Tag archives: nature

Meerkat Memories
By Chuck Graham   |   December 26, 2023

A mob of meerkats was on my Southern African menu. Deep in the Kalahari Desert, I scanned that brilliant red earth with my binoculars from dawn until dusk. Finally, on the morning of our third day in Namibia, it was meerkat mania as 20 of them arrived just after breakfast. This was my 16th trip […]

Hugging the Island
By Chuck Graham   |   December 5, 2023

It was a microcosm of the island biome, where multiple species benefited from the hard work of one marine mammal species and the help of a narrow, craggy sea cave battered by a surging, Southern Hemisphere swell. I was kayaking back from an early evening surf session, and as I hugged the sheer cliffs of […]

NatureTrack
By Steven Libowitz   |   July 18, 2023

The NatureTrack Film Festival was created as an extension of the NatureTrack Foundation, the nonprofit that combats “Nature-Deficit Disorder” by transporting county students outside via a variety of no-charge field trips from the seashore to the inland oak woodlands to engage curiosity and instill appreciation and awe of nature. The festival had a fine first […]

Patience is Required
By Chuck Graham   |   May 16, 2023

Not too much of it though, myself and the western gulls were growing anxious. However, all I had to do was observe and study the throngs of those hungry seabirds, and then eventually the drama unfolded. The northern elephant seal colony above San Simeon and surrounding the Piedras Blancas Lighthouse on the Central California Coast, […]

Explore Ecology
By Steven Libowitz   |   March 28, 2023

Imagine an artistic hub in downtown Santa Barbara brimming with materials, tools, ideas, and creativity, a curated and dynamic gathering space where community members are welcome to imagine, invent, create and collaborate, all in an ecologically friendly way.  That’s the idea behind a new vision for the Art From Scrap (AFS) workshop as a permanent […]

Lots of Hugging
By Chuck Graham   |   January 17, 2023

We hugged the crumbly west cliff face of Cuyler Harbor on San Miguel Island with no expectations from the seat of our kayaks. From afar, we couldn’t see any wildlife, but we could clearly hear first-year northern elephant seals snorting and bellowing on distant pocket beaches concealed along the rocky shoreline. I was paddling with […]

A Lesson From the Eighth Continent?
By Robert Bernstein   |   October 18, 2022

Over 20 years ago I attended a talk on Madagascar at the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History. It was one long rant about how the ecosystems of Madagascar had been almost totally destroyed. How there were no indigenous organizations for outside conservation groups to work with. And how the Pope had gone there to […]

Limestone Scramble
By Chuck Graham   |   August 23, 2022

They could’ve been tiny patches of snow on a distant mountain face, winter clinging to an Arctic summer on the North Slope of the Brooks Range in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR). However, scanning with my binoculars while on a braided, swift-moving raft, on the Kongakut River, 18 snowy white Dall sheep gradually grazed […]

NatureTrack
By Steven Libowitz   |   March 24, 2022

You’d be hard-pressed to find nonprofits with an origin story more organic and homespun than NatureTrack. The organization was founded 11 years ago by Sue Eisaguirre, who, after raising her own kids with lots of outdoor time, returned to work heading up the docent and K-12 outreach programs for the UCSB Sedgwick Reserve.  “It was […]

Taking the Plunge
By Chuck Graham   |   March 1, 2022

While kayaking and circumnavigating the Salton Sea’s 110 miles of coastline in California’s southeastern corner, the winter climes were a mild 75 degrees, and the salty waters were beyond silky smooth.  It was so clear I could see a massive flock of American white pelicans two miles off in the distance resting peacefully on the […]

Art Exhibition is ‘Amplifying the Between’
By Scott Craig   |   January 25, 2022

Santa Barbara artist Marie Schoeff explores a profound yet unpretentious relationship with nature and spirituality in a new exhibition, “Marie Schoeff: Amplifying the Between” at the Westmont Ridley-Tree Museum of Art from through March 26.  Schoeff’s imagery, rooted in drawing, explores the ethereal, a transcendent space in a spiritual realm. Her strong sense of physical […]

Knee Deep
By Chuck Graham   |   November 23, 2021

We walked gingerly across a teeming mudflat on a minus tide within Elkhorn Slough, located in Moss Landing and within Monterey Bay. As we glopped along the muddy banks of the slough, legions of line shore crabs scrambled into the shadows dramatically baring their pinchers in self-defense. The eel grass was exposed and laid across […]

Forces of Nature
By Chuck Graham   |   November 16, 2021

Strolling down Scorpion Canyon to the cobble beach, I was keen to see lightning strikes across the Santa Barbara Channel. From the southeast fringe of Santa Cruz Island, the beach was deserted with lightning strikes touching down around the largest isle off the California Coast. As dusk approached, the storm moved directly over Scorpion Canyon. […]

Grand Opening of the Nature Lab
By Kelly Mahan Herrick   |   November 16, 2021

Last Wednesday evening, hundreds of Montecito Union School parents, kids, teachers, staff, and members of the Montecito community came out to celebrate the grand opening of its Nature Lab, a project which has been in the works for nearly 15 years. “I want to thank the Montecito Union School board members, past and present, for […]

One with Nature: Montecito Union’s Unique Lab Making Progress
By Steven Libowitz   |   August 19, 2021

Montecito Union School’s Nature Lab, its interactive 2.5-acre space that’s beginning to take shape on the Upper Village campus, has been serving as a learning laboratory even before ground was broken on the project. The students at the enviable elementary school were a big part of the process about how to use the land adjacent […]

In Praise of Plants
By Alida Aldrich   |   August 12, 2021

It’s time to pull out the picnic basket, slip into your favorite pair of shorts, roll down the windows of the car, and head out for the beach, the park, or a mountain hike (speaking of which, the generous volunteers at the Montecito Trails Foundation publish a detailed map of our local mountain trails). This […]

‘His Legacy Lives On’: Camp Rancho Alegre Renames Road in Honor of Dave Cantin
By Nick Masuda   |   July 8, 2021

Kim Cantin remembers a time when her hard-working husband, Dave, would jet back from an international trip to make sure he didn’t miss a Troop 33 meeting — not only to join his son, Jack, but also because he understood that showing up was a needed lesson for impressionable youngsters. “He refused to miss it, […]

Native Roots
By Eileen Read   |   April 2, 2021

Sustainable landscaping doyenne Susan Van Atta is healing the local ecosystem one acre at a time… It was Susan Van Atta’s birthday just after the presidential inauguration and she wanted to spend it quietly riding her bike on a nostalgic tour through “her” Carpinteria. She set off along the paths of the Salt Marsh Reserve (she helped designed […]

Close Escape to Old California
By Chuck Graham   |   January 7, 2021

It was a trail run like no other. Three trail runners had returned from an early morning run beneath dewy, overcast skies, reporting a mountain lion sighting on the narrow single-track trail, the Coon Creek Trail of Montaña de Oro State Park, located just south of Morro Bay. The runners reported that the mountain lion […]

Navigating the NatureTrack Film Festival
By Steven Libowitz   |   October 13, 2020

The NatureTrack Film Festival began in 2018 as a way to raise funds and draw attention to the then-seven-year-old nonprofit NatureTrack Foundation, which brings schoolchildren out into nature for docent-led treks along trails in the Santa Ynez Valley. With nature now even more important during the pandemic as outdoor activity is far less conducive to […]