May 2014 Newsletter

Executive Director Ken Knight Leaving GVB after 20 Years of Service


After 20 years and more than 4,400 trees planted and nurtured, Goleta Valley Beautiful Executive Director Ken Knight will leave in June to focus on his private practice as a Registered Consulting Arborist.  The “economic picture has changed such that Goleta Valley Beautiful is no longer able to support a paid staff”, said Mr. Knight, “so I recommended that my position be eliminated.”


Mr. Knight served as a member of the Board of Directors for Goleta Valley Beautiful (GVB) before accepting the then newly created position of Executive Director in June of 2001.  Since that time, GVB has supported hundreds of grant financed tree planting and care projects throughout the Goleta Valley and parts of Santa Barbara County.  GVB provided free trees and initial tree care to public agencies, which leaves a green legacy for current and future generations to enjoy.  GVB’s educational programs reached thousands of elementary schoolchildren through Science Night demonstration programs, assisted by hundreds of UCSB urban forestry interns.  Mr. Knight recently attended the Annual Conference of the Western Chapter of the International Society of Arboriculture where GVB received the 2014 Gold Leaf Award for Outstanding Arbor Day activities.


While GVB attracts thousands of energetic volunteers each year and broad support among business and community members, GVB derives the bulk of it funding from competitive and diminishing grant sources.   As a result of “decreased federal, state and private grants sources” GVB President Phebe Mansur explained, “GVB is unable to develop sufficient contracts to support our operations with paid staff members.”  Ms. Mansur further noted that in light of “the recent loss of our growing grounds, the GVB Board concurred with downsizing its urban forestry operations and eliminating staff.”  However, GVB will continue to operate as an all-volunteer non-profit organization in support of the community.


Mr. Knight will end his career with GVB by celebrating GVB’s 40th Annual Awards event on May 4th, as well as the 13th Annual Heritage Tree and History Tour on May 18th, plus he will engage in a series of Saturday morning tree plantings through May 31st.   Mr. Knight begins full time work as a Registered Consulting Arborist in June.  Mr. Knight can be reached at 968-8523 (office) or at 252-1952 (cell), by email at and at his website


For information on how to participate with GVB, please contact President Phebe Mansur at 685-7910 or go to

Goleta Valley Beautiful Celebrates 40th Annual Awards and Fundraising Benefit May 4th

The newly renovated La Patera Ranch Stow House gardens will be the venue for the 40th Annual Awards. The fundraising event features live music, great food, and a silent auction.  Former GVB Board members are also invited for a reunion.

Join us May 4th 3-5pm and celebrate 40 years of Goleta Valley Beautiful.  The benefit will be at the magnificent La Patera Stow House Gardens to honor Award winners and recognizing former board members over the past 40 years.  Enjoy an afternoon of live music, an El Zarape taco bar,  and a no-host bar, plus a Tree Walk highlighting some interesting characteristics of the diverse trees recently uncovered during the garden renovation.   

2014 Award Winners…


Award Category – Commercial

·         250 Coromar, Deckers Outdoor Corporation


Award Category – Farm/Orchard

·         598 N. Fairview Ave., The Center for Urban Agriculture at Fairview Gardens


Award Category – Goleta Valley Heritage

·         304 N Los Carneros, Goleta Valley Historical Society Arboretum


Award Category – Heritage Tree

·         Coast Redwood located at 5853 Mandarin Road, Goleta


Award Category – Volunteer of the Year

·         Adriana Garcia


Award Category – Evergreen Volunteers

·         Tiffany Allmandinger, Ismael Barajas, Zea Bauer, Terry Beesley. Jeffrey Boyle, Yxenia Contreras, Yvonne Degraw, Amanda Escarzega, David Fainer, Stephanie Farmer, Will Frederiksen, Adriana Garcia, Emma Glancy, Jon Haverty, Dan Hernandez, Tiare Hoegerman, Karen Housel, Sandy Kaneoka, Ken Knight, Nancy Knight, David Kuhns, Alex Kwako, Jim Kwako, Will Kwako, Matthew Manabat, Phebe Mansur, Kersti Martinson, Tami Mason, Julie Moorad, Don Nason, Judy Nason, Eli O’Donohue, Emma Olin, Scott Orr, Jake Paschke, Kristyn Payne, Keitasha Royal, Felicia Schneider, Clark Shao, Tina Staroselsky, Dean Swensen, Jonathan Tai, Rashida Toliver, Tom Tran, Kim True, Melody Uribe, Maggie Wang


Award Category – Golden Shovel

·         David C. Fainer, Jr.


Award Category – HOA

·         The Bluffs HOA, Hollister Avenue


Award Category – Residential –Sustainable

·         559 Via Rueda, David Litschel & Martha Shilliday


Award Category – Residential

·         5419 Parejo Drive, Stacy Rebtch & Joao Hespanha


Award Category – Public building/School

·         300 Sumida Gardens Lane, St. Athanasius Church


Award Category – Public-Sustainable

·         North Los Carneros Roundabout


Award Category – Neighborhood Enhancement

·         595 San Ricardo Drive, Goleta Water District – San Ricardo Well

Our Silent Auction features many wonderful items donated by local businesses, including: Disneyland tickets; a one–night stay in a Bacara King Suite and dinner for two at Miro; an original watercolor by Cree Mann; Kayak or Stand-up Paddle board rentals from Channel Islands Outfitter; Garden items; Gift Certificates to local restaurants, lots of trees and more.

Former GVB Board members are encouraged to attend and be recognized.

This fundraiser helps support Goleta Valley Beautiful tree planting, care, and educational programs.  The event is generously sponsored by Marborg Industries, Rabobank, Camino Real Marketplace, and the Rudi Schulte Family Foundation. You may register to attend the event at  or call GVB at 685-7910.

