Foundation Grants $75K for Ellwood Mesa (CA)

SANTA BARBARA CO., CA, 12/10/2003: Thousands of monarch butterflies have recently returned to one of their most important over-wintering sites in California, if not the West Coast, Ellwood Mesa, as the Santa Barbara Foundation approved a $75,000 gift toward the purchase of the mesa.

The Trust for Public Land (TPL) announced today that it has received approval from the Foundation for a $75,000 grant to be used for TPL’s Ellwood Mesa acquisition project. This approval follows an action on Monday by the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors, approving a $367,963 Coastal Resource Enhancement Fund grant, bringing the total funds raised to about $8.1 million. A total of $20.4 million in public and private funding must be raised to purchase the property for preservation. The City of Goleta, who will ultimately own and manage the property, will complete the acquisition package by exchanging 36 acres of the adjacent property for the developer’s remaining interest in the mesa.

“TPL couldn’t be more pleased with this generous expression of support from Santa Barbara’s most respected community foundation,” stated Reed Holderman, Executive Director of TPL-CA. “The fact that the Santa Barbara Foundation has chosen to support the Ellwood Mesa acquisition with such a large grant reaffirms the steadfast commitment that this special community has for preserving its important open spaces,” he concluded.

Ellwood Mesa is the gateway to the Gaviota Coast, one of the most significant biological transition zones in the world. This spectacular 137-acre coastal bluff-top property provides a home to numerous coastal resources, including Monarch butterflies, vernal pools and native grasslands and a variety of resident and migratory raptors. The property is a cherished community asset, used by local residents to walk, jog, bike, horseback ride, bird watch and to gain access to the beach.

“Support from The Santa Barbara Foundation is always deemed special for any project in our county. There are so many worthy causes and for The Foundation to single out the Ellwood Mesa project reaffirms what a unique opportunity it is to save this extraordinary place for future generations,” stated Tom Parker, President of the Hutton Foundation and a Santa Barbara Foundation Board Member.

“We shouldn’t be surprised when public minded citizens band together to ensure a glorious future for the next generation,” concluded Larry Crandell, resident of Montecito.

Last month, thousands of Monarch butterflies began to arrive for their annual visit to Ellwood Mesa’s Ellwood Main butterfly grove. December and January are ideal months to visit the Monarchs as they cluster on many of the trees in the Eucalyptus groves on the property. The site is often visited by schoolchildren from all parts of the state so they can observe this real life phenomenon up close. Butterfly enthusiasts report that the numbers of butterflies visiting the grove this year have increased significantly over last year.

The Santa Barbara Foundation is a community foundation established in 1928 by Major Max Fleischmann to enrich the lives of the people of Santa Barbara County through philanthropy. The Foundation awards grants in the areas of education and personal development, health and human services, culture and recreation, and community enhancement and environment and has returned more than $75 million to the people of Santa Barbara County over the past seven decades.

TPL is a national land conservation organization dedicated to conserving land for people as parks, greenways, wilderness areas and natural, historic and cultural resources for future generations. Founded in 1972, TPL has protected more than 1.5 million acres nationwide.

The public can find more information about TPL and the Ellwood Mesa property and campaign on-line, at Anyone wishing to make a contribution to save Ellwood Mesa can contact Carla Frisk at (805) 350-3811 or send checks to the Trust for Public Land, Ellwood Mesa Campaign, P. O. Box 1244, Goleta, CA 93116.