Founded in 1926, The Santa Barbara Botanic Garden (aka the Garden) is the nation’s first botanic garden dedicated solely to native plants. Their mission is “to conserve California native plants and habitats for the health and well-being of people and the planet.” They do this through the gardens, research and education.
The work of the Garden covers Santa Barbara, Monterey and Kern counties as well as the Channel Islands. Research and education efforts include exploring and documenting California’s plant and lichen biodiversity, protecting California’s rarest plants and creating a conservation seed bank to safeguard against plant extinction, restoring habitats, advocating for plants, and educating tomorrow’s scientists with offerings at local universities and on the Garden grounds.
There are also educational programs at the Garden for school groups, families, and community scientists who are volunteers that help gather data in the field. If you’re interested in getting your own garden started (and you live in California) there are resources on gardening with native plants and how to choose plants that are water wise. If you live in the Santa Barbara area you can sign up for classes and events here.
And how has this work helped? According to the 2019 impact statement the Garden welcomed 78,368 visitors, held 113 classes, mentored 19 student interns, planted 3,709 plants and founded the first vascular plant tissue bank in California to name just a few of their accomplishments.
If you want to experience all the Garden has to offer, plan to visit in person. However, no matter where you live, you can explore the Garden online and visit the image gallery to see over 50,000 photos from the archives.
Santa Barbara locals can get involved with the Garden by volunteering and the rest of us can show our support with a donation and by following their social media. Like their Facebook page and follow them on Instagram. I’m going to follow through on this sudden urge I have to water my plants and I’ll see you next week for another Feel Good Friday.