Beautiful Banners Blowing in the Breeze
by Billy Goodnick
I've been an admirer and beneficiary of Santa Barbara Beautiful's work for decades. They play a leading role in planting trees in public spaces, educating children on key environmental issues and take a leadership role in a host of other worthwhile projects.
This week is a pretty big deal for them-um, make that us.
[Full disclosure: I say us because I became an SBB board member last summer, after years of working with them as city staff.]
At least this journalist thinks it's a big deal to drive up State Street and see 125 of your flags moving on a gentle breeze. You might want to call it SBB's "first fun-filled flag flap-fest!" The banner even has "Santa Barbara Beautiful" printed near the bottom, so no head scratching needed as you try to decipher a flag sponsor's baffling graphic.
The eye-catching yellow background sets off the new three-leaf logo, the handiwork of graphic artist Dianne Gomersall. Dianne is also putting the finishing touches on SBB's updated website, set to go live in March.
Who Are These Folks?
Simply put, Santa Barbara Beautiful is a community group dedicated to making Santa Barbara more beautiful. Established 45 years ago by Pearl Chase and her posse, they accomplish their mission by footing the bill for trees in parks and neighborhoods (over 12,000 to date), awarding grants for public landscaping projects, bringing National Arbor Day to schools, conducting their annual awards for outstanding architecture and landscaping, supporting green beautification projects and making public art programs work.
I'm guessing you've walked past their most ubiquitous project and never known who was behind it.
You know those little metal plaques at the base of park and street trees? These commemorative plaques are inscribed with good wishes for new parents, or in honor of someone special in your life… "Celebrating the Life of Mr. Pudgy, Cherished Goldfish My Son Accidentally Fed A Whole Box Of Cheerios To."
What happens is Santa Barbara Beautiful makes a few bucks "profit" from the sale of the plaques, then channels the profits back into the kitty for another project. Sweeeet!
Plaques You Don't Need To Floss
Now, back to why this week is worth noting: They're unveiling a NEW PLAQUE! This is not your aunt Mabel's plaque. No, this is a low-fat, high-fiber, bluetooth-enabled, non-GMO, free-range plaque, designed by Steve Hausz, architect and designer extraordinaire.
The light-font-on-black-background plaques are mounted on sandstone-colored bases. If you want to take a sneak peek at one, join me at the dedication ceremony at 12 pm, February 3 in front of the Towbes Group, Inc. office building at 21 East Victoria. Here's an artist's rendering.
SB Beautiful has one more treat up their sleeve-the new Tree Well Landscape Program that encourages businesses to adopt the open space under "their" trees and plant something attractive below. It's still a work in progress, but the concept is being beta-tested and shown off at the February 3rd dedication program.
If you like the idea of healthy trees shading our streets, sucking up and sequestering carbon, filtering pollution from the air and creating nesting habit for the little birdies, consider getting involved in Santa Barbara Beautiful. Membership starts at just $35 for individuals or you can just send a tax-deductable donation. You'll find information at their website or you can stop by their booth when the Earth Day Celebration comes around again this spring.
In the meantime, go hug a tree and think about how it got there. It'll do you both a world of good.
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Billy Goodnick is a nice guy who knows a lot about plants and garden stuff.
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