February 5, 2023
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Botanical Garden grows donations, announces new staff


The Santa Barbara Botanical Gardens raised nearly $15 million through its Seed the Future campaign.

The funds are already being used to expand and renovate the gardens. The new brick-and-mortar facilities will help bolster conservation work, improve education and keep the gardens sustainable into the future. Some early gifts to the campaign are already being used to fund construction, research and preservation.

The center is consolidating research, administration and exhibition areas with a laboratory space, expanded herbarium and a rare plant seed bank. The new building boasts energy-efficient designs including a photovoltaic panel that will produce most of the annual power needed on-site.

The building will also have a built-in storm water management system that will be used to offset garden irrigation. The new facility is expected to achieve a LEED gold certification. The Pritzlaff Conservation Center is expected to be complete in 2016.

Thanks to the fundraising effort, the Gardens organization was also able to create its first endowed position. A new systematist will continue the site’s work in plant taxonomy and help with DNA-based research. The new funding helps fill the gap in the budget for basic research as federal support has decreased over the years.

Expanded classrooms and the renovation of some existing buildings are also a part of the overhaul. Five gardens are currently being planted or renovated including the home demonstration garden, the historic meadow and the Woodland Dell display. New to the Gardens will be the Island Section and the Centennial Maze, which commemorates the Garden Club of Santa Barbara’s 100th anniversary.

Calling all heroes

The American Red Cross of Santa Barbara is seeking local hero nominations for its annual Hero’s Event breakfast on May 14.

The annual fundraiser recognizes local heroes in the Santa Barbara area that have helped people in the community through a selfless act of courage. The event seeks to honor ordinary people who may have helped save a life, performed an extraordinary act of compassion or demonstrated an exceptional spirit of giving.

There are several categories for heroes including education, good samaritan, first responder, medical professional, military, corporate and youth.

The deadline to nominate a hero is Feb. 14. Go to www.redcross.org/santabarbaraheros to submit a nomination. To purchase tickets or to learn about sponsorship, contact Loren Leidinger Avila at loren.avila@redcross.org or call (805) 687-1331.

Bet big on youth

The Boys & Girls Club of Simi Valley is hosting an “All In For Kids” casino night and Texas Hold-‘em poker tournament on Feb. 7 at the Lost Canyons Golf Club.

Proceeds from the fundraising event will go toward educational, mentorship and scholarship programs for kids at Simi’s Boys & Girls Club.

Games at the event will included Blackjack, Roulette and Craps. Attendees will also have an opportunity to enter the poker tournament. A donation of $50 for general admission includes a small casino buffet, casino games, prize drawings and a live band. An additional $70 donations gets players in the poker tournament.

The event is sponsored by Aaron Thomas & Associates, Union Bank, Simi Pacific Building Materials, Dukes Wealth Management, Lost Canyons and Sangoya. To RSVP or for more information call the club at (805) 527-4437 or email bgcofsv@bgcsimi.com.

Mentoring Month

The Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors recently recognized Big Brothers Big Sisters of Santa Barbara County for their work in mentoring at-risk youth, declaring January 2015 as Mentoring Month.

As part of the 14th Annual National Mentoring Month and its Start Something Big campaign, Big Brothers Big Sisters is looking to add 30 local mentors and 30 local sponsors in 30 days. Go to sbbigs.org for more information.

Chill out for a cause

On Feb. 28 the Special Olympics Southern California is hosting its 2015 Polar Plunge at Leadbetter Beach in Santa Barbara.

The organization encourages athletes, companies, community groups, law enforcement, firefighters and supports of all kinds to dive in the winter cold waters. Each “plunger” is expected to raise a minimum of $50 to participate, and corporate sponsorships are available.

The funds raised will go toward helping Special Olympics athletes. The Polar Plunge is one of the ways the Special Olympics organization is able to offer free year-round sports training and competition for adults and children with mental disabilities. For more information contact Gina Carbajal at gcarbajal@sosc.org or call (805) 884-1516 ext. 103.