NatureTrack, the Los Olivos-based foundation that provides cost-free outdoor field trips for K-12 students, celebrated its 10th anniversary last week by saying thank you to an important group of people.
They received awards Thursday at Zaca Creek Ranch in the Santa Ynez Valley.
This year, the Dan Conaway Docent of the Year Award went to Sam Babcock. He was presented the award, which came as a hand-painted gourd, by Margee Lennard, Mr. Conaway’s widow. Inside were notes from previous winners.
NatureTrack founder Sue Eisaguirre presented 10-year pins to docents Becky Reid, Betsy Cramer, Carole Nord, Dennis Nord, Dennis Beebe, Don Layton, Gary Crispin, Gary Nett, Ian Palmer, Jacqueline Hynes, Kristen Savage, Lew Eisaguirre, Lisa Palmer, Pam Layton, Pam Miller, Pam Stover, Sam Babcock, Sparky Miller, Steve Palmer and Susie Bartz.
Five-year pins were given to Barbara Young, Bob Altavilla, Chris Armstead, Christina Nelson, Dawn O’Bar, Jake Eisaguirre, Jan Wagener, Julie Kennedy, Karen Osland, Marguerite Tibben, Mary Jane Delado, Mike Delgado, Mike Patarak, Nancy Deacon-Davis, Pam Fisher, Patty Dedrick Terry and Ryan Layton.
Ms. Eisaguirre thanked those who volunteer for NatureTrack and the annual NatureTrack Film Festival.
In addition, she praised Program Director Jenny Morrell, aka the Quail Covey Wrangler, and thanked her for her dedication to NatureTrack. “She does a tremendous job corralling the covey and keeping their spirits high on the trail.”
Ms. Eisaguirre also thanked the sponsors, donors and her family.
She also is grateful to Alfred and Katie Holzheu, owners of El Rancho Market, for donating the food for the anniversary event. Guests nibbled on appetizers and enjoyed wine from Hartley-Ostini Hitching Post Wines, Carhartt Family Wines and beer from Firestone Walker Brewing Co. They also enjoyed the music of O.n.E., visited the resident alpacas and llamas and saw a film of photos from NatureTrack’s first 10 years.
Many people stopped at The Gratitude Table to read thank-you letters from the schoolchildren and teachers such as one from Eileen Craviotta, a third-grade teacher at Peabody Charter School in Santa Barbara. “I have been teaching for 25 years. Your docents are the best I have encountered.
“They seem to really enjoy children and children’s mindsets and thought processes. It is not often that children feel honored for what they know and can do. Your docents ask questions, further discussion, and build upon what the students already know or have experience with.”
During the anniversary event, Ms. Eisaguirre announced Catalina Kett was the first recipient of The NatureTrack Nancy Stearns Scholarship. Catalina is graduating this month from Santa Ynez Valley Union High School in June and plans to attend High Point University in North Carolina this fall. Brett Stearns, Nancy’s spouse, has committed to underwriting this $5,000 scholarship for years to come to honor his late wife.
For more photos of the anniversary event, see Wednesday’s News-Press. And for more about NatureTrack, visit naturetrack.org.