The area and the monarch site are named after Ellwood Cooper, who settled with his family here in 1870. Called “the Olive Oil King” in Walker Tompkins history Goleta, The Good Land, Cooper grew olives, walnuts, grapes, almonds, oranges, lemons and Japanese persimmons on his large ranch. Cooper is recognized as being the first American nurseryman to propagate and distribute eucalyptus seedlings on a commercial scale in California. Remnants of Cooper’s main eucalyptus nursery still exist today in Ellwood. This created a very favorable setting for the yearly visitation of monarchs to our area.
The City of Goleta’s website provides further information on the Ellwood Mesa Open Space such as the Ellwood Mesa Well Abandonment Project, the Barbed Wire Removal Project and the Ellwood Mesa Native Grassland Restoration Project.
The goal of the Monarch Butterfly Habitat Management Plan is to maintain and improve the Ellwood Mesa monarch butterfly habitat so it can continue to support migrating monarchs. While creating the management plan, biologists reviewed scientific literature and research, examined historic population numbers, counted the Goleta Butterfly Grove population, and assessed the health of the Ellwood Mesa monarch habitat.
Ellwood Mesa Open Space, also called Sperling Preserve, is a magnificent 137-acre coastal property offering habitat for numerous species, as well as an array of educational and recreational opportunities. This brochure tells the story of a community-wide effort to preserve this natural resource by transferring the location of a proposed development from the environmentally-sensitive coastal bluff to land close to existing development. A history of the Ellwood Mesa Acquisition can be found here.