Sandy Lucas Russell


3770 Foothill Road
Santa Barbara, California 39105


My last update would have been in late 2006. In July, 2007, our daughter Beth married Kurt Russell in a garden wedding at our pergola, complete with Russell clan kilts and ceremonial quaiche, attended by family and friends from all over the country. It was beautiful and came with special effects from the Elements. The Zaca Wildfire had been raging in the backcountry, so there was a spectacular sunset at dinner, a red-gold full moon rising, and in the lights on the dance floor a light ash confetti. We ARE in the fire zone--the next year on their anniversary, the Gap Fire caused them to be evacuated to our house, and in 2009, we evacuated to their home when the wildfire hit us, as mentioned previously. Hopefully we are done with that kind of excitement for a while!

We did get away on our cruise, starting with a week in Istanbul, touring with a historian the old ruins of Constantinople, then the Archeology Society cruise through the Greek Isles, plenty of wonderful sights and scenes and lecturers and archaeologists to guide us; then a week in Athens, more of the same. That was a good year to be there--now the riots are right in front of our hotel! In retrospect, we were lucky to visit Egypt, Turkey and Greece when we did!

In 2008, we took a shorter cruise, from Vancouver through the islands and Alaskan coast, then down to San Francisco and Los Angeles. Other travel has been with our Museum Docents, taking naturalist experts, hiking and exploring Death Valley, the High Sierras, and Anza Borrego. Last January found us in Bozeman, Montana, attending a wedding, but we made sure to visit Jack Horner for a behind the scenes tour of the Museum of the Rockies, fabulous dinosaurs, his lab and new discoveries.

And now we are content to enjoy our own beautiful scenery and gardens, restored after much hard work. I am still a Docent at the Museum, the resident "Moth Lady" and live insect source for exhibits. This summer I am back in service at the Butterfly Pavilion. My husband Paul is a director on the Museum's board. I'm still painting and exhibiting with several associations in Santa Barbara, and starting in on this fall's ArtWalk.

I really appreciate all the work of the Reunion Committee in keeping this going. It is really unlikely that we will be traveling to Miami (no ruins, no dinosaurs!), so this is a wonderful way to touch base. I enjoy reading of everyone's interests, accomplishments and success. I looked at the photos, and thought : The teachers still look great, but where are the kids? I remember everyone as they looked then, and had a hard time recognizing anyone! Well, it HAS been 50! years, and I also would not be recognized--in spite of that, I include a photo, with the world's oldest living creature (the Methuselah Bristlecone Pine).


We are finally back to normal and just enjoying where we are. Two years ago, the Jesusita Wildfire swept thru here, and burned everything on 13 acres to a smoldering moonscape, except the house and about 1 foot around it! Thanks to careful fire preparation, a good fire team and pure luck, the house took a beating but survived! The last two years we have been in a construction and repair zone, rebuilding retaining walls, patios, pool, solar, pond, pergola, and a revegetation plan of native habitat. it's finally finished and looks so good that classes from the Botanic Garden and art classes are coming to tour! We have documented the whole process, especially in terms of chaparral recovery and return of fauna.

I'll be sure to check the website. Thanks for the contact.


In re-reading my comments from the last time, I'm pretty much doing the same things. Paul and I have been enjoying a lot of foreign travel with the Archaeology Institute. We spent some time in Egypt touring the usual sites (spectacular!) but also were taken by the archaeologists into several pyramids and tombs not open to the public, such as KV5, which is the largest and still being excavated, and Nefertari's tomb, with its amazing murals.

The next year we visited the Mayan Pyramids in several remote sites of Guatemala, Honduras and Mexico. Paul's studies at UCSB in Romanesque and Gothic architecture took us to southern England for a cathedral crawl. I prefer neolithic ruins, so we got in some of that, too. A highlight was a week in London just for the fabulous museums. We visited the Linnean Society and were taken down to the comet-proof vault, where I got to pull out the drawers and review and photograph the original lepidoptera specimens some 300 years old, including one species that has migrated over that time and great distance to Southern California, arriving at my lights two years ago!

This winter we came East and brought my 89-year-old aunt back with us to California. She was with us for three months, while going thru a full healthcare regimen (seven doctors and therapists) which has improved her condition immensely. We have settled her into an assisted living residence apartment, which we furnished and decorated. Just as we wrapped up that "project", we find ourselves in the midst of another--our daughter is engaged and will be married this summer in our gardens. Somehow it didn't seem so complicated when we married, but we are catching up quick on ALL the planning and decisions that go into an outdoor wedding. After that, we intend to treat ourselves to an escape in the Aegean (with more archaeology, architecture, and neat ruins!)

