NatureTrack Film Festival

(Goleta, CA) From the untapped beauty of nature to the stark realities we face in the world today, this year’s program line-up is wrapped up beautifully in the curiosity which drives people to explore all Mother Nature has to offer.
The 5th Annual NatureTrack Film Festival October 6,7, & 8 at Metropolitan’s Fairview Theatre in Goleta will have a dozen features, complemented by 30 shorts along with two panels, a grand opening night at the Ritz-Carlton Bacara, VIP Pass holder and filmmaker mixer on Saturday and an Awards Ceremony with a closing Party on Sunday – both at The Leta. Co-Directors Francisco Lopez and Mitchka Saberi have chosen a diverse selection of films. Saberi stated, “ I would love to shout out the variety of ‘types’ of films we are including in the lineup this year. Not all are traditional nature docs, this year’s audiences will see how we’ve tried to broaden the definition of a nature film. We believe they will inspire people to spend more time outdoors and love the earth.” Follow us on Instagram @naturetrackfilm for the updates. Los Olivos will get its own Best of the Fest the following weekend, Saturday, Oct. 14 from 3 – 9pm at The Grange with a Wrap Party after the final screening.
An in-person Field Trip is planned for early Sunday morning (10/8) to Lake Los Carneros to get an up-close look at the birds that call this place home. Festival goers can experience what NatureTrack, the founding organization, has been doing since 2011 for more than 35,000 kids K-12 in Santa Barbara County to generate interest in becoming stewards of nature for future generations. Founder Sue Eisaguirre noted, “As we mark our 5th Anniversary, we reflect on how this festival has become an enchanting extension of NatureTrack’s enduring mission – to nurture and kindle an unwavering fascination with the natural world, fostering a lifelong love affair with the beauty that surrounds us.” Sue noted, “Many of the trails we use indeed do Ignite a Passion for Nature (our motto) which are on lands protected by our Presenting Sponsor The Land Trust of Santa Barbara County. The Land Trust has been a consistent supporter of NatureTrack since I started this in 2011. We both share the vision of creating a new generation of stewards for nature in the future. A better partner in this mission could not be found.”
From the opening night film Wild Waters, the blending of the two prevailing themes in this year’s lineup – water and experiential are front and center. More than 70% of the Earth’s surface is water. Fourteen of the films – ten shorts and four features – in the line-up look at the current state of oceans, rivers, creeks and inland lakes from the viewpoint of the experienced as well as student filmmakers. Reviewing the present nature of nature in this climate change era. The festival is designed to inspire passion for nature through film by expanding the definition of ‘nature film’ through a range of genres and subjects. We invite audiences to walk, navigate, fly over, swim and paddle these wild, vital waters and a myriad of other topics with us.
Focus on the features: Discover the annual changes, the Hudson River goes through (yes, the one we only think of as being in NYC). Award-winning filmmaker John Dutton gives us a thorough look at it in Hudson River Wild. Saberi noted, “It was really cool getting a glimpse of all the different ecosystems along the Hudson River and the life based on its banks from the source all the way to the Statue of Liberty.” She continued, “It’s a beautiful Attenborough-esque doc, produced with the Smithsonian Channel by filmmaker John Dutton whose films have consistently graced the festival line-up.” Paved Paradise is a rare comedy nature doc. Lopez commented, “Super unique approach to the topic of agriculture and the environment. You don’t see many comedy docs and this one really pushes the envelope of how to present this type of material.” The Way of the Cheetah comes from the multiple award-winning team of Dereck & Beverly Joubert about these most fragile cats, both physically and in numbers, now at less than 7,000 left in the world. We are introduced to a coalition of five male cheetahs and a female, Immani, who captures our hearts with her four cubs. In Maasai her name means ‘faith.’ Leading her cubs across the East African plains where she must avoid these brothers, along with lions, hyenas, jackals, baboons and even vultures. Through the lens of the Joubert’s over a few years, we see her gain faith in herself. This is a personal story of this one family and its’ journey through this valley of disruption, down the path of survival. The Joubert’s are now considered notable world-leading conservationists, as spokespeople as well as solution drivers. Out There: A National Parks Story A very large story made on an intimate level is totally engaging. Following two longtime friends in a car, on a mission to get to as many national parks as they can. At first driving very fast and just touching down here and there, realizing even though people say it’s not the destination it’s the journey, these young men turn things around to slow down and explore the destinations. For a memorable film this first-person experience is bound to incite a curiosity for every audience member to get out there and explore our National Parks – our Crown Jewels. Epic Bill follows an endurance race enthusiast who, in his golden years, continues to drive himself to endure tortuous journeys in outdoor conditions. What is the psychology behind this drive? In My Alaskan Journey, a young woman who is a filmmaker, has heard tales from her family about the wildlife, beauty and danger of the northernmost Alaskan islands. Erin Ranney had to go to see for herself and documented the trip. Finding changes, her family’s cabins, and a surprising cache of plastic as well as the resilience of nature. Sue Eisaguirre added, “There’s a bonus attached to seeing this film. Everyone who comes to this screening at the festival will have the chance to win their very own Alaskan Adventure! Details TBA – stay tuned.” The remaining features will get the spotlight in an upcoming release. They are: Big Wave Guardian, Cactus Hotel, Full Circle, Peak Season and Until the Last Drop.
Thirty shorts are curated into the program with seven of those coming from student filmmakers. Some from the fertile ground of UCSB’s GreenScreen taught by Chris Jenkins, and the UCSB Coastal Media Project, a nine-week summer class which Jenkins teaches along with Ian Kellett and Summer Gray. The assortment of P.O.Vs and subjects such as conservation and environmental topics, are woven in with long-distance running, and climbing. Some of Santa Barbara’s favorite things are in here too – from condors and forests, to surfing and kayaking. The locations range from the northernmost tip of Alaska to the Channel Islands down to Brazil. Plus, this is where animation lives in the NTFF program. Don’t miss Ice Merchants the Academy Award winner for Best Animated Short Film in 2022.
Further descriptions on all the films will be found on the website where you can choose from the menu of film subjects most interesting to you to get an insider’s look at nature through these dedicated filmmaker’s eyes. As filmmakers confirm their attendance it will be noted on our social feeds. Follow us @naturetrackfilm. NTFF Online Box Office is open for Opening Night, Full Festival Passes and now Single Tickets and Four-Packs are available at NatureTrack. NTFF is grateful for the support received from The City of Goleta, its City Council and excellent staff.

