Docents, volunteers and supporters joined NatureTrack founder Sue Eisaguirre on May 27 at Zaca Creek Ranch to mark the organization’s 10th anniversary and “celebrate those who have contributed to the success of NatureTrack,” a spokeswoman said.
Event guests were treated to music from O.n.E. as they mingled beneath the canopy of oaks, nibbling appetizers and sipping wine and beer, visiting the resident alpacas and llamas, reading thank-you letters from schoolchildren and teachers, and watching a film of photos from the organization’s first 10 years.
Among those honored were Catalina Kett, the first recipient of the $5,000 NatureTrack Nancy Stearns Scholarship, and Sam Babcock, who was chosen to receive the Dan Conaway Docent of the Year Award for outstanding service.
Catalina graduated from Santa Ynez Valley Union High School Friday and will attend High Point University in North Carolina this fall.
Conaway's widow, Margee Lennard, presented Babcock with a hand-painted gourd containing messages of appreciation, known only to recipients, from former winners of the award.
Ten-year pins were presented to 20 volunteers and docents, and five-year pins were given to another 17.
Eisaguirre also used the occasion to announce a new program called NewTracks that will enable people who use wheelchairs or have other mobility challenges to participate in NatureTrack field trips using a Freedom Trax unit.
She said the unit quickly transforms a manual wheelchair into a battery-powered all-terrain vehicle that can traverse beach sand and trails.
Eisaguirre launched NatureTrack after working at the UCSB Sedgewick Reserve as the outreach and K-12 coordinator to provide a cost-free outdoor field trip program for all kindergarten through 12th grade students that would supplement classroom studies.
Six years later, she started the NatureTrack Film Festival to present the best international nature films and serve as a sustainable funding source for the program.
NatureTrack provided 600 students with an outdoor experience its first year and now reaches nearly 5,000 students annually, the spokeswoman said.
Since its launch, more than 25,000 students have experienced a NatureTrack docent-led hike on local trails and beaches throughout northern and southern Santa Barbara County, she said.
23 stories explaining the Central Coast's history, landscape, and traditions from Judith Dale
Judith Dale has written several columns highlighting the culture, geography and history of the Central Coast. Get better acquainted with our beautiful slice of California with this collection of her work.
Recently we had relatives visiting from Kansas. Due to COVID-19, rather than doing the usual "touristy" things such as eating out, wine tastin…
Santa Catalina Island (usually called just Catalina) is the third largest of the California Channel Islands — only Santa Cruz and Santa Rosa a…
Originally, I was only going to write about the five islands in the Channel Islands National Park. However, some military personnel stationed …
This is the third and final article in a series covering the five islands that make up the Channel Islands National Park. The three remaining …
In my last article, I discussed the Santa Barbara Channel and its islands in general. This article will focus on two of five islands in Channe…
The Santa Ynez Valley is a wonderful place for children to grow up. We have excellent schools, churches, nonprofits and sports organizations t…
A neighbor who recently moved to the Santa Ynez Valley asked me about the Santa Barbara Channel and the islands she sees off the coast. I told…
So far we are good in Santa Barbara County, but until the first major rain, we are still in danger as our last major fires were during the months of November (Cave Fire) and December (Thomas Fire).
With over 4 million acres having burned so far this year in California, we have not had any major fires in Santa Barbara County. But with all the hot weather we have had and no rain in months, we are still in danger.
Due to arson or carelessness, 430,088 acres and 701 structures burned in these fires spanning 22 years.
We have the perfect setting for fires: thousands of acres of wilderness with rugged terrain and few roads; rainy winter weather that allows grass and brush to grow, followed by months of hot, dry weather; prevailing winds as well as sundowner winds; and people, who are the cause of most fires.
This new Space Force opens the way for Vandenberg to become a spaceport that can launch not only military missiles and satellites, but private and commercial projects as well.
La Purisima Mission is the 11th of the 21 missions founded in California.
At one time, Hollister and his partners, the Dibblee Brothers, owned all the land between Refugio Beach and Point Conception. They owned all the land grants around Point Concepcion, the Ortega family’s Refugio Grant, the La Purisima Mission lands and the San Julian Ranch.
What do Foxen Canyon Road in Los Olivos, the community of Sisquoc, the American army capturing the Santa Barbara Presidio in 1846, an elementary school and the Foxen Vineyard and Winery all have in common?
Las Cruses was a small community that no longer exists, but it has an important history.
The forest contributes nearly $103.4 million annual revenue to local businesses who gain from people visiting from all over the nation to hike, bike and camp in our mountains.
We often overlook and take for granted the importance of the river to our past development and more importantly to our future development and quality of life.
This is the bookend article to looking back at Buellton during the decade of the 1920s. This article looks at the establishment of Solvang during that same time.
Judith Dale discusses the two major events in the 1920s that set the groundwork for what the city of Buellton is today.
Judith Dale looks back to 1920, offering a timeline of progress the U.S. has made over the last 100 years. In most areas such as life expectancy, industry, technology, and position in the world, the U.S. has come a long way. However, many of the social/cultural challenges the country faced in the 1920s, are still with us today.
This month marks the 215th year anniversary of the Old Mission Santa Inés, established in September of 1804. The mission was officially named …