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August 4, 2021

SB Museum of Natural History Presents 12th Annual Legacy Awards

The Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History hosted its Leadership Circles of Giving Luncheon on Tuesday, July 27 in Fleischmann Auditorium. The annual event recognized the generosity of Leadership Circles Members and key donors who helped sustain the Museum and Sea Center’s work during the past year.

The Museum’s Legacy Awards recognize extraordinary contributions to the Museum and the natural world by community supporters, donors, and volunteers. This year, Joan Easton Lentz, Wayne Rosing, and Nancy Panizzon were honored for their work and philanthropy.

Joan Easton Lentz is the author of the definitive local field guide A Naturalist’s Guide to the Santa Barbara Region. Raised in a family deeply connected to the Museum and the habitats it interprets, she is a legendary figure in Santa Barbara birding circles. Lentz has drawn on her lifetime of expertise in the biodiversity of the Central Coast to author Introduction to Birds of the Southern California Coast, Story of a Santa Barbara Birder, and other volumes. She has inspired generations of local nature-lovers and volunteered at the Museum for 23 years, as a docent, board member, and research associate. Board Secretary Brad Willis paid tribute to her passion and expertise: “Joan represents the very best of the Museum, and the 2021 Legacy Award is but a small way to underscore Joan’s commitment to science and nature education.”

Wayne Rosing founded the Las Cumbres Observatory Global Telescope Network (LCO), a Goleta-based nonprofit with 23 telescopes that coordinate observations from seven sites around the globe. The network operates as a global observatory available to scientific researchers and students from all over the world. LCO’s Global Sky Partners program makes 1,000 hours of observing time available each year to educational organizations, with a focus on the developing world and communities underrepresented in science. At the Museum, Rosing has been a powerful force for astronomy and science education, donating the powerful telescopes in the Museum’s Palmer Observatory and supporting the institution with generous giving and advocacy.

Sea Center Volunteer Nancy Panizzon has given over 1,450 hours of her time to the cause of interpreting marine science. Panizzon is a regular on the Sea Center’s Wet Deck, where interpreters introduce guests to the marine life in the water directly beneath their feet, and demonstrate the tools scientists use to observe and understand that life. Sea Center staff dubbed Panizzon the “Wet Deck Queen” for her ability to adapt the complex information delivered on the Wet Deck to the needs of any group. In 12 years of volunteering, she has not only educated guests of all ages and backgrounds, but trained many new volunteers in the best ways to engage visitors with science. Panizzon was unable to attend, but her award was graciously received by her niece Debra Verammen.

President & CEO Luke J. Swetland remarked, “As with every year past, this year’s honorees are so deserving of the Legacy Award which recognizes and celebrates community members who have and who are continuing to make such enormous contributions to the work of the Museum. These three individuals in particular, remind me that every one of our Patrons, our members, and our volunteers are force multipliers for our mission – building on the outstanding work of our staff – making that mission real and extending our reach far beyond the walls of the Museum and the Sea Center.”

Leadership Circles Members play a critical role in supporting all facets of the Museum and Sea Center’s work, including education, research, exhibits, collections, and accessibility initiatives. Visit for more information.

The luncheon was catered by Catering Connection and the awards were supplied by Bryant & Sons.

Download Press Release (PDF)