Photo Caption: From the short film “Little Fox of Limwu”
Photo Credit: Michael Love

Beat the Heat: Lessons Learned from the Fastest Warming County in the Nation And How You Can Ensure Neighbors Are Safe When Temperatures Rise

Did you know Ventura County is warming faster than almost anywhere else in the United States? Hear how this impacts those on the frontlines of heat, and what we’re learning from local to national experts about what we can do as cities and individuals to address this urgent issue. You’ll learn how all of us can help mobilize resources to protect those most at risk—from farm workers to youth. We will also share broader solutions in the works aimed at knitting together a tighter social fabric, such as neighborhood-based resource centers where community members can get the help they need when extreme heat hits. Presented in English with Spanish interpretation in collaboration with the Atlantic Council and CAUSE.

By joining this webinar, you agree to receive communications from the host organization and agree to the meeting being recorded and posted online. Register now:

Circle of Life Brunch

We are thrilled to announce that Alpha Resource Center will be celebrating our 70th Anniversary throughout 2023. To help us celebrate this anniversary our annual Circle of Life Brunch fundraiser will be held on Sunday, May 21st from 11 am – 12:30 pm, at our Cathedral Oaks campus. Circle of Life is a Table Captain-powered friend-raiser/fundraiser bringing current and future Alpha friends together. Our Table Captains have previously been engaged with Alpha Resource Center. With their previous engagement, they can inspire new individuals to help Alpha support families, create opportunities, and foster belonging for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The Circle of Life Brunch highlights the impact of Alpha’s programs with amazing firsthand success stories from participants and their families.

