Staff Report

Joan Easton Lentz will receive the Wildling Museum of Art & Nature’s 13th annual Wilderness Spirit Award, and Pete and Becky Adams and Jack and Judy Stapelmann will receive its first Legacy Awards.

Lentz is a naturalist and author who grew up in Santa Barbara and has spent much of her life studying the region’s natural history.

She has written several books, including “A Naturalist’s Guide to the Santa Barbara Region,” which has become a vital resource for the Wildling.

Peter Adams served on the Wildling’s board for six years, the last three as chairman, and was instrumental in creating the strategic plan that has led to the relocation, growth and stability of the museum. He remains on its Advisory Council.

He and his wife founded and now direct the Adams Legacy Foundation, whose mission is much like the Wildling’s — to get people out into nature to discover, learn and be rejuvenated.

Judy Stapelmann, a longtime college teacher of biology and ecology, has served in many capacities with a long list of nonprofit organizations, especially those that support conservation and social services.

She is a lifelong horseback rider who has organized trail-ride fundraisers for the Wildling and served an extended term on its board to help with fundraising to pay for the museum’s building.

Throughout the years, the Wildling has presented its Wilderness Spirit Award to a group or person who strives to encourage conservation of natural places and species through various platforms.

The new Legacy Award honors years of generous, unwavering support for the museum, a spokesman said.

The award presentation will take place April 29 at the museum’s spring barbecue at Creekspirit in Mission Canyon in Santa Barbara. Tickets begin at $135 and can be purchased at the Wildling Museum in Solvang, online at or by calling 805-686-8315. Sponsorships and silent auction items are still being sought.