The History of Explore Ecology

Beginning With Art From Scrap

Explore Ecology delivers a variety of environmental programs to enhance the understanding of the connections between people and their environment, and to encourage creative thinking through hands-on science education and art discovery. Explore Ecology is the culmination of years of evolution of the Art From Scrap program.

Art From Scrap started in 1990 as a volunteer effort by a group of Santa Barbara parents concerned about the lack of funding for art programs in the schools. At the same time, the State of California passed AB939, a bill that implemented planning to reduce, reuse and recycle trash to the maximum extent possible. With community support, including the donation of warehouse space by the City of Santa Barbara and an umbrella agreement with the Santa Barbara County Education Office, AFS brought art and reuse together. In 1993 AFS obtained its own tax-exempt status and in 1995 became a program of the Community Environmental Council. AFS disengaged from CEC in 2006, to once again become our own non-profit corporation.

Over the years Art From Scrap’s programs expanded to include a ReUse retail store that has partnered with hundreds of local businesses to keep tons of materials out of the landfill, a large community arts program, and an extensive environmental education program that includes the Watershed Resource Center.

As Art From Scrap matured, staff and board decided that we had outgrown our name. Although environmental education had become the cornerstone of our mission, Art From Scrap was mainly identified as an arts organization. To help facilitate a greater understanding of what we do, the decision was made to rename the organization Explore Ecology – while keeping Art From Scrap as one of our main programs. AFS will still deliver all of the well known and much loved ReUse store and art programs that the community has come to rely on.

Now, as Explore Ecology, we will continue to empower people to protect and preserve the environment – through programs that combine environmental awareness and artistic creativity - allowing participants to acquire the knowledge, values and skills necessary to effect positive environmental change; expand their critical thinking and problem solving skills; understand the importance of individual choices and actions in the process of making change; and participate in community projects that improve the environment.

Board of Directors

Ashley W. Hollister, President
Darcy Bradley, Secretary
James Cunningham
Scott Estby
Michael Hamman
Joanne Hollister
Simon Kiefer
Kathy Snow
Zahra Nahar-Moore
Susan Tompkins


Lindsay Johnson, Executive Director, lindsay(at), x14
Melissa Brooks, Development Director, melissa(at) x17
Jill Cloutier, PR/Outreach Director, jill(at), x13
Mariana Cruz, Education Director, mariana(at), x16
Caroline Bargo, Environmental Educator, caroline(at), x18
Bianca Pisano, Environmental Educator, bianca(at), x18
Carol Rosen, ReUse Store Staff
Tajo McBurnie, ReUse Store Staff
Ashley Greene, Public Outreach Coordinator, agreene(at)
Alex Bereda, School Garden Program Director, alex(at) cell: 310 975-4256

Telephone: (805) 884-0459 (extensions listed above)