Staff Report

Leading up to a two-celebration of the Day of The Dead (Nov. 1-2), the Santa Ynez Valley Botanic Garden is sponsoring free workshops on Saturday, Oct. 26, The workshops will be held at the Botanic Garden, at the west end of River View Park in Buellton.

The project is designed to recognize and mark the origins of the cultural holiday and create a community Day of the Dead altar to honor those who have passed on. Leading the project is Stacey Thompson, a member of the SYV Botanic Garden arts committee.

The workshops include:

– Mindful Yoga Walk (8-9 a.m.) Led by Laurie Burnaby, this event combines a walking meditation with yoga, nature and voice for an intimate outdoor experience intended to enlighten, nourish and delight the soul. There will also be readings and time for thought about the process of grief.

Burnaby is a certified yoga teacher, who teaches locally at Bloom Yoga and the Alisal Ranch, and is on staff as a yoga therapist at the Family Counseling & Trauma Healing Center in Solvang

– How to Speak with Children About Death: Developmentally Appropriate Ways (11 a.m.-noon). Tracy Roberts will share ways to give children the skills they need to cope with death — preferably before they are faced with a significant loss — giving them internal resources to help them cope when the time comes.

Roberts holds an advanced degree in child development, is an accredited Waldorf teacher, and currently runs Acorn Village Forest School, a preschool in the Santa Ynez Valley.

– Making Music to Honor Those We’ve Lost (11 a.m.-noon). Children are invited to join Mackenzie Duncan for an hour of music-making. No experience necessary. Duncan is a teacher at Dunn School, as well as an accomplished artists and musician.

– Gentle Yoga & Meditation (noon-1 p.m.) Headed by Gioia Marchese, the activity focuses on releasing grief that may be stored in one’s cells and heal the nervous system through movement, breath and meditation. All ages welcome. Wear comfortable clothing and bring a yoga mat or blanket to sit on.

Marchese holds a BA in psychology from Antioch University and is a certified Kundalini yoga instructor.

These free workshops are made possible through funding from the city of Buellton’s Art & Culture Program. For more information, contact Stacey Thompson at