Explore Ecology

By on Feb 13, 2024 in Giving

Each year, Yardi distributes philanthropic aid to organizations selected by its employees near the company’s global offices.

Today, we introduce Explore Ecology, founded in 1990 in Santa Barbara, California. Explore Ecology (EE) promotes leading environmental education and artistic expression. Through their programs, Explore Ecology reaches over 40,000 community members. From teaching students how to garden to organizing beach cleanups and creative reuse art workshops, Explore Ecology educators provide hands-on learning experiences that empower the community to protect and preserve the environment. Learn more about these programs:

  • Explore Ecology School Gardens: beautiful outdoor classrooms on school campuses where children can explore nature, learn to garden organically and see in real life what they read about in science class.
  • Art from Scrap: A creative reuse store that diverts discarded and reusable materials from landfills at affordable prices. Through its school materials program, this program also offers low-cost arts and crafts supplies to teachers and schools.
  • Explore Ecology Makerspace: located above Art from Scrap, filled with technology, sewing machines, and arts and crafts supplies used for the community to join in and invent, create, imagine and collaborate.
  • Watershed Resource Center: located at Arroyo Burro Beach, students and visitors learn how to keep creeks and oceans clean and join monthly for beach cleanups that remove thousands of pounds of litter annually.
  • Environmental Education: In-class lessons and field trips are available for public and private schools, community groups and camp programs and are accessible to most Santa Barbara County schools, depending on location.

Funding from Yardi helps with core support to continue to bolster entry-level salaries for garden and environmental educators and reuse store staff. EE recently hired a new full-time development director, hoping to reach more funding support and foundation grant awards to serve environmental education better to more individuals in 2024.

“As we all know, the cost of living in Santa Barbara is higher than the California minimum wage, and Explore Ecology is dedicated to bringing salary levels up to a higher standard within the nonprofit sector,” said Jill Cloutier, public relations director for EE.

Funding will also help bring more depth to programming by increasing educational services.

“We are glad to know that Yardi employees are aligned with our mission of bringing environmental education to our community,” shared Cloutier.

The Kale King

When students in Katie Lopez’s third-grade class at Franklin Elementary School wanted to make garden salad tacos, the excited eight- and nine-year-old children started by harvesting vegetables straight from their Explore Ecology school garden.

When Mrs. Lopez showed them the different types of kale that they could use to spice up their snack, one 3rd grader put a big leafy piece in his mouth and then quickly asked for more and more! His love for kale earned him his nickname, “The Kale King.” He then told his mom about his newfound passion for kale, and now the entire family enjoys this leafy green nutritious vegetable in their weekly meals.

Volunteer Opportunities

  • Art From Scrap: The Art From Scrap Creative Reuse Store is looking for volunteers to work in its retail store: stocking, sorting, organizing materials, and assisting staff. Email [email protected] for more information.
  • Beach Cleanups: Explore Ecology Monthly Cleanups occur at Arroyo Burro Beach, one of Santa Barbara’s most gorgeous beaches, on the 2nd Sunday of every month from 10:00 am to 12:00 pm. Meet at the Watershed Resource Center at 10:00 am to sign in and pick up supplies. Registration is not required.
  • Committees: EE welcomes anyone to join the team as a fundraising and event planning committee member and help them to plan and coordinate events. Email [email protected] for more information.
  • Coastal Cleanup Day: Join EE for Coastal Cleanup Day on Saturday, September 21st, from 9:00 am to 12:00 pm at over 30 beaches, creeks, and parks throughout the county. An International Day of Volunteer Action, Coastal Cleanup Day offers community members, businesses and groups a chance to give back to the beautiful beaches that make Santa Barbara County a wonderful place to live. Email [email protected] for more information.
  • Photographers: EE seeks photographers who want to build portfolios, practice their skills, and support environmental education and the arts. Email [email protected].

Nominations are now open for the 2024 Explore Ecology Environmental Stewardship Awards! If you know a dedicated environmental steward who speaks for the plants and animals and has made a difference in a school, classroom or community, please nominate them. Nominations are now being accepted until April 1, 2024. Winners will be honored at the Santa Barbara Earth Day Festival in April 2024.

“Explore Ecology Awards recognize teachers, students, and schools who promote environmental stewardship through education and action, initiate positive change, and inspire their peers and colleagues in Santa Barbara County,” expressed Cloutier.

Find future non-profit profiles at https://www.yardi.com/blog/category/giving.