Over 20,000 Students!

In just nine months, Explore Ecology Environmental Educators had the opportunity to work with students from all over Santa Barbara County. Their goal? To inspire kids to become better environmental stewards.

Now that the school year has come to an end, our Education Director Mariana Cruz filled us in on what her staff accomplished in 2014.

Mariana Cruz , Explore Ecology Education Director

Mariana Cruz , Explore Ecology Education Director

“Explore Ecology lessons focus on water quality, marine debris prevention, waste reduction, composting and natural resources.  As a result of these lessons 20,000 students spent many hours outside at local beaches and creeks, made Art From Scrap projects from reuse materials, and had the opportunity to learn about decomposition and compost! We are looking forward to another successful year and have started taking reservations for the fall.”

Click Here to email  Mariana Cruz to schedule a field trip or call (805) 884-0459 x16 for information on our Free Education Services.

 

Posted in Environmental Education, Explore Ecology, Science Exploration | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

How to Grow a Beautiful Garden This Summer- Workshop at Explore Ecology

vegetables-790022_1920Are you wondering how to keep your garden healthy and happy during the summer? How to ensure that your plants thrive in spite of the drought? Oscar Carmona, owner of Healing Grounds Nursery, has spent the last 25 years helping connect people, plants, and the planet. Oscar is teaching a Summertime Gardening Workshop on Saturday, July 18th at Explore Ecology in Downtown Santa Barbara. From 3:00 – 4:00 pm, Oscar will be sharing how he produces beautiful and nutritionally-rich plants year-round.

We caught up with Oscar and asked him a few questions about gardening.

OCarmonaExplore Ecology (EE): Oscar, what are some tips that you would like to share with people about Summertime Gardening?

Oscar Carmona (OC): Although we enjoy year round gardening opportunities here in Santa Barbara, summertime is the best time of year to maintain a garden.  An important tip is to know how to water effectively so as not to waste water. Mulch well, at least 3 inches of organic material over the soil surface to keep the moisture in.  Feed your plants once a week with a combination of Fish emulsion and Kelp so keep your plants growing well.

EE: Should people keep watering their trees, plants and yards now that we are in a drought? 

OC: I think it’s important to be aware of how water is used generally.  For example, taking long showers may be more wasteful than taking shorter ones and using some of that saved water to give to your veggie garden. Some trees are suffering at this time due to lack of water. Additionally, at our house we use a five gallon bucket to catch the shower water as it warms up before we step in.  This provides water for trees and shrubs that might not otherwise get a drink.  Also, most natives can get by with little or no water.  And of course lawns are not a very good use of our limited water.

EE: What are some good plants to grow right now?

OC: Green beans, Summer and Winter Squash varieties, Tomatoes, Peppers and Cucumbers are some of the veggies that grow well now.

EE: How do you prepare the soil for planting?

OC: Make sure to add a good amount of compost to the soil before planting.  Mineral additives such as rock dust are also a good idea.  You only need to prepare the root zone, two feet, for planting.  Work the soil evenly and do not step on the newly prepared area as the plants will thrive when they are able to easily grow their roots in open, loose soil.

EE: Why do you grow organically?

OC: Growing organically means avoiding chemical fertilizers and pesticides that kill important beneficial soil micro organisms that are essential to healthy plant growth.  It also means feeding the soil with good amount of compost and other essential nutrients so that the soil microbiology and the plants are well nourished.  This way the plants will be more resistant to disease and will also contain the highest nutritional content possible.

EE: What can people expect  to learn at your workshops?

OC: Workshop attendees will come away with a good understanding of everything they need to know about what to plant now and good gardening strategies to enable them to see a successful and abundant harvest!  Workshop attendees will benefit from my 35 plus years of organic gardening and teaching experience here in Santa Barbara.  There will also be a large assortment of Healing Grounds plants and compost for sale after the workshop!

