Ocean Friendly Gardens, Basic Class
June 14 2011

Santa Barbara Ocean Friendly Gardens Program Kicks Off With Basics Class

by Paul Herzog

The Santa Barbara and Isla Vista Surfrider Chapters got off to a good start with their Ocean Friendly Gardens Program, with 25 people actively participating in their OFG Basics Class. The class was welcomed by Santa Barbara Chapter Chair Sandy Lejeune (at right). A mix of local residents, landscape professionals, non-profit staff and government agency representatives learned how to "apply CPR to the landscape" (Conservation, Permeability and Retention) and working with the Chapters on OFG programs. 

Pamela Berstler with G3 (The Green Gardens Group) taught the class and involved attendees (image at left: Pamela watching as landscape designer, Desiree East, applies CPR to a model residence). 3 people signed up to volunteer, and discussions afterward led to plans for conducting a Lawn Patrol in Goleta (northern neighbor of Santa Barbara). One group, Santa Barbara Green Living Co-op, is screening Surfrider's film, "The Cycle of Insanity: The Real Story of Water" on Wednesday, June 29, 2011 from 7-8:30pm at the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History.

Surfrider is partnering on the series with the City of Santa Barbara and Goleta Water District, and is getting support from other local and regional water agencies. George Johnson from the City of Santa Barbara's Creeks Division (below, right) spoke to the class about the Division's work. George answered questions at the Division's table during the entire class (plus he came early to open the room and stayed after to help clean up). Three interns with IV OFG (Kaitlyn, Erin and Kait), fresh off finishing final exams, showed up early to help set-up and check-in participants (below, left).

The Basics Class was the first part in a series funded by a grant from the California Coastal Commission's Whale Tail License Plate program. (A portion of the fee from signing up for the commemorative plate is added to a fund to provide grants for ocean and water quality education.)

Next steps include: 

  • Hands-On Workshop on Site Evaluation in a landscape: Sunday, September 11, 10am-1pm;
  • A one-day training for professionals that can assist people in going OFG who may not be able to do it themselves: Tuesday, October 25, all day.
  • Garden Assistance Program Workday to turn that landscape into an OFG: planned for early November; 
  • Lawn Patrol starting at that OFG, then walking the surrounding area to look for signs of OFG: planned for early December;

RSVP to santabarbaraofg@gmail.com. Get more info on each program component at the OFG webpage.

The OFG Whale Tail grant also provides funding to conduct an OFG series in Ventura County. The Ventura County Surfrider Chapter plans to start that in early 2012.