Santa Barbara Parks and Recreation Commission Honors Volunteer Groups

At each monthly meeting, the Santa Barbara Parks and Recreation Commission recognizes community organizations and individuals who have supported projects and programs of the Parks & Recreation Department with their time, treasure and/or talents.

On Dec. 14, the commission recognized three separate efforts: the Santa Barbara Master Gardeners for their installation and maintenance of the Santa Barbara Golf Club Butterfly Garden; Kyle Kovacs, Eagle Scout, for his donation of 10 bat boxes to the Parks Department; and Carol Bornstein, Ricardo Castellanos and Karen Christman for their many years of volunteer service on the Street Tree Advisory Committee.

In September 2011, Lynn Kirby, Master Gardener and avid golfer, contacted Santa Barbara Golf Club with a proposal to plant and maintain a butterfly garden on the 11th hole tee box. After several discussions with the golf course manager, Kirby finalized design plans and selected a variety of native plants that naturally attract butterflies and hummingbirds. Some of the native plants found in the butterfly garden include white and purple lantana, Mexican sage, sweet pea shrub and lavender. Not more than five minutes after installation was complete, hummingbirds and butterflies began to descend on the garden.

The public’s reaction to the garden has been so overwhelmingly positive that more butterfly gardens throughout the golf course will be added in the spring. If it were not for the vision and support of the Santa Barbara Master Gardener program, this wonderful addition to Santa Barbara Golf Club could not have happened.

Kovacs, an Eagle Scout candidate, contacted the Parks Department in March with an offer to complete an Eagle Scout project to benefit the department. After meeting with the parks manager, a decision was made to construct five bat boxes. Kovacs surprised staff by making 10 bat boxes. He researched the design and fabrication of the bat boxes and completed his project in July of this year.

The bat boxes will be installed at the Andrée Clark Bird Refuge and other open space parks.

Kovacs was recognized for his offer to build the bat boxes to benefit the parks, his positive attitude, and successful completion of the project, and was also congratulated on receiving Eagle Scout status.

Bornstein has served on the Street Tree Advisory Committee since December 1999, Castellanos has served since July 2006 and Christman has served since December 2006. All three members are unable to continue their service because of new professional and personal obligations.

STAC members dedicate many hours of expertise to the preservation of the city’s urban forest. The STAC reviews an average of 45 tree removal applications per year, and provides recommendations on tree issues associated with city improvement projects. Some recent projects include the Tree Preservation Ordinance Update, the West Downtown Pedestrian Project, Library Plaza improvements, De la Guerra Plaza improvements and Upper State Street tree designations. Of particular note, is the work effort over 18 special meetings to develop new tree designations for Upper State Street.

The department expressed its sincere appreciation for the significant contributions of Bornstein, Castellanos and Christman in the preservation of the city’s urban forest, and wished them well in their new endeavors.

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