Santa Barbara: Many people think of Santa Barbara as the birthplace of the modern environmental movement. The infamous 1969 oil spill in the Santa Barbara Channel motivated citizens to become activists, sparked international outrage, and spurred the passing of environmental legislature. Explore Ecology is happy to report that nearly fifty years later, the environmental movement is alive and well in Santa Barbara County, as evidenced by the number of nominations received for the this year’s Environmental Stewardship Awards.
The goal of the 2017 Awards is to highlight community members who love the environment and who have made a difference in a school, a classroom, or in the community. Nominations were accepted for teachers, classes, and individual students who affect positive change, commit to helping the environment, and inspire others in Santa Barbara County.
The winners of the 2017 Explore Ecology Environmental Stewardship Awards are:
Izzie Hamm, Student Award
Jan Silk, Teacher Award
Mrs. Julie Horton’s 5/6 Grade Scholars, Class Award
Izzie Hamm is a 6th Grader at Montecito Union School. Izzie has been a volunteer docent at the Sea Center since she was in fourth grade, where she teaches visitors about Santa Barbara’s marine life. Her interest began when she was very young, during family tide pooling trips. Izzie wants to be a marine biologist.
Izzie says, “I always look forward to learning new things about the ocean and sharing what I know. If people knew more about how important the ocean is, maybe they’d care more about it and help protect it. And that’s part of the reason why I volunteer at the Sea Center, to encourage people to love the ocean and environment as much as I do.”
Jan Silk is a 2nd/3rd Grade Teacher at Carpinteria Family School. Jan was recognized for her ability to “inspire students to care for, protect, and preserve the environment.”
Jan Silk says, “As a teacher at Carpinteria Family School, I have discovered that children are naturally curious and excited stewards of the earth and its precious resources. By allowing my passion of caring for the earth to lead my teaching, I find, that along with my students, we can inspire change, a fresh outlook, and a motivation to protect what we love.”
The Class Award goes to Mrs.Julie Horton’s 5th/6th Grade class at La Canada Elementary in Lompoc.
Mrs. Horton’s class was nomimated because of their enthusiasm and hard work in bringing their school garden back from a “weed patch.”
Mrs. Horton says, “At times, the work seemed larger than all of us, but they kept at it. They’ve taken ownership and pride in the re-creation of our school garden.”
The winners were honored at the Earth Day Festival on Saturday, April 22. They received their awards from Santa Barbara’s newest (and wettest) Super Hero Creekman.