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build your professional portfolio through applied client work.

The best way to learn communication skills is to apply them in a real-world context.

The communication capstone project (ESM 449) represents an opportunity to apply the skills that students learn in the Communication focus. This experience helps build skills and a communication portfolio over ten weeks in spring quarter. Students may work for a client, develop their own communication products, or expand upon their Master's Group Projects.

Past communication capstones have taken on a diversity of topics and tactics, such as branding and messaging strategy, short films, audience research, educational curricula, outreach strategies, infographics, and museum interactives. 

Capstone Project Requirements

Successful projects should focus on a clear goal, such as raising awareness, promoting engagement, creating educational opportunities, or compelling individuals to engage in pro-environmental behavior. They must also incorporate at least two of the following:

  • Strategy

  • Narrative / Story development

  • Audience research

  • Development of a communication skill or tool

Students interested in taking ESM 449: Environmental Communication Practicum should reach out to the instructor the quarter before they plan to take the class to decide upon an appropriate communication capstone project.

We are currently seeking client proposals for Spring 2024!



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Capstone Archive

2023 Capstones


Blue Whales Blue Skies Certification Strategy

Strategy Report

The BWBS program is a successful incentive program that slows ships in the SB Channel to reduce pollution & whale strikes—but it must become more widely adopted to have the intended impact. This team presents a strategy to build a pathway to certification through a brand ambassador network.


Sachiko Lamen

Anusha Sridhara

Devon Rossi

Julia Bickford

Learn More:

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Communication Strategy & Public Outreach

The chaparral ecosystem is prone to fire, but traditional fuel breaks can lead to some unintended consequences. This team delivers educational materials, talking points, and an op-ed on land management for Los Padres Forest Watch to spread awareness of proper land management.


Conner Smith

Tommy King

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'Sustainable ways by day' Instagram

Instagram Strategy & Content

Making sustainable choices when it comes to everyday buying decisions can be challenging for people who are not working in the environmental field. This Instagram strategy fills the gap by providing easy, practical, and fun sustainability tips, emphasizing connection with communities of color.


Daija Odom

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Clean power, Clean Health

Outreach Materials

Health centers are vulnerable to unreliable power supplies during natural disasters & blackouts. This team created educational flyers, infographics, and a video to help engage & encourage health center staff to transition to solar through Community Energy Company.


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Hollie Pennington

Sam Rozal

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LTER Video Series

Marketing Short Video Series

The Long Term Ecological Research (LTER) network uncovers unique findings only possible through its long term approach to science. However, many are not aware of its contributions. This team created a video series on the benefits of the LTER network & the scientific insights it can offer.


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Shayan Kaveh

Cristina Mancilla

Alessandra Puig-Santana

Charlie Wilson

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The Potential of Regenerative Agriculture

Short Film & Reports

Regenerative agriculture offers unique environmental benefits that conventional agriculture cannot. This team created targeted papers to certifying bodies and ranchers, and a short film on how regenerative agriculture works for White Buffalo Land Trust.


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Taylor Gries

Anna Zauner

Sarah-Anne Rohlfing

Elijah Baker

Michelle Geldin

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OCean Defenders Film: Partnership & Progress

Short Film

Abandoned or lost fishing gear can be dangerous to sea life, and the Ocean Defender’s Alliance (ODA) is dedicated to removing it. This team created a short film on the collaboration between ODA and local fishers to make a big difference in the marine environment by removing fishing debris.


Logan Ossentjuk

Abigail Sanford

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2022 Capstones

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ArcGIS Storymap

The Dangermond Preserve  has over three years of research to share with the public since they acquired the land, and this  ESRI ArcGIS StoryMap, helps to articulate new discoveries, to grow awareness, and to promote engagement and economic support from the local community.


Kristin Gill

Kirsten Hodgson

Roshni Katrak-Adefowora

Morganne Sigismonti

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Short Film & Public Outreach

This educational film outlines the benefits of seaweed aquaculture and is targeted at stakeholders in the California seaweed aquaculture industry, with the goal to help eliminate barriers to offshore aquaculture expansion on the West Coast.


Madeline McEwen

Laurel Wee

Janelle Gaun

Annie Lovell

Karla Garibay Garcia

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summer trail & climb report

Whitepaper & Report

This in-depth yet accessible report for Protect Our Winters (POW) highlights the impact that climate change has on outdoor sports and access to recreation spaces. It is meant to stimulate advocacy for climate policy among “summer sports" enthusiasts.


