Keeping the Wild in the Wilderness
By Chuck Graham   |   September 24, 2020

I had to admit it. I was lost and feeling a little meager, the grandeur of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR), the largest refuge in North America, was swallowing me whole. Located in northeastern Alaska, the braiding Canning River was a maze of channels that separated me from the rest of my group. 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 […]

 

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More from Montecito

Giving a Hoot
By Gretchen Lieff   |   August 13, 2020

Owls have long lived in my most favorite category. Their stoic demeanor. Their wisdom. The intensity of the screech owl’s screech, the trills and lonely melodic resonance of the great horned owl’s “hoot hoots,” and the barn owl’s hissing rasp. Twice this week the California Highway Patrol rescued owls hit by a car along Highway […]

Staying Grounded, When Everything is Up in the Air
By Ann Brode   |   August 13, 2020

A bit of uncertainty can be exciting. A script with a surprise ending has intrigue. Embracing the unknown is part of the artistic process. But when the reliable routines of everyday life have been scrambled, it’s a whole different story. Negotiating the new normal of social distancing, working at home, and Zoom classrooms has challenged […]

A Memorial Day Swim
By Irene Russo   |   August 13, 2020

The Ocean Renegades at the Miramar Things Fall Apart; the center cannot holdMere anarchy is loosed upon the world,The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywherethe ceremony of innocence is drowned;The best lack all conviction while the worstare full of passionate intensity. WB Yeats Miramar oh Miramar, you are an icon of beauty, a tribute to […]

The Nesting Ground
By Chuck Graham   |   August 6, 2020

The Santa Clara River Estuary was a graveyard of tattered driftwood, tangled kelp balls, a rotting sea lion carcass that was so putrid it could only attract a pair of turkey vultures. A high ceiling of overcast kept the early morning comfortably cool. The sand was coarse and gritty, perfect for breeding and nesting western […]

Dear Montecito: Ally Hodosy
By Stella Pierce   |   August 6, 2020

As schools around the country start to reopen and older students begin the migration back to college life, I worry about the safety of teachers and pupils alike. But a smaller, less socially conscious voice in the back of my head quietly cheers for the small freedom of leaving home. Some of us may have […]

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Bandit, Ann, and Abe
By Gretchen Lieff   |   August 6, 2020

When you’ve been quarantined for weeks and a tree falls on your house, at least you’ve got your friends, and your dog Ferocious winds tore through Montecito that night, leaving a wake of damage and power outages. Forecasters blamed a strengthening ridge of high pressure and weak offshore gradients for producing the scary and destructive […]

Walking Through It
By Mackenzie Boss   |   July 23, 2020

When I was younger, I dreaded my parents’ weekend declaration of an impending family walk. I would plead to ride my bike alongside them; to run, skip, cartwheel, anything but walk. We would (slowly) stroll along the dirt path at the nearby Ennisbrook trail and my eyes would meander towards trees that needed climbing, streams […]

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1/9 Debris Flow Rebuilding Updates
By Kelly Herrick   |   July 23, 2020

Construction concluded last week on a long-awaited repair following the 1/9 debris flow: a temporary bridge at the Cold Spring Trailhead that connects East Mountain Drive. Construction began in June to replace the bridge, and was paid for by settlement funds from Southern California Edison. The bridge will remain in place for approximately three years […]

Sheryl Crow
By Gretchen Lieff   |   July 2, 2020

I was a “Secret Garden” … “Green Mansions” kind of child. Deep forests, bright brooks, wide fields, and ocean waves beckoned my young exuberance. On the seldom occasions that an adult might be missing me, I would be found deep in the forest, grabbing minnows and crayfish from a tiny creek under the redwoods, or […]

California’s Car Camping Possibilities
By Chuck Graham   |   July 2, 2020

It’s the mobile basecamp transporting you to hidden natural wonders, where time slows down and the only set schedule moves along on its own course. You’re just along for the ride because you chose to be there, making the drive with enough provisions to see you through on your car camping excursion. All you need […]

The Wildest Place In Town
By Lynda Millner   |   June 18, 2020

The wildest place in town has to be the Santa Barbara Zoo and certainly a child’s favorite. When I moved here in the ‘70s I thought the Child estate related to children because the Zoo was there. I soon learned it had once been Lillian Child’s property. When she passed away it eventually became a […]

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 […]

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