County’s program adds Solvang gallery to list for environmental efforts

Staff Report

The Green Business Program of Santa Barbara County has announced the Wildling Museum of Art & Nature as its latest Innovator Green Business in Santa Barbara County. 

Certified Green Business Innovators have met the highest verifiable standards of sustainability set by the California Green Business Network by going above and beyond the basic requirements of Green Business certification, according to the program.

“It has always been an honor for our program to work with the Wildling Museum,” said Frances Gilliland, director of the Santa Barbara County Green Business Program.

“Everything they do, they do with our community and our planet in mind. Being able to recognize them as an Innovator Green Businesses is just one more example of their extraordinary work.”

Since the Wildling Museum opened its doors in 2000, it has hosted and organized over 65 exhibitions. The museum has shared the awe-inspiring works of giants like Ansel Adams, Georgia O’Keeffe, Maynard Dixon, Carl Oscar Borg and many more. Its exhibitions have surveyed the early history of wilderness art and showcased contemporary artists like Clyde Butcher, dedicated to bringing awareness to specific wilderness areas. 

The museum’s mission is to use art programs and exhibitions to connect its visitors and community to nature in hopes that it will awaken a desire to protect our wild areas and its inhabitants. The museum strives to collaborate with others for the betterment of the local communities, as displayed through the collaboration with the Green Business Program.

The Wildling has “walked the talk” by keeping up with the program’s certification standards throughout the years. 

“The recertification process was painless but also served as a good reminder that we can always strive to do better in almost any area of our operation — so it’s both motivating and enlightening.” said Stacey Otte-Demangate, the executive director at the Wildling Museum. “I had a few questions along the way, and the program director was very responsive and helpful.”

Solar panels are seen on the roof of the Wildling Museum. Photo contributed

The museum has not only been certified and recertified, but this time around, the staff  decided to “up their game” by reaching the highest level of certification: Innovator status. 

“Because of our mission, I thought it was important to take it to the next level, which for us was switching to solar,” Otte-Demangate said. “We wanted to be a model for our community and visitors and live our values. Climate change is real and we are in a climate emergency. Going solar was the most impactful thing we could do at this point and we’re grateful that the Community Environmental Council (CEC) offered a program to help us do it affordably.” 

CEC’s Solarize program helps nonprofit organizations install solar systems, and within about six years, organizations will fully own the solar system, translating to tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars in savings on electric bills over time.

In addition to the achievement of reducing its greenhouse gas emissions by installing solar, the museum also implements practices that support the community and promote social equity, and have significantly lowered its environmental footprint by implementing a telecommute option.

The Wildling Museum has certainly achieved its vision to be recognized as an exceptional and innovative leader in inspiring the community and visitors to value wilderness. Please join us in honoring them and our other new certified Green Businesses at the program’s virtual certification celebration on Wednesday, March 24. To learn more about the event, visit

To learn more about the Wildling Museum of Art & Nature, visit To learn more about the Green Business Program of Santa Barbara County, visit, and to learn more about the California Green Business Network, visit