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Barbara’s Column

Praise be 


Laguna Beach High School senior student Tess Booth is the future of Laguna Greenbelt, Inc. 

The 17-year-old student worked this summer as a media intern with Laguna’s premier environmental group, which has the goal of engaging the interest of a younger generation in the preservation of open space and its natural inhabitants. 

“Born into a surfing family, I grew up at the beach,” said Tess. “It wasn’t until my internship at Laguna Greenbelt, Inc., where I really began to understand the relationship between the land and the sea. Working on social media has connected me with my community and allowed me the platform to post important issues that relate to how we take care of our backyard.”

Tess worked with Greenbelt Outreach Coordinator Gabriela Worrel this summer to create a social media plan for the organization’s Instagram account.

“Through my internship, I have learned the power that social media has in spreading awareness. Being a Gen Z, I have grown up with Instagram, but I have never used it in this way. Gabriela taught me how to make a social media plan, and she highlighted important questions like who is our audience, or what is the purpose of this post?

Praise be Tess

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Submitted photo

Tess Booth out on trails

“As a result, Instagram feels a lot more personal, and I get a lot more excited about Greenbelt posts than my own. 

“My internship with Greenbelt has encouraged me to stay up to date about environmental issues not only in Laguna Beach, but in the state of California. I am more informed, and I feel way more connected to my community.”

Worrel was equally enthusiastic about the internship. 

“Tess brought a new perspective to the social media strategy, including a fun and light-hearted approach to sharing information about local wildlife and wildland,” said Worrel.

“It’s exciting to work with her because she brings a fresh energy to our social media posts, has helped us double our following, and most importantly – is helping to engage even more people in the struggle to protect our habitats for future generations.”

What Tess learned about the environment this summer built on a foundation of classes she has taken at Laguna Beach High School (LBHS).

Praise be Zoom

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Submitted photo

Tess Booth (upper left), Gabriela Worrel, and Norm Grossman

 “Every science class I have taken, including biology, physics, and chemistry have always set aside at least one unit to discuss the relationship between the specific science and the environment,” said Tess. “I specifically remember Ms [Alexandra] Holtz (LBHS Chemistry teacher) showing us how to calculate our individual and family carbon footprint.” 

What’s Next? “During COVID everything is up in the air regarding college, but I plan to attend a four-year college and study communications, journalism, and literature,” said Tess.

She plans to incorporate the environment in her future studies and beyond to a career. 

Tess will receive a $500 honorarium for her work this summer. She also plans to continue her internship into the school year as time permits.

“The opportunity to get a younger person involved is really thrilling,” said Greenbelt President Norm Grossman. “Tess represents a deepening continuation of the legacy of LGB’s environmental advocacy and the engagement of the younger generation in environmental conservation. 

 “We will continue to find ways to involve the younger generation in this important work.”

Grossman learned of Tess’s interest in interning with the Greenbelt from her mother, Melissa Martinez Booth, Laguna Beach clothing designer.

Tess is the younger of Melissa and Jeff Booth’s two children. Their son, Travis, is 19, a student at Saddleback Community College. 

Praise be Booth family

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

The Booth Family – Jeff, Melissa, Travis, and Tess

The kids grew up in Laguna, as did their father.   

“As a family of surfers, we have always held a deep respect for the ocean and the environment,” said Tess.” I can’t take any credit. 

“But my whole family follows Greenbelt, so when they have questions about the post or what environmental issues are going on, I usually have the answer for them and we discuss a lot of the content together.” 

Engaging the younger generation has been part of Laguna Greenbelt’s strategy since 2015.

Many young people along our coast are well-aware of environmental issues tied to our beaches and ocean, but there is a need to continue to educate the public – and especially young people – about the history and ecological importance of caring for our land-based ecosystems, Worrel said. 

Laguna Greenbelt has helped preserve open space in Orange County since 1968 and was instrumental in establishing the coastal wilderness system, cherished and enjoyed today and in the evolution of the Irvine-Laguna Wildlife Corridor.

 For more information about Laguna Greenbelt, Inc. visit and


Our city is blessed to have organizations that care – whether it’s for the preservation of open space, trees, pets, or the look and feel of Laguna, but most of all about our neighbors in need.

Laguna Food Pantry first opened during the 1993 firestorm and has since then provided free, fresh, nutritious groceries to needy families and individuals who live, work, and attend school in or around Laguna Beach.

It is open from 8 to 10:30 a.m., Monday - Friday, at 20652 Laguna Canyon Rd, between the Dog Park and the Pacific Marine Mammal Center. 

Research shows that people who have proper nutrition are better able to stay healthy, work their jobs, take care of their families, attend school, and avoid homelessness. Now, as COVID-19 rampages, the Pantry is more needed that ever.

Workers are being furloughed or laid off, parents are coping with different school schedules, and we are concerned about exposure to the virus. 

The Pantry has been able to expand its services to help those in dire straits and its commitment to the belief that no one should go hungry. 

Praise be Food Pantry

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Photo by Scott Brashier

Laguna Food Pantry

Pantry Board Chair Susan Thomas and Executive Director Anne Belyea expressed their gratitude in a letter commending the volunteers, donors, community partners, and supporters who have made these trying times more bearable for some of the most vulnerable among us.   

About 500-plus families a week depend on the Pantry for food. 

Approximately half of the shoppers have babies and children to feed. 

The Pantry has responded to the restrictions due to the epidemic by serving shoppers in a drive-through distribution program set up in its parking lot from 8 to 10:30 a.m., Monday - Friday. Volunteers bag the food and take it outside for curbside pickup. 

About 5,000 pounds of food is collected and distributed every single weekday, funded by private donations, foundation grants, churches, schools, and local government. 

“We are so grateful to the hundreds of helpers who help us by writing checks, helping at our facility, collecting food, and making monthly PayPal donations to keep our shelves stocked,” said Thomas.

“Your help and participation are key. Please – help us keep up the good work!” 

For information about volunteering, call (949) 497-7121 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Missing link

Some folks have noticed that they haven’t seen me at the grocery store, the pharmacy or taking notes at the recent demonstration downtown. It’s nice to be missed, but due to my age and a health issue – nothing critical – I have had strict orders not to go roaming outside my front yard except for solitary walks. 

I will cover election news, the forums, other events, and write my column, which I hope you would miss more than my presence. 

Once I am sprung, I will head for the hair salon, the nursery, the needlepoint shop, and of course, in-person City council meetings.

In the meantime: Be safe. 

Contributions to this column are welcomed. Submit suggestions to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


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In Memoriam - Stu Saffer and Barbara Diamond.

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