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Eva grew up in Berkeley, CA and is a recent graduate of UCSB, where she studied Aquatic Biology and German Language. During her undergrad, Eva worked as an aquarist at UCSB’s Research Experience and Education Facility (the REEF), where she managed the aquarium facility and found a love for science communication and conservation.
Eva is passionate about environmental education as a way of breaking down the walls around science literacy and as a way of reintegrating us with our natural world.
When she’s not working at Explore Ecology, she enjoys hiking, swimming, cooking, and writing silly folk songs.
Rachel is an artist and arts educator who loves to see people access their innate creativity and jump into the fun of making.
Rachel’s own creative practice centers around fiber arts and the magic of natural dye.
When she isn’t in her small dye garden or working on a project, she’s most likely on a hike, or at the beach with her dog Kiko.
Art From Scrap Creative Reuse Store Director
Nicole is a mixed media artist and vintage goods specialist who has been managing Art from Scrap since 2020.
Originally from Santa Barbara, she spent nine years living in San Francisco before returning to her hometown.
Prior to her work in the art world, Nicole had a background in visual merchandising, fashion styling, and graphic design.
In her free time, Nicole is passionate about political and social activism, and is always looking for ways to make a positive impact in her community. Nicole also loves spending time with animals, particularly dogs and horses, and used to work as a dog walker before transitioning into her current role as an art manager.
Veronica grew up in San Diego and spent four years in San Luis Obispo studying Animal Science at Cal Poly. As an undergrad she learned lots about livestock, agriculture, and wildlife.
Veronica is very passionate about conservation and sustainable agricultural practices. She has spent many summers working in environmental education at various zoos and museums and loves introducing kids to the plants and animals that coexist with us.
In her free time, Veronica likes to sit at the beach and read, take dance classes, roller skate, and walk around fancy neighborhoods to look at the houses.
Environmental Education Coordinator
Lydia Ballantine grew up in New Hampshire, where she developed a love of nature playing in the woods and fields and going on outdoor trips with her school and summer camp. She moved to Colorado for college, and while there began working at an environmental education nonprofit.
After moving to Santa Barbara in 2019, she found her way back to environmental education and joined the Explore Ecology team first as an educator and then as a program coordinator.
In her free time Lydia enjoys surfing, rock climbing, and spending time with her dog, Scrappy Coco.
Public Relations Director
Jill loves educating about nature through all forms of media. She’s a UCSB grad, with additional training in Environmental Horticulture, Documentary Film, and Permaculture.
She is the host and producer of Sustainable World Radio, a long running podcast about the natural world, plants, and Permaculture.
When she’s not hanging out with plants, you can find Jill reading novels (or seed catalogues), natural dyeing, or concocting herbal remedies.
Lindsay grew up in Colorado, where her passion for the outdoors and the wonders that our earth holds started during weekend camping trips in the Rockies and winter ski trips to Colorado’s best ski areas.
When Lindsay’s not working, she spends time with her family in Santa Barbara, traveling, and exploring.
Melissa grew up loving art and nature and was a Fine Arts Major at UCLA. As a child she would dream of making the world a more beautiful place. After graduating, she began her career in Los Angeles as a freelance designer, then segued into the advertising, marketing, and development fields.
Melissa is a singer and musician.
She also loves her chickens!
Director of Programs, People & Culture
Jenny joined Explore Ecology first as an Environmental Educator, then as a Program Coordinator, and most recently moved into the newly created Programs, People & Culture position. Prior to Explore Ecology Jenny worked in science research and consulting, however her passion has always been science education and outreach. Jenny loves all things related to the ocean, especially free diving, and enjoying the beauty and wonder that is the underwater world. Her greatest life passion is traveling, which she hopes to do more of again soon.
Lu’s love of all things Earth began at James Madison University in Virginia, where they got their Bachelor’s degree in Biology. Lu has a Master’s degree in Spatial Ecology- the study of how creatures interact across landscapes- from East Carolina University, where they studied rock pools along a river and the critters that dwell in them.
Lu is thrilled to be teaching budding scientists about the Earth and why it’s important for us to protect and preserve the environment.
When they aren’t teaching, Lu enjoys hiking, bike riding, laying in a hammock near the beach, and listening to one of their 20+ music playlists!
Art From Scrap Store Associate
Paloma is a Chicagoan who came to Santa Barbara to chase the sun and sea. She has always had a passion for the arts and discovered ArtFrom Scrap during one of her visits to the city. It is such a special community gathering spot, and walking in for the first time she knew instantly this was the artistic-minded city she wanted to live in.
As an abstract artist, jewelry maker, and avid sewer, the philosophy of reduce, reuse, and recycle resonates deeply, and she encourage all artists to do their part for Mother Nature.