The Oak Group Presents – Celebrating the Protection of Nature

“For most of history, man has had to fight nature to survive; in this century he is beginning to realize that, in order to survive, he must protect it.”
Jacques-Yves Cousteau.

Continuing their 37-year tradition of calling attention to and supporting the preservation of open spaces in the natural world through their artwork, the Oak Group members are proud to hold their Spring 2023 art show benefiting the Land Trust for Santa Barbara County.

Since 1985, the Land Trust has worked with willing landowners, public and private grant and other community organizations to protect, restore and manage open space, wildlife habitat and agricultural land in Santa Barbara County. To date, they have protected over 31,890 acres of land and counting. Their vision is “a future with conserved lands throughout the county that engage and nourish human, plant, and animal life. These conserved lands include productive family farms and ranches that succeed from generation to generation, healthy habitats to sustain and harbor wildlife and plants, and beautiful trails and open spaces that provide recreational gateways accessible to all.”

The show will be held at the Santa Barbara Central Library’s Faulkner Gallery at 40 East Anapamu Street in downtown Santa Barbara and will run from May 2 through May 31, open 10am-5pm Tuesday – Saturday and closed Sunday – Monday. A reception with the artists will be held in the Faulkner Gallery on First Thursday (May 4th), from 5:30 – 7:30pm.

The show will also be viewable online May 2 through May 31 and

Active Oak Group members: Meredith Brooks Abbott, Whitney Brooks Abbott, Marcia Burtt, Chris Chapman, Bill Dewey, Rick Drake, Michael Drury, Rick Garcia, Carrie Givens, Kevin Gleason, Whitney Brooks Hansen, Jeremy Harper, Kerri Hedden, Tom Henderson, Ray Hunter, John Iwerks, Larry Iwerks, Manny Lopez, Linda Mutti, Rob Robinson, Ann Sanders, Richard Schloss, Thomas Van Stein, Skip Smith, Arturo Tello and John Wullbrandt. Guest artists are Karen Mclean McGaw, Ben O’Hara, Paul Panossian & Sharon Schock.

2023 Peace of Mind: 10,000 Steps in the Right Direction fundraising walk

Alma Rosa Winery is continuing its commitment to mental health-related causes with its fourth annual Peace of Mind: 10,000 Steps in the Right Direction fundraising walk on Saturday, July 22, 2023. Funds raised from this event will support community services, research and treatment for anxiety and depression through two beneficiaries, Santa Barbara’s Mental Wellness Center and One Mind. The 10,000-step walk (approximately 4.5 miles) will take place at Alma Rosa’s beautiful 628-acre Sta. Rita Hills estate, located north of Santa Barbara near the town of Buellton, Calif. To sign up, donate or start a fundraising campaign for the upcoming event, visit the link below for more information:

To read more about Alma Rosa and for further information about the event, click here:

MLKSB Virtual 2022 Celebration Plays on TVSB June 17 through 20, 2022  

The Martin Luther King Jr. Committee of Santa Barbara is delighted to announce its’ all-new 2022 MLK Celebration Program is ready to be seen! Dr. King’s messages of peace and brotherhood are so timely today. This is an all-local production created by and for the Santa Barbara community.

2022 theme is from Dr. King’s letter dated 1963, Birmingham, Alabama: “We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, ties in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects us all.” The event is unified by his words. Words that still resonate today. This is all new footage. Program is anchored by Keynote speaker: Guy R. Walker. Thanks to Marian Dance, Lanzandria “Lan” Richey, Aleena Ortiz and John L Douglas; Michelle Williams and Camron Williams; Essay and Poetry top students’ awardees; local officials; World Dance for Humanity and Santa Barbara Community Choir. Showing the Virtual version on the Juneteenth weekend had the synchronicity the committee desired. June 19 is the actual Juneteenth day. MLKSB Committee is very grateful to TVSB for its help with producing the 2022 show. Please consider donating to the MLKSB Committee to keep these programs and outreach in place in our community.

Calling All Wheelchair Users!

