawl over them to get in and out of their burrows.  He keeps from two to three dozen traps in use at all times and reaps a harvest of from a dozen to 20 gophers tails each day.

During March and May, last year, he did a comparatively light business, sending in for county bounty only 100 tails each of those months.  The rest of the year, his average was about 200 a month.


McPherson is proud of his achievements in this line of work and thinks that if it were not for his work the county farm might have been overrun with the pests.  He keeps tab on the number of animals of each sex he captures and is fond of estimating the number there would have been there had he not killed so many.  His crop of prospective gophers, considering their breeding capacity, runs in to the millions and he thinks of himself as having saved the farm from a devastating plague.

The trapper places his earnings into a fund which he is acquiring to pay his funeral and burial expenses.  He has a decided aversion to being buried in a potter’s field, it is said, and is making provisions against that contingency.  He now has more than $200 in the fund.

Already McPherson has succeeded in besting the most aspirants of the county for gopher-trapping honors.  However, that is what H.R. Greaves of this valley thought when he announced he had caught 102 during 1926.  There is still a possibility that other trappers will put in their bid for the rodent extermination crown.

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