Tag archives: nature

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 […]

The Cure for Nature Deficit Disorder
By Alida Aldrich   |   October 1, 2020

An award-winning, published landscape designer, with over two decades of experience, Alida is well known for designing new gardens, as well as restoring landmark gardens throughout Montecito and Santa Barbara. In the spring of 2021, Alida will be teaching a class in The Principals of Landscape Design through Santa Barbara City College. Between masks, fires, […]

Mind and Body in Sync, While You Walk
By Michelle Ebbin   |   September 3, 2020

After nearly 16 years living in Montecito, not a day goes by when I don’t think how lucky we are to live in such a special place. Since quarantine and now as my kids have started three different schools online from their bedrooms, never have I been more appreciative of our precious beaches where I […]

Digging In
By Chuck Graham   |   August 20, 2020

The nameless dirt road turned out to be a nighttime buffet for a squadron of opportunistic burrowing owls. It was all about the crickets and grasshoppers, a menagerie of entomology living in the tall grasses and the cunning eight-inch-tall owls gobbling down as many as they could before taking a break. As I inched forward […]

Newtified
By Chuck Graham   |   June 18, 2020

The creeks were flowing, spilling over a configuration of cobble that snaked their way to the Santa Clara River. As water pooled up and calmed California newts (Taricha torosa) gathered, the only endemic salamander species in the Golden State. As I rock-hopped upstream, I found one of the orange-bellied newts out of the water, out […]

Nature Versus Nurture
By Kyle Slavin   |   June 4, 2020

Which came first, a town’s culture, or the people who inspired it? Two-and-a-half lifetimes ago, in 2012, my newly-minted fiancée and I were wedged in a one-bedroom apartment on the Mesa, utterly broke and enthusiastically optimistic. Those fresh-faced, naïve versions of ourselves would eat trail mix and drink wine on our utter lack of living […]

SBCC SEL in Cyberspace
By Steven Libowitz   |   April 2, 2020

What with all the online learning taking place in colleges, universities, and other educational institutions, it may not seem all that revolutionary that Santa Barbara City College’s School of Extended Learning is embracing the internet. Indeed, with the COVID-19 crisis, there was no choice but to go virtual. What is rather exciting is the breadth […]

Social Distancing Now Mandatory on Montecito’s Trails
By Nick Schou   |   March 26, 2020

Despite mounting fears over the COVID-19, aka the “coronavirus,” on March 24, the U.S. Forest Service officially declared that the extensive trail network in the hills above Montecito will remain open for recreational activities until further notice. The news came as a relief to Ashlee Mayfield, president of the Montecito Trail Foundation (MTF), in part […]