The New Leaf, Spring, 2023 Santa Barbara Beautiful

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2023 Board of Directors



Kerry Methner

Treasurer/CFO, VP

Susan Bradley

Vice President

Marcella Simmons

Vice President

Stephanie Williams


Lucrezia DeLeon


Jacqueline Dyson

David Gress

Penny Haberman

Christine Holland

Lori Kari

Kate Kurlas

JoAnn Mermis

Ebony Ross

Caroline Rutledge

Jeffrey Sipress

Leslee Sipress

Nathan Slack

Mark Whitehurst

The New Leaf


GREETINGS from the Santa Barbara Beautiful 2023 Board of Directors!

We are pleased to announce that in addition to our regular arbor day events and tree and art & culture grants & sponsorship funding, the organization is in the midst of planning for the 2023 Annual Awards which will take place on Sunday, October 1st with a theme of Rooted in Beauty.

Held at the Music Academy, expect the beauty of the local, great food, wine, and live music and the opportunity to see some of the wonderful projects finished recently

by your friends, neighbors, and community.

Nominations are now open for awards in six categories. (You have until June to get yours in.)

Please keep reading and find the nomination form below or find it on our website under awards.

All the best to each of you as the year continues to unfold.

Santa Barbara Beautiful 805-965-8867 A 501(c)(3) Corporation Tax ID# 23-7055360
2023 Board of Directors
Photo by Jeffrey Sipress

2023 NOMINATION FORM: Santa Barbara Beautiful Annual Awards

Santa Barbara Beautiful is now soliciting nominations in six categories for their 59th Annual Awards program which takes place on October 1, 2023.

Each of the last 50+ years, Santa Barbara Beautiful has called on our community to recognize and appreciate their neighbors who work to build on the city’s natural beauty. At the Annual Awards, the results of their beautification efforts are recognized.

Property award categories have been adapted to meet the real and growing importance of climate change and the need for environmental stewardship.



1. Art in Public Places ~ Murals, Sculpture, etc... (Hugh & Marjorie Petersen Award for Art in Public Places)

2. Architectural Feature ~ (one feature only) ie: Fountain, Decorative Tile, Stonework, Ironwork, Rock Formation, Gate, Tower... be specific...

3. Single Family Home, Small Lot (<1/2 acre) ~ How does it fit in or enhance the streetscape, neighborhood? Any sustainable building/landscaping elements?

4. Single Family Home, Large Lot (>1/2 acre) ~ How does it fit in or enhance the streetscape, neighborhood? Any sustainable building/landscaping elements?

5. Commercial Building ~ (Public Buildings, Hotels, B&Bs, Mixed Use): How does it fit in or enhance the streetscape, neighborhood, community? What sustainable elements were incorporated?

6. Commercial Sign ~ Materials used, unique creative design, effectiveness.

Save the Date: October 1st Rooted

in Beauty


• Entries must be visible from the street or via public access.

• Completed projects within the limits of Ortega Ridge Road to Turnpike Road.

• Properties within ZIP CODES: 93101


• EMAIL to:

• MAIL to: Santa Barbara Beautiful, P.O. Box 2024, Santa Barbara, CA 93120



Email: Learn more about Santa Barbara Beautiful at:

Category(s) (required):
Property Owner or Business Name:
What makes this a winning nomination?
Submitted by: Telephone/email: For a fillable pdf visit: 2
Address (required): 2. ZIP (required): 3.

Aya Al Sabeh Earns Best of Show Award in Grandparent Portrait Exhibition


SHOW, a biennial event, has become the signature exhibition for the Student Art Fund. Student artists in public junior high and high schools from Santa Barbara, Carpinteria, and Goleta pay tribute to their grandparents and significant elders by creating drawings, paintings, sculptures, and photographs that capture their portrait. The show originated in 2009 by members of the SBAA Student Art Fund Committee. Grandparent portraits were a regular part of founder Audie Love’s class curriculum at Dos Pueblos High School. When he heard that a student’s portrait had been prominently displayed at a memorial service, he was inspired to create a venue for the entire community to experience the significance of these portraits.