May 18, 2014 Heritage Tree and History Tour Features SB Olive Company Orchard Tour, National Champion Sycamore and more!  

 Join us for an exclusive bus and walking tour to explore some of the wonderful natural tree and historical treasures in our area and our last tour featuring Executive Director Ken Knight as a guide.  We’ll be meeting at 12:00 noon at the Rancho La Patera Stow House Gardens for lunch and a tour of the newly renovated section of Ida’s Garden then board a Santa Barbara Airbus, our sponsors for the 13th consecutive year. 

Each year we try to visit new sites, but we always welcome back our beloved and entertaining tour guide Professor Jerry Sortomme.   This year’s new site includes a visit to the Santa Barbara Olive Company orchard east of El Capitan with its 5,000 olive trees.  Additional sites include a return to Randy’s secret gardens at San Marcos Nursery and adjacent grounds, as well as a visit to the national champion sycamore tree in Old Town Goleta

 Note: The tour includes frequent easy walking tours, so bring your walking shoes.  We only have one 50 passenger bus, so please sign up as soon as possible.  Call 685-7910 for reservations, tickets are $45, student tickets only $10, with proceeds to benefit both the Goleta Valley Historical Society and Goleta Valley Beautiful. 

Reservations and advance payment will be available on the GVB website soon, in the meantime call 685-7910 for more information. We know that our friends in the Pearl Chase Society also have an event the same day, but this is the only day we can schedule this. 

Volunteer Events-Check for May events and updates


We’re creating an Oak Woodland at the Coal Oil Point Reserve.  We’ll be planting 60 Coast Live Oak trees at 3 different Saturday morning events on May 10th, 17th and our final tree planting event with Executive Director Ken Knight on May 31st.  All tree planting events will take place from 9 to noon.  PLEASE NOTE; we will not be meeting along the oceanfront at the end of Slough Road.  Instead we’ll be meeting on Venoco Road west of Storke Road and just east of the two large oil storage tanks.  If you haven’t been there before you are almost guaranteed to get lost and GPS doesn’t work there.  Please RSVP if coming to 685-7910 or and we’ll send you a map.   

We also have a final tree care event at San Marcos High on the afternoon of May 10th from 1 to 4 pm, meeting on the Turnpike side of the school.  For all events, please wear closed toe shoes (no flips or sandals please) and sun protection.  Long pants and socks are also recommended at Coal Oil Point.

Roadside trash collection – Ron and Judy Nason are back to roadside trash collection in the Goleta area on the 1st and 3rd Saturdays.  Call Don and Judy Nason 964-4895 to RSVP.  

Graffiti - Call 964-7117 to participate in graffiti removal and to report incidents in your area as soon as you see it.


April Events


We planted 100 trees in April with 200 volunteers at UCSB restoration sites.  Groups that helped in the process include: UCSB EAB, CAB, Girl Scouts, Bishop Diego, GVB Urban Forestry Interns, Dudes on Duty, Raytheon, Alpha Kappa Psi, Montecito Bank & Trust, UCSB Honors, Helping Hands Day Volunteers from the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter-Day Saints, and Alpha Phi Omega


Tree Planting and Care – We spent most of our time in April celebrating  California Arbor Week, while continuing to work with the horticultural class at San Marcos High and with the Los Prietos Boys Camp.  Join us in May for completing our tree planting in the Coal Oil Point restoration areas and a final round of structural pruning at San Marcos High School.


Free Trees!  

We are clearing away the final trees from our growing grounds.  If you have any requests for a tree, please give us a call and we’ll see if we can match you up with one.  We have to be out of our current location in the next several weeks, so you must act fast.  Call us at 685-7910 or e-mail for available tree species and more information about where you can pick up a tree.

Please note that since the majority of our trees are large shade trees native to the south coast, only a limited number would be suitable for planting in narrow spaces such as street parkways, and that requires a permit.  However, these trees will make a great addition to locations with sufficient space for the roots.  We can give you advice on how to identify the right tree for the right place.    

Goleta Valley Beautiful News Briefs

Arbor Week Program Receives Statewide Award

Goleta Valley Beautiful received the Gold Leaf Award for the Outstanding Arbor Day Activities at the 2014 Conference of the Western Chapter of the International Society of Arboriculture.  Executive Director Ken Knight accepted the award on behalf of the GVB Board for work done in 2013.


Send us your photos of a GVB Planted Tree

As we remember some of the 4,400 trees we’ve planted over the last 20 years, please send us a current photo of a tree that GVB planted in the past.  We’ll publish some in our newsletter next month as we say goodbye to Ken Knight.

Thanks to our sponsors including: Workforce Investment Program, Citrix, Deckers Outdoor Corporation, Marborg, Rabobank, Rudy Schulte Family Foundation, Community West Bank, Montecito Bank and Trust, Venoco, Michael Towbes, Edison, Home Depot Foundation, Beta Theta Pi, UCSB Coastal Fund, California ReLeaf, Alliance for Community Trees, Sares-Regis Group, Pacifica Suites, City of Goleta, UCSB Cheadle Center for Biodiversity and Ecological Restoration (CCBER), Community Affairs Board Foundation, Environmental Affairs Board, California Urban Forest Council, Goleta Union School District, Santa Barbara Unified School District, Santa Barbara County Resource Recovery and Waste Management Division,  and hundreds of GVB donor members. Please mention to our supporters how much you appreciate their support of Goleta Valley Beautiful.  You can find the list of our donor members at our website at


Statistical information about previous tree care events including the amount/locations of trees and volunteers can now be found in the archives of the education section of our website.   

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