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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!
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.
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.
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 her reading novels (or seed catalogues) and concocting herbal remedies.
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 free-lance 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.
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, exploring, and doing beach cleanups like this one with her son Wyatt.