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    Passing of Iconic Butterfly Expert Dan Meade

    The world lost a legendary monarch butterfly expert and long-time city consultant. Dan Meade unexpectedly passed away at home on November 26th. Dan was a scientist, advocate for the environment, and advisor on all things monarch butterfly. For Dan, the Ellwood Mesa Butterfly Grove was his passion project.  He began his life’s work on monarch butterflies here as a UCSB graduate student in the 1980s. Dan’s contributions to our Ellwood Butterfly Grove Habitat Management Plan cannot be understated. For the City, one of his most important roles was as an advisor trusted by the wider community, including the Friends of the Ellwood Monarch group and Santa Barbara Shores neighbors. Our Ellwood project team is so fortunate to benefit from Dan’s insights, recommendations, and leadership. 

    Dan is irreplaceable. However, the City is working with Dan’s family and business partners to continue Dan’s important work with the future of the grove. We will also continue to draw on the expertise of Dr. Stu Weiss, another respected monarch butterfly expert, to inform our habitat enhancement plans for the grove. Our Ellwood monarch butterfly team continues to finalize the draft habitat enhancement plans that will be presented to City Council in a development plan in early 2023. The meetings without Dan have been somber as we deal with his absence, but as a group we’ve reaffirmed our commitment to ensuring the project gets to the finish line as quickly as possible while maintaining the high standards and rigorous scientific basis that Dan strived for.

    A celebration of Dan’s life is being held in Paso Robles on December 17. 

    Thank you, Dan, for all you have done for Goleta. Your work will be carried on forever at the Grove.



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