Explore Ecology Encourages Creative Thinking Through Hands-on Science Education and Art Discovery
Residents of Santa Barbara benefit when creeks, beaches and the ocean are clean and healthy and when waste is managed properly. The landfill is filling up and waste diversion/reduction is a must. The issues of disposable products, marine debris, and ocean pollution will be with us for decades.
“This is the best day of my life!” Oscar, age 8, exclaimed as he watched a pod of dolphins race the boat on the way back from a Beach Clean Up at Santa Cruz Island. Oscar was able to travel to the island as a student in the Flows to the Ocean project, just one of many classes taught by Explore Ecology, a Santa Barbara, California-based environmental education and arts nonprofit.
Every year, over 14,000 students learn how to be greener citizens and creative thinkers through Explore Ecology which teaches a wide array of classes to area youth, grades K-12 and adults. Lesson and field trip topics include: Waste Reduction: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Composting, School Gardens, and Water Quality. Elementary school children participating in Explore Ecology’s environmental education programs learn how their actions affect the environment.
Explore Ecology aims to increase awareness among students that everything is connected and that they can make a positive difference. Many students have expressed that they feel hopeless about the state of the environment and that they don’t spend much time in nature. Environmental Educator Lindsay Johnson, who has been with the program since 2004, believes that the wide range of classes taught by Explore Ecology helps area students become empowered and responsible environmental stewards. “Students leave our classes feeling hopeful; knowing they can affect positive change through their everyday actions.” Johnson continues, “I often walk down the streets of Santa Barbara and am recognized by students. Many of them are excited to share with me the lifestyle changes they and their families have made as a result of their participation in our classes. One 4th grade student flagged me down on the beach the other day to show me the handful of plastic litter that he had picked up during his beach walk. I love my job!”
As part of its environmental education programs, Explore Ecology manages the South Coast Watershed Resource Center (WRC), a site for school and community education programs. On field trips to the WRC, students learn about the value of local watersheds, sources of and solutions to water pollution, and the effect of plastic debris in the ocean. Students also participate in beach clean ups and have picked up thousands of pieces of trash. Explore Ecology also provides hands-on gardening and composting lessons to public and private schools. Explore Ecology educators have taught composting to over 18,000 Santa Barbara County students.
Besides providing free classes to public and private schools throughout Santa Barbara County, Explore Ecology offers a materials exchange program, ReUse Store, and art program called Art From Scrap. Over 250 tons of potential trash have been diverted from the landfill over the past 20 years by the ReUse Store. Many schools have benefited from the AFS Free School Materials Program that has helped to incorporate the concept of reuse into schools.
More About This Charity
Explore Ecology/Art From Scrap
Explore Ecology empowers people to protect and preserve the environment. Our programs combine environmental awareness and artistic creativity allowing participants to acquire the knowledge, values and skills necessary to effect positive environmental change; expand their critical thinking and problem solving skills; understand the importance of individual choices and actions in the process of making change; and participate in community projects that improve the environment.
- This Achievement raised $285,6000
- This charity raised $511,832 in the past year
- This Achievement helped over 14,000 people
- This charity helped over 30,000 people in the past year
- Over 14,000 Santa Barbara County students participated in our hands-on education programs learning how they can make a difference.