The cost of the workshop is $10.00. Get your tickets online at EBrite (click here) or at the door. Explore Ecology is located above the Art From Scrap Creative Reuse Store at 302 East Cota Street in Santa Barbara.

Posted in Environmental Education, Explore Ecology | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Call to Artists for Lost in Scrap Multimedia Fundraiser

maps 3Maps draw boundaries. They separate and delineate. Maps can represent the collective journey or a personal quest. Maps show us where we are going and where we have been. Maps draw lines between Us and Them and at the same time show us how to find one another and the places we love.

Submit your work to Art From Scrap’s Fundraiser Lost in Scrap. The 2015 Challenge is Maps.  Artists are challenged to incorporate a map into their artwork and as many objects and materials as they like. Art can be in any media: assemblage, collage, photography, paint, video, sculpture, printmaking, etc.

From July 14 to August 22, artists can come into the Art From Scrap Creative Reuse Store to collect their entry form and to pay a $15.00 entry fee. Included in the fee are a $5.00 credit to the AFS Creative Reuse Store, a map, and admission to the culminating fundraiser on October 10th. Participation is open to artists, aged 16 and up. Artists can choose from a wide selection of maps at AFS or use their own.

Completed artwork must be delivered to the AFS Gallery at 302 East Cota Street in downtown Santa Barbara on Tuesday, August 25, between 10:00 am and 6:00 pm.

Selected artwork will be exhibited at the AFS Gallery from August 29 – October 10. Gallery Hours are Tuesday – Friday 11:00 am to 5:00 pm and Saturday– 10:00 am to 4:00 pm. Visitors to the show will be able to bid on the artwork through a silent auction. 75% of art sales will benefit Art From Scrap’s Art and Educational programs. Artists can also elect to donate all proceeds to Art From Scrap.

The public is invited to the Lost In Scrap Reception, Party, and Fundraiser on Saturday, October 10 from 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm for a festive evening of art, music, food, and some exciting creative surprises. Stay tuned to learn more!

 Click Here to see Flyer

Posted in Art Discovery, Art in Santa Barbara | Tagged | Leave a comment

Summer Fun at Explore Ecology Camps

Does your child love to be outside exploring nature, creating art, cooking, and being around kids with similar interests?

IMG_5178

Check out  Explore Ecology’s  Summer Camp. We’ve been offering camps for over 15 years and know what makes kids happy campers! This summer we are offering four sessions of camps.

IMG_5222

Ecology Explorers Camp is an exciting and educational week of fun-filled activities at the Watershed Resource Center.

Copy of WRC 2012 008

Our experienced staff of environmental educators will lead students in activities that include beach and nature explorations, environmental concept games, cooking, nature crafts, tie-dye, and more! Snacks included.
Camp Dates: June 22 – 26, July 20 – 24, 2015

Natural Artists Camp is held at Art From Scrap and the Watershed Resource Center.

AFS Art Workshop 045(1)
Join us for a week of connectedness with nature and creativity from within. Students will work with local artists and create beautiful art at the Watershed Resource Center and Art from Scrap. Our experienced staff of environmental and art educators will inspire students to create nature-inspired art. Snacks included.
Camp Dates: July 6 – 10, 2015

How’s it Growing? Garden Camp connects students to the natural world at the Watershed Resource Center and Explore Ecology’s School Gardens.

DSC03010

Our experienced Environmental and Garden Educators will lead students in garden explorations, games, and activities that excite students and inspire them to learn more about organic gardening and eating healthy food! Snacks included.
Camp Dates: August 3 – 7 , 2015

To sign up contact our Education Director Mariana Cruz at mariana@exploreecology.orgor (805) 884-0459 x16

 

Posted in Art Discovery, Art in Santa Barbara, Environmental Education, Explore Ecology, Science Exploration, Watershed Resource Center | Leave a comment

Celebrating the Artists of Summer Solstice at Art Opening and Party

Meet the artists of Solstice at the art opening and party for the Spirit of Solstice art exhibition on Friday, May 29th, from 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm  at the Art From Scrap Gallery at 302 East Cota in downtown Santa Barbara. Featuring the work of past and current Artists-in-Residence at Santa Barbara’s Solstice Workshop, this exhibition celebrates the creative spirit of Solstice. The Solstice Parade and Festival is the largest arts event in Santa Barbara County, drawing over 100,000 spectators from around the world.