It was really great to get the invitation and information, but I'm afraid we will not make the party. You and the committee are doing a wonderful job with the website, which does allow me a little participation across the miles. Thank you for doing all this work and organization! My best wishes to all of you. I'll try "tuning in" for an update later.


After Gables, Freshman year at Wesleyan College (bored); transferred to Univ. of Miami for a summer of intensive math (yuck); on to Stetson University, 3 yrs., BA in English Literature, Woodrow Wilson Fellow and MA3 program; on to Duke University, MA in American Literature, plus credits and audits at a number of other universities since then.

While working as a Research Assistant in Child Psychology at Yale Univ., I met my husband Paul Russell, married and moved to New York City, worked at Barnard College, while Paul was with an investment firm on Wall Street. Daughter Elizabeth Rose (Beth) was born there, and while a stay-at-home mom in Brooklyn Heights, I became a community activist; organized a block association, street fairs, children's park and saved a 150 yr old rare elm tree.

We moved to Greenwich, Conn.-the night after the Moxley murder (the safe suburbs!), but loved it anyway. I continued to benefit the local school, library, Bruce Museum, Audubon Center and Girl Scout Council, as Docent, Leader and organizer of many groups. Paul and I had rediscovered our mutual interest in lepidoptera, so we never really took vacations-we headed off to the rainforest areas of the Amazon in Ecuador, Peru, Brazil, and like areas of Costa Rica and Malaysia, participating in scientific group studies, adding to the lists of species diversity, while Beth had a nice visit with the grandparents. Other trips were primitive camping in most of the western mountain ranges.

We really loved Greenwich and invested a lot of energy in the town, so it was a bit of culture shock to move to Mission Viejo, CA, when Paul's career necessitated the change. MV was the pits in terms of culture (see the movie "Orange Country") so I continued with leadership in the Girl Scouts, rediscovered my artistic talent and spent a lot of time in San Juan Capistrano becoming a pleine air pastel landscape artist.

Then we moved to Malibu for 10 yrs, founded a home owners association, a community action group, a nature preserve foundation, trained docents and scheduled school tours, led an outdoor artists painting group, organized a volunteer gallery and an artists' association, curated shows for Malibu City Hall and a Beverly Hills nature center, while serving all officer posts of the Malibu Art Assoc. In addition, we conducted a 10 yr survey of Santa Monica Mt. moth species, and reared a number of local species for natural history and educational exhibits.

Paul's firm, now a health care company, moved their HQ again, this time to Santa Barbara, so we also moved, and have begun in the last 3 yrs. a move involved committment to this community. I continue with the arts, as member of Goleta Valley Art Assoc., Santa Barbara Art Assoc. and Gallery 113, SCAPE (environmental artists), painting and exhibiting for the benefit of environmental preservation. The Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History has become a second home: I serve as a school tour Docent, Chumash workshop Docent, Paleo tent groups, Department Associate in Invertebrate Zoology, where I am curating the lepidoptera, Docent Council, Museum League, and Art Walk committee, as well as serving on other advisory groups. Paul is on the Board of Directors, well experienced as he had also served at the LA Co. Museum.

Last summer we both worked hard on the "Butterflies Alive!" museum wide exhibition, including a pavilion of live butterflies and moths-the most successful exhibit ever! We continue our moth survey of the Santa Ynez Mts--which means I get up before dawn to check the black light results, and contribute specimens and much time to the museum. Our vacation tastes have changed, as we have discovered mutual history and culture. I hated History in high school! Now we've learned that we are part of it, from very ancient times with a lot of interesting places and ancestors in between-what better excuse to travel in Europe, explore the caves and castles, sample the wine and cheeses.

Beth is now an elementary school teacher and artist in various media, and lives close by in Carpineria. While waiting for grandchildren, we have adopted a Shiba Inu. He is 2 yrs old, accompanies me on the dawn patrol and is learning French dog table manners. Our household also includes giant exhibit insects, lizards, turtles, frogs, salamanders, and a really cute snake.

I was so surprised to hear from Beth Basten Foley--did she really say 40 years? I've been out of touch, except for a few Christmas cards with classmates, that it came as a shock to see all the members we have lost. However, all the familiar names are gratifying to read, even if I can't match them with the photos. I will miss the reunion, but send best wishes to you all, and especially to Beth and Chappie and the web site, which allows at least this participation.