When I was in Santa Barbara for my grandmother's birthday a couple of weeks ago, my mom and I went hiking at the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden.
As you might know, I believe that one of the most important ways to get people excited about protecting the environment is to get people outdoors. Why save something you don't love?
I owe the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden a lot - as a child, visiting the botanic garden sparked my imagination and provided me with the backdrop for my childhood storytelling. As I was reading and I visualized Narnia or Middle-Earth, I was picturing the botanic garden - probably because I'd spent so much time in the Northwest woods that the California version seemed a sylvan wonderland where faeries or gnomes might lurk in the pools or under the rocks.
The garden has undergone some renovations recently, which apparently have been controversial, as a lot of the overgrown wilderness has been scaled back to make way for manicured trails. Still, I'm pretty sure that there were elves lurking in the shadows.