To kick off Creek Week this coming September 17-24, the City of Goleta launched a new app for three self-guided tours of bodies of water in and around the city, along with a Creek Week Art Contest. This Saturday, September 17, is also Coastal Cleanup Day in locations that include Goleta/Isla Vista, Carpinteria, and Lompoc. Creek Week is an annual celebration of Santa Barbara County’s creeks, watersheds, and ocean, with events hosted to promote awareness around facets of the aquatic environment.
The Goleta self-guided tours act as a way to connect more residents to some of the special natural features of the area and are located at Ellwood/Devereux, Haskell’s Beach, and Lake Los Carneros. The web app displays a satellite image of the area with markers for you to follow. As you get to each marker, you can read about the specific spot you’re looking at for more context with the information provided on the app.
The app for Goleta’s self-guided tours are available as a web app best used on a mobile device and has not yet been published on the Apple App Store and Google Play Store. They can be accessed here: https://cityofgoleta.stqry.app/.
This past week, I checked out the tours for Ellwood/Devereux and the Haskell’s/Chumash. With 12 stops, the Ellwood/Devereux tour is located on the side of Storke Road near the Sierra Madre villages, and coincides with the Wells-Elings Marsh Trails. It takes you around the Devereux Slough, made up of lush wetlands with a long history: from being inhabited by the Chumash, to later being used by European colonizers who began more “intensive use of the land,” to then later being developed as a golf course. The natural consequences of that decision took shape as a lot of flooding, culminating in conservation efforts beginning in 2017, with the spot now being preserved as a thriving habitat for local vegetation and wildlife, making it a great place to explore.
The Haskell’s/Chumash tour focuses on the many plants used by the Chumash people for varied purposes on a trail along the edge of Haskell’s Beach. For example, qimš, also known as California hummingbird sage, was featured on the trail and can be used as tea or medicine for the body during a cold or flu, according to Chumash tradition. The tour is around a quarter mile with 15 stops and eventually leads you to the serene sands of Haskell’s Beach.
Another special feature of Creek Week this year is the Art Contest hosted by the Goleta Valley Library, which is accepting submissions for original artwork inspired by the city’s creeks, watersheds, and ocean through the extended deadline of Tuesday, September 20 at 5 p.m. The Coastal Cleanup Day is September 17 from 9 a.m.-noon at dozens of locations from Tajiguas Beach and Santa Rita Hills to Jelly Bowl and East Beach’s volleyball courts. At each spot, volunteers will pick up litter to protect and preserve our beaches, creeks, and inland areas. For more information, visit Explore Ecology’s Coastal Cleanup Day signup page.