SB Trust for Historic Preservation Presents Awards

Members and friends of SBTHP gathered on January, 28 in the Presidio Chapel to honor awardees.

This year SBTHP presented the prestigious Pearl Chase Historic Preservation and Conservation Award to Kathi Brewster for her lifetime of work as an advocate for historic preservation in Santa Barbara. Kathi’s extraordinary service to the Santa Barbara community spans more than fifty years. She helped to establish the first docent program at SBTHP and continues to volunteer as a docent. She served on SBTHP’s board of trustees and worked tirelessly on the committee charged with overseeing the restoration of the Casa de la Guerra. She has also put in countless hours at the Santa Barbara Historical Museum, and the Santa Barbara Mission Archives; served as co-coordinator of the City of Santa Barbara’s Surveys of Architectural and Historic Resources; created the Architectural Walking Tour of downtown Santa Barbara and was a founding member of the History Associates at UCSB. Santa Barbara is a richer place for her lifetime of dedication and service.

The 2012 George and Vivian Obern Preservation Stewardship Award was presented to the La Huerta Project, Old Mission Santa Barbara for their development of a volunteer-based project dedicated to preserving the art and science of mission horticulture. Through the establishment of a living repository of mission-era plants, La Huerta has developed an outdoor museum to promote the preservation and interpretation of California’s Spanish Colonial and Mexican period history. SBTHP is fortunate to have benefited from the donations of heritage plants and advice from La Huerta volunteers during the development of the interpretive gardens at El Presidio de Santa Bárbara State Historic Park. Accepting this year’s award on behalf of La Huerta Project volunteers were Tina Foss, Museum Director, Old Santa Barbara Mission and Jerry Sortomme, La Huerta Manager.

SBTHP also presented the Sue Higman Volunteer of the Year Award this year to Terease Chin. Named in honor of longtime SBTHP supporter and community activist Sue Higman, the award is given annually to an individual or individuals who have made outstanding contributions of their time to SBTHP over the course of a year. Chin serves on numerous committees including the Executive Committee, Development Committee, and the Asian American History Advisory Committee. Her involvement includes presenting at “Asianicity: Voice of Asian America,” assisting in the planning of the Asian American film series and “Presidio Pastimes,” and serving as Co-Chair for the Bella Notte fundraising event.

2012 Awardees:

  • Pearl Chase Historic Preservation and Conservation Award: Kathi Brewster
  • George and Vivian Obern Preservation Stewardship Award: La Huerta Project, Old Mission Santa Barbara
  • Sue Higman Volunteer Award: Terease Chin
  • Jim and Sue Higman Internship: Michael Orth
  • Life Honorary Director: Sheila Lodge
  • Life Honorary Member: Russell Clay Ruiz

Certificates of Appreciation:

  • Debby Aceves
  • Bank of America
  • Victoria de la Guerra Seaman
  • Dolores Johnson and Jeana Morelli
  • Harold Kroeger
  • Mike Stoker

Sponsored in part by Montecito Bank & Trust.

About Santa Barbara Trust for Historic Preservation (SBTHP)

The Santa Barbara Trust for Historic Preservation (SBTHP) works to protect, preserve, restore, reconstruct, and interpret historic sites in Santa Barbara County. Founded in 1963 by Dr. Pearl Chase and other concerned community leaders, SBTHP operates El Presidio de Santa Bárbara State Historic Park—Santa Barbara’s 18th century birthplace—under a unique agreement with California State Parks and recently purchased the neighboring building that housed Jimmy’s Oriental Gardens, providing an opportunity to interpret the history of Santa Barbara’s Asian American community in the Presidio Neighborhood. SBTHP owns and operates Casa de la Guerra, the 1820s home of Presidio Comandante José de la Guerra and his family—the restored home is now a museum featuring original furnishings and rotating exhibits. Recently, SBTHP signed an agreement with State Parks to manage and develop the Santa Inés Mission Mills, located near the town of Solvang, as a future California State Park. SBTHP was awarded the 2011 Trustees’ Emeritus Award for Excellence in the Stewardship of Historic Sites by the National Trust for Historic Preservation. With the help of continuing education programs and exhibits, SBTHP strives to encourage community involvement and foster an appreciation for Santa Barbara County’s distinct history. Learn more at


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