GUSD Board Member Honored as Cox Conserves Hero


On September 18, 2013, Susan Epstein, a member of the GUSD Board of Trustees, was honored as the 2013 Cox Conserves Hero. Ms. Epstein’s selection for this award is a testimony to the work of the entire GUSD Board of Trustees and District staff to promote conservation practices and healthier environments for the children and families of the Goleta Valley. Her advocacy of both green initiatives and nutritious school meal programs reflect the dedication of the Board and staff to providing healthy school environments and an educational program that teaches these important values.

The information below cites a press release from Cox Communications and the Trust for Public Land:

Cox and The Trust for Public Land Announce Susan Epstein as
Santa Barbara’s 2013 Cox Conserves Hero

Cox Communications and The Trust for Public Land announced that Susan Epstein has been selected as Santa Barbara’s 2013 Cox Conserves Hero. An event celebrating the finalists and announcing the winner was held at Fairview Gardens, a previous grant recipient of the Cox Conserves Heroes program.

Cox Conserves Heroes honors volunteers who are creating, preserving or enhancing outdoor spaces. The finalists were chosen by a judging panel of local environmental leaders, and the winner was selected through online public voting.

First Place Winner:
As Susan Epstein’s nonprofit of choice, the Center for Sustainability at Santa Barbara City College will receive $5,000, promotion through on-air public service announcements and 20 volunteer hours donated by Cox employees. Epstein is an advocate for conservation practices that have led to greener and healthier environments for thousands of children in the Goleta Valley. As a parent and Goleta School Board member, Epstein led efforts to eliminate pesticides in 120 acres of playing fields used by the district’s 4,000 students and community groups. The district’s use of alternative green practices has become a model for other county agencies and districts.

Second Place Winner:
Vera Bensen’s nonprofit of choice, Carpinteria Valley Association, will receive $2,500. Bensen was one of the major players in the preservation and purchase of the Carpinteria Bluffs. The property was slated for development until the community organized to purchase the property and keep it as open space. The 52 acres of prime oceanfront property has served the community for more than a decade. It has been a haven for walking and biking, as well as organized sports such as soccer and softball.

Third Place Winner:
Dale Swanson’s nonprofit of choice, PARC (Parks and Recreation Community Foundation), will receive $1,000. In 2005, Swanson called the city of Santa Barbara looking for ways for his church to give back to the community, which led to the Annual City Clean-Up. Swanson has been a driving force behind this event, which now draws more than 500 volunteers who plant trees, remove graffiti and pick up litter.

Santa Barbara’s 2012 Cox Conserves Hero was Martin Camp, whose nonprofit of choice was Fairview Gardens.

The Cox Conserves Heroes program was created in 2008 through a partnership between The Trust for Public Land and Cox Enterprises, the parent company of Cox Communications, to honor everyday volunteers. The program also runs in Arizona, Atlanta, Louisiana, Orange County (Calif.), San Diego, San Francisco and Virginia. More than $300,000 has been donated to local nonprofits and more than 100 volunteers have been honored through the Cox Conserves Heroes program.