The Spirit of Solstice exhibition includes costumes, puppets, and memorabilia from past parades as well as new art from the creative geniuses that make this Santa Barbara tradition come alive each  year. Artists include: Ann Chevrefils, Hathor Hammett, Mary Price, Diane Arnold, Lark Batteau, Laura Smith, Claire Frandsen, Stacie Bouffard, Claudia Bratton, and Pali X Mano. This multimedia show features masks, headdresses, ceramics, papier-mâché sculptures, assemblage, paintings, and one of Pali X Mano’s iconic inflatable sculptures.

dragonhead

Dragon Head by Stacie Bouffard

Stacie Bouffard, President of the Board of Summer Solstice says, “Summer Solstice is filled with an incredible, magical, creative spirit that is shared with the community on one summer day.  Behind the scenes of the parade is a group of very talented artists. Many who have been with Solstice for years. What do these artists do the rest of the year? They do what they love, which is create art!”

Ceramic Sculpture by Claire Frandson

Ceramic Sculpture by Claire Frandson

Join us for art, food, live music, and festivities. Enjoy music and a drum circle with the Drummers of Solstice. Make a Shaker or Maraca at our Art From Scrap table to bring to the parade. The Spirit of Solstice is a wonderful opportunity to meet the artists who work so hard to make Summer Solstice the amazing event it is.

Save the date! The Spirit of Solstice opens at the Art From Scrap Gallery on Friday, May 29th, from 6:00-8:00 pm and will hang in the AFS Gallery through June 15th, 2015.

Posted in Art Discovery, Art in Santa Barbara, Community Learning Projects, Explore Ecology | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Kids Take Action and Replace Disposable Cups at Their School

Lauren Thal cares about kids and the environment. A longtime participant in our Flows to the Ocean (FTO) Marine Debris Prevention program, Lauren is a 4th grade teacher at Franklin Elementary.  After learning about watersheds, waste reduction, and how plastic trash impacts sea life and ocean health, Lauren’s class decided to tackle the issue of disposable plastic cups at their school. They were shocked to learn that over 1,000 cups were used and disposed of every day!  As their year end project, Laurens’ class raised money to purchase a dishwasher and durable cups for the cafeteria.

Thal students

A Smart Choice- Reusable Cups Instead of Disposable

Lauren is now being honored for this major achievement with the City of Santa Barbara’s  Spirit of Service Award. Lauren says,”I was nominated for making an environmental impact on kids. I think we should try and make this a model for all elementary schools. All they need is a dishwasher and cups!”

thal students 3

Students in Action

Flows To The Ocean (FTO) is a year long program that educates students about litter’s impact on the ocean.  Since an estimated 80-85% of marine debris comes from the land, FTO students learn how their actions on land affect our waterways.

FTO consists of the Creek Kids Series which is two in class lessons and a field trip to the Watershed Resource Center and a local creek. These are followed by an Waste Reduction class.  The FTO program culminates in a trip to Santa Cruz Island where students conduct a beach clean up, go on hikes, and learn how plastic litter is affecting wildlife.

FTO Students on Santa Cruz Island

FTO Students on Santa Cruz Island

Each class that participates in FTO is required to do a project that focuses on reducing marine debris by teaching others how to replace disposable plastic products with durable items.

If you’d like to support these young environmentalists on their quest to make the ocean a cleaner place join us for free pizza and ice cream, at this year’s Flows To The Ocean Family Night on Wednesday May 20th at the Watershed Resource Center at Arroyo Burro Beach.

To learn more about the Lauren’s project, click here>

Posted in Explore Ecology | Leave a comment