Explore and Experience Freedom Trax at Gaviota Beach

On Sunday, June 12, from noon to 4pm, NatureTrack will be at Gaviota State Park to introduce those who use wheelchairs to the Freedom Trax devices at no cost! Get up close to the waters’ edge, navigate the beach under your own control.
NatureTrack will have several Freedom Trax devices available for wheelchair users to use on a first-come, first-served basis. We do ask for RSVPs to be able to accommodate people in wheelchairs. (See below for the link). This apparatus can quickly and easily convert a manual wheelchair into a battery-powered, all-terrain vehicle allowing those users to traverse beach sand and trails independently. As one wheelchair user, Gustavo said as he zoomed past us on the beach “It’s Fan-Tas-Tic!”
There is no cost to use the Freedom Trax, courtesy of NatureTrack, which will also have two manual wheelchairs available for transfer should your wheelchair not fit on the device. NatureTrack connecting people to nature, every day. Learn more about our Field Trips here:
6.12.22 from noon to 4pm at Gaviota State Park, about 33 miles West of Santa Barbara on the 101 at 18000 CA-1 S, Goleta, CA 93117
Meet in the Parking lot — Look for the pop-up banner and the NatureTrack vans.
RSVP: (805) 886-2047 or e-mail (below)

PLEASE NOTE: If you do not hear from NatureTrack within 48-hours of your reservation, email: [email protected] or call us.

NatureTrack is a 501(c)3 non-profit that provides outdoor docent-led field trips during the usual school day for Santa Barbara County children at no cost to the schools or students, utilizing local trails and beaches throughout north and south county. NatureTrack’s mission is two-fold: to encourage students to embrace our natural world with respect and wonder, inspiring them to be stewards of our natural resources, and prepare school-aged students with the attitudes, leadership skills, and habits for lifelong learning. Founded in 2011, more than 25,000 students have had a chance to experience a NatureTrack docent-led outdoor field trip.
Recently NatureTrack expanded its’ mission of connecting kids to nature and is now connecting people who use wheelchairs of all ages to get out into nature using Freedom Trax. This device quickly changes a manual wheelchair into a battery powered, all-terrain vehicle which can easily traverse sand and trails. Now NatureTrack docents, students, and teachers who use a wheelchair can join classes on nature trips using Trax. Monthly trips for wheelchair users are planned. We invite you to get in touch to find out when and where you can take advantage of this experiential gift. NatureTrack is expanding its’ reach up to San Luis Obispo and down to Ventura County with the Trax program. Thanks go to the grantors that made the Trax program possible include: UCSB’s Coastal Fund, California State Coastal Conservancy, Parks California ‘Route to Parks’ grant.

2022 Peace of Mind: 10,000 Steps in the Right Direction

Alma Rosa Winery is continuing its commitment to mental health-related causes with its third annual Peace of Mind: 10,000 Steps in the Right Direction fundraising walk on Saturday, July 23, 2022. Funds raised from this event will support community services, research and treatment for anxiety and depression through two beneficiaries, Mental Wellness Center in Santa Barbara and One Mind. This year the 10,000-step walk (approximately 4.5 miles) will take place at Alma Rosa’s 628-acre estate, located north of Santa Barbara near the town of Buellton, Calif. To sign up, donate or start a fundraising campaign for the upcoming event, visit the link below for more information:

To read more about Alma Rosa and for further information about the event, click here:

Unite to Light presents: Open Call for Artists

Calling all artists! This October 6-8, artists and art lovers, and the Santa Barbara community will gather to celebrate the power of light at Unite to Light the Night; Art Exhibition & Fundraiser at the Community Arts Workshop. The event will raise awareness about the 1 billion people around the world who live without electricity. The basis of the exhibition is evoking the power of light, which can lift people out of darkness with just a little solar lamp! We invite you to submit a concept for a creative work that evokes this theme and showcases light not only as an essential aspect of life, but also as a creative medium. All visual media are welcome (light installations, lightmapping, sculptures, paintings, photography, and mixed media). Apply by July 1, 2022.