Matt Koller

Sam Fearer

Will Geiken

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Understanding snow as a resource

Short Film

This short film highlights snow monitoring and hydrologic research at CUES (Cold Regions Research and Energy Laboratory & UCSB), a shared snow research site utilized by UCSB, CRREL, and Desert Research Institute (DRI).


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Alex Gaynor

Halley McVeigh

Caitie Reza

Fire Fuel Mitigation in Mammoth Lakes

Audience Research & Outreach Strategy

This communication strategy will help the Whitebark Institute motivate second-home owners in the Mammoth Lakes area to participate in wildfire mitigation through political action and fuels reduction on personal property.


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Bri Baker

Kaley Dodson

Aaron Kreisberg

Birthday Balloons
Balloon Free Seas

Community Outreach Campaign

This communication strategy for Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary (CINMS) will help reduce harmful balloon pollution in the Santa Barbara Channel through consumer education and a local campaign  focused on special events, such as holidays and graduation.


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Krista Finlay

Elena Ortiz

Lauren Skube

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Short Film

This short film for The Nature Conservancy is meant to inspire and educate local communities about the importance of habitat connectivity for the conservation of mountain lions and other wildlife.


Anna Talken

Meghan Fletcher

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2021 Capstones

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Parks Are Essential Campaign

Open Spaces Education & Outreach Campaign

The Conejo Recreation & Parks Department hopes to reach residents to communicate benefits of local parks to spark increased use, interest, and support for future park initiatives. This multi-part, research-based campaign includes a survey, strategic messaging, video competitions, and calls to action.


Veronica Weber

Yani Pohl

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Environment Activists Protest
Uprooting Environmental Injustice

Educational Workshops

Environmental managers need a foundational understanding of environmental justice to be effective, equitable, and inclusive problem solvers. This four-part workshop series is designed to help environmental managers gain critical skills and literacy in environmental justice and equity topics.


Madeline Oliver

Kazia Mermel

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Nori Business to Consumer Development

Strategy & Audience Development

Nori is a growing carbon removal company looking to expand their audience and increase carbon removal purchases. This consulting-style project involves extensive audience research, audience profiles, competitive analyses, and strategic messaging.


Jordan Isken

Renata Massion

Peter Omasta

Minnie Ringland

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Saving Monarchs

Educational Outreach & Behavior Change Campaign

The Western Monarch’s population has dropped precipitously, with only 1,914 individuals observed in 2020. To help save this iconic species from extinction, this project is working with the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service to help nurseries, gardeners, and community-members to adopt monarch-friendly behaviors.


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Lizzy Schattle

Zoe Duerksen-Salm

Courtney Krone

Marie Bouffard

Nicole Schmidt

Forest Transparent
Water Balance in National Parks

ArcGIS StoryMap

The National Park Service wants its managers to incorporate ‘water balance’ into their park management practices—but it’s a challenging topic and not many are aware of how it works. This project includes an ArcGIS StoryMap to explain the topic and why it’s relevant to park managers.


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Joanne Pham

Janelle Christensen

Keene Morrow

Uniquely Sustainable Seafood

Urchin Cooking Video

The purple urchin is a delicacy that can help repopulate California’s kelp forests if fished. But Americans aren’t knowledgeable about the culinary uses and potential of ‘uni.’ To help curious foodies learn more, this cooking video will educate home cooks and share cooking and urchin sustainability tips.


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Max Diamond

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engaging Communities in PUBLIC meetings

Community Engagement Plan

The CA Coastal Commission hopes to expand participation in its public comments. Since many young people and People of Color are underrepresented in this process, this team created a short film, instructional video, and web content to inspire participation and provide engagement tips.


Gavi Keyles

Monica Gordon

Peyton Moore

Victoria Wallace

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Seaweed Revolution

Short Film

The potential for seaweed aquaculture is real, though challenges remain in expanding its use. Created for UCSB’s Seaweed Working Group, this short film addresses the benefits of seaweed aquaculture and helps those who might be skeptical better understand its sustainability and broad applicability.


Gabriel de la Rosa

Alicia Fennell

Dylan Glave

Rachel Rhodes

Vanessa Rathbone

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Watch the June 2020 capstone presentations!