The 2023 Grandparent Portrait Show will be on display at the Faulkner Gallery at the Santa Barbara Public Library at 40 E. Anapamu Street,

through April 27th. The exhibit is sponsored by grants from the Santa Barbara County Arts Council and Santa Barbara Beautiful, and Awards sponsored by twelve donors.

The Best of Show Award, sponsored by Santa Barbara Beautiful, went to Aya Al Sabeh, a senior in Kevin Gleason’s art class at Dos Pueblos High School. Aya and her family from her mother’s side of eleven brothers and sisters are the only ones to have moved to the USA. Most of the rest of the family lives in Lebanon. The gouache and colored pencil portrait of her grandfather shows him in his 40’s handsetting the type for a local newspaper.

“He is my model for living with a strong work ethic,” said Aya of her hardworking grandfather. Aya says she and her mother and grandmother looked through family photos to find this image and she enjoyed hearing their stories as they selected the photo she would use. Art is of prime importance to Aya. She has been accepted at Otis College of Art and Design and has received two scholarships, one a Presidential Scholarship.

This Eighth Biennial Grandparent Portrait Show contains 157 portraits, in various media, of grandparents or beloved elders. The exhibit was juried by Nicole Strasburg, who viewed images of all the entries and selected 13 awardwinning portraits and five honorable mentions. Strasberg, a well-known landscape artist, was once a student of Student Art Fund Founder Audie Love at Dos Pueblos High School.

The Grandparent Portrait Project is one that connects students with their family roots and pride. Getting students to focus on the faces of their grandparents is a way of strengthening those connections, and possibly, of inspiring the students with the hopes and aspirations that these grandparent figures have for them. The show has been celebrated for highlighting the wide diversity of cultures in Santa Barbara and for displaying the excellent quality of our public schools’ art instruction.

Courtesy Photo
Faulkner Gallery
Aya Al Sabeh’s Best of Show Portrait of her grandfather Aya Al Sabeh and Lucrezia DeLeon, Santa Barbara Beautiful

Arbor Day Honored & Celebrated

IN HONOR OF ARBOR DAY, the City of Santa Barbara presented a proclamation of appreciation to Santa Barbara Beautiful for their four plus decades of funding the planting of over 13,000 trees, with the assistance of Santa Barbara’s Urban Forestry program. Celebrating the day, Santa Barbara Beautiful raised their flags on State Street, and held tree plantings at elementary schools.

“We are incredibly proud to stand shoulderto-shoulder with the city in caring for the health and beauty of our Urban Forest,” shared Kerry Methner, VOICE Editor/Publisher and 2023 President of Santa Barbara Beautiful. “It’s this kind of ongoing decades-long

partnership that has made Santa Barbara a beautiful place to live and work, a beautiful place to grow up and raise children, and a vibrant Tree City USA for well over four decades.”

Mayor Randy Rowse presented the proclamation to Methner, as a representative of the non-profit.

Santa Barbara Beautiful and the Urban Forestry Program held tree-planting events across local school campuses this week. The events aimed to provide interactive learning experiences to educate children about the importance of trees and encourage them to take an active role in caring for the environment.

“Arbor Day is an opportunity to get kids excited about trees and all the important benefits they provide,” said Nathan Slack, City of Santa Barbara Urban Forest Superintendent and SBB Board Member.


“By partnering with schools to host treeplanting events, we help connect students with the natural world and inspire the next generation to protect and preserve our vital natural resources.”

This year’s events were held at Adams Elementary, Cold Spring School, and The Riviera Ridge School. Students from kindergarten through sixth grade had the opportunity to hear from members

David Gress, Superintendent/Principal Dr. Amy Alzina, Nathan Slack, and Christian Garfield, Garden Educator David Gress, past SBB President and former City Arborist talks about The Boy Who Grew a Forest A fruit tree for the school garden Santa Barbara Beautiful Board Members who attended the Proclamation Ceremony: Nathan Slack, Marcella Simmons, Kerry Methner, Mark Whitehurst, Leslee Sipress, and David Gress City’s Urban Forestry program collaborates with Santa Barbara Beautiful in celebrating Arbor Day each year with tree-planting events at local schools. Schools interested in hosting an Arbor Day event in 2024 are encouraged to contact or

of the City’s Urban Forestry team about the benefits trees provide before helping to plant new trees on campus for current and future students to enjoy.

“Our third-grade students look forward to watering and caring for the trees over the course of their elementary school years, watching them grow and provide shade and beauty at Adams,” said Kelly Fresch, Principal of Adams Elementary School.

In addition to the new trees, copies of the books The Boy Who Grew a Forest by Sophia Gholz (elementary) and A Tree a Day: 365 of the World’s Most Majestic Trees by Amy-Jane Beer (secondary) were supplied to all of the local area’s elementary and secondary schools and public libraries, courtesy of Santa Barbara Beautiful.

Tree planting has been a collaborative effort between the City of Santa Barbara and the organization since 1965 and has led to the planting of over 13,000 street trees (trees located in the parkway between the sidewalk and the street curb).

Bookworm Corner: The Boy Who Grew a Forest

WHEN FLOODING AND EROSION THREATENED HIS AREA, Jadav Payeng knew he had to act. He voiced his worries to the elders of his Indian village, who presented the young boy with 20 bamboo saplings. From that humble beginning, a forest blossomed that is now famous world-over.

This inspiring story is captured in The Boy Who Grew a Forest: The True Story of Jadav Payeng by Sophia Gholz. Published in 2019, the book has been recognized by the National Council for the Social Studies’ Children’s Book Council as a significant picture book for young readers.

More recently, local nonprofit Santa Barbara Beautiful has distributed copies of the book to each of the local area’s elementary schools and public libraries in honor of Arbor Day. With its gentle story, environmentally positive lessons, and intimate illustrations by Sophia Gholz, The Boy Who Grew a Forest is the ideal book to introduce students to the concept of living as the planet’s caretakers.

Set on Majuli Island in India’s Brahmaputra River, The Boy Who Grew a Forest follows Jadav on his mission to restore the island’s greenery and wildlife. Each page reveals another step on his lifelong undertaking, explaining how he faithfully tended the bamboo saplings, cultivated the soil, and protected the land while his forest grew.

The book’s final page provides facts about Jadav, the 1,300-acre Molai Forest, and instructions on how readers can begin growing their own seeds.

By virtue of it being a true story, The Boy Who Grew a Forest is an inherently impressive tale. Jadav’s passion reminds students of the power of just one individual to make a difference and emphasizes that one is never too young to begin helping save our planet. While Jadav went on to dedicate his life to maintaining his forest, he still made a significant impact just by planting 20 bamboo saplings. This shows students that even the most daunting of tasks begins with a single step, and that no gesture is too small when it comes to helping the Earth.

Above all, The Boy Who Grew a Forest illustrates the value of staying true to oneself. Each time Jadav faced unexpected complications, such as wild animals and poachers, he remained steadfast in his conservation work, adapting his plans to accommodate what was best for his community and forest. This resilient spirit and devotion to the planet reflects the spirit of Arbor Day, Earth Day, and the overall environmentalist movement, teaching students — in Jadav’s words — “only by growing plants, the Earth will survive.”

Santa Barbara Beautiful also distributed copies of A Tree a Day: 365 of the World’s Most Majestic Trees by AmyJane Beer to all of the local area’s secondary schools and public libraries. To learn more about the nonprofit, visit

Bookworm Corner is a column dedicated to highlighting children’s and young adult books that carry positive messages. It is penned by Daisy Scott, a scholar and lover of children’s literature who holds her degree in literature and writing from UC San Diego.

Courtesy photo David Gress, past SBB President and former City Arborist and Christine Gress

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