Ed Keller, Professor of Earth Science, Environmental Studies, and Geography (affiliated), has written a weekly column about the natural history of Santa Barbara for the Santa Barbara News Press for 5 years to date, and he’s finally taking a break. As he puts it, regarding his upcoming article of May 22, “This [will be] my last story for about a year, as I am on academic leave next year and plan to finish some research papers and books. I want to thank my wife Valery for reading each story and making useful suggestions. I especially thank Bill Norrington with the UCSB Department of Geography for his excellent editing of all the stories. Without assistance, writing the stories over the past five years would not have happened.”
Professor Keller’s articles have covered such topics as the geographical landmarks and position of Santa Barbara in terms of plate tectonics; the hazards we face locally, including fire, floods, earthquakes, and landslides; the contentious subject of how to minimize further changes to Goleta Beach; and the impact of global warming upon our fair city, now and in the future. Ed’s concluding comment after each article was always, “Ed Keller is a Professor of Environmental Studies, Earth Science, and Geography at UCSB. This column is part of the public service mission of the University, without payment from the News Press. The observations and conclusions presented in these stories are the author’s and do not necessarily represent the views of the University or the News Press.”
Apart from his passionate dedication to community outreach, Ed is a highly respected expert in his field. He specializes in studies of earthquake hazards and active folding and mountain building processes, as well as the study of river processes and fish habitat in the chaparral environment in southern California. He is also a prolific writer whose works range from major textbooks (including the award-winning Environmental Science: Earth as a Living Planet, coauthored with Daniel B. Botkin) and peer-reviewed scientific articles (he received the Easterbrook Distinguished Scientist award from the Geological Society of America in 2004 for one of them) to a book that he wrote and privately financed in 2011, Santa Barbara, Land of Dynamic Beauty: A Natural History, which he dedicated “to the people of Santa Barbara today and the next generation who will become responsible for the land we love.”
Editor’s note: Kudos and tight lines to Ed for making a marked difference to our appreciation of our “land of dynamic beauty,” not to mention our local trout population! Ed loves explaining the former and “educating” the latter, and he’s not about to stop. It has been an honor and a privilege to be his pro bono editor (and gillie) for the last few years.