2020 Capstones

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Branding & Marketing Strategy

Looking to help Adopt-a-Cookstove find and communicate with its target audience, the team conducted interviews with industry experts and researched its competitors. With this information they designed infographics and a website for the organization.  


Eamon Devlin

Tyanna Bui

Max Russer

Let's Talk About Sea Level Rise

Public Outreach

The California Coastal Commission knows how important it is for Californians to prepare for a future that will include sea level rise. This project aimed to create digestible communication tools for the agency that highlight the importance of sea level rise planning and adaptation in coastal communities.


Adrienne Hewitt

Shellby Johnson

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Get Hooked Seafood Market(ing)

Educational Outreach & Marketing

Marketing and educational outreach materials on the health and ecological benefits of eating local seafood! Created for Get Hooked, a community-supported fishery in Santa Barbara. Customer data analysis was also undertaken to inform materials and customer retention strategy.


Corinna Hong

Sidney Gerst

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Community for Climate Action

Local Climate Action Plan

The City of Santa Barbara has been at the forefront of advancing climate policy and taking effective climate actions. To help the City achieve community-wide climate targets with inclusive community engagement, the team created climate outreach strategies, including designing a series of themed workshops and a climate ambassador program.


Tess Hooper

Geoff Cook

Yirui Zhang

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Snowy Plover Conservation 

Community-Based Campaign

Beach closures to protect the Western Snowy Plover in Lompoc, CA have generated negative community sentiments towards the threatened bird. But a new 2019 policy allows public access to Surf Beach. This project aims to understand community concerns surrounding beach access, and to foster environmental stewardship among Lompoc residents.  


Hope Cupples

Tara Jagadeesh

Chase Brewster | Renee Albrecht | Robert Heim

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‘Greenhouse Sass’ Podcast

Environmental Podcast

The ‘Greenhouse Sass’ podcast breaks down current environmental headlines, in an accessible and conversational way. With quirky humor, topical environmental issues are explained by reviewing relevant scientific studies. Three 20-minute episodes will be discussed,  covering Microplastic Generation, Coral Bleaching, and the future of Renewable Energy. 


Sandro Lallas

Karan Shetty

James Fuller

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Big Deal

Multimedia Outreach Campaign

Small-Scale Big Deal is a multimedia project to raise awareness of small-scale fisheries. Using short films and social media, the main objective is to illustrate who small scale fishers are, what they do, why they do it, and how consumer demand impacts their lives. @smallscaleBIGDEAL


Ilayda Dinc

Gracie White

Nelson Gould

BR Hoover

Watch now

2019 Capstones

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Rage Sustainably

Community-Based Campaign

A messaging campaign, in collaboration with IV Adopt-A-Block, to reduce litter in Isla Vista by targeting party culture to change wasteful behavior. 


Danny Elkin

Giovanna Davila

Eric Tarantino

Kynan Witters-Hicks


Interactive Energy Game

An interactive puzzle game for the California Academy of Sciences that  helps players understand where their electricity comes from and empowers them to support a greener grid. 


Hanna Buechi

Danny Ettelson

Valeria Tamayo


Communication & Branding Strategy

A communication strategy to help the California Grizzly Research Network craft a consistent message about their research on grizzly bear reintroduction in California.


Cheyenne Coxon

Caitlin Swalec

Lauren Krohmer

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Why Should I Care ABout...?

YouTube Series

A YouTube series that teaches middle schoolers to be mindful consumers by exploring the environmental impacts of daily items. 


Taylor Heisley-Cook

Bri Winkler

Parks over Pollution

Advocacy Campaign

Press kit materials for the National Parks Conservation Association to raise awareness on the impacts of fracking on California National Parks and to encourage community engagement. 


Meghan Cook

Casey Moorhead

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Living Rivers

Short Film

A short film for The Nature Conservancy exploring the impact of climate change on Eastern Sierra rivers, featuring local residents and managers. 



Marina Lindsay

Eric Holmes

2018 & Earlier

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The salty generations

Short Film

A short film looking at the unique challenges of shellfish farmers and their motivation to provide sustainable food for their communities despite these challenges.


Shaun Wolfe

Shelby Oliver

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After the fire,
After the rain 

Short Film

A short film examining the vulnerable populations, often minority or low income communities, whose lives are significantly impacted by the secondary effects of natural disasters.


Sarah Salem

Alex McCutcheon

Gokce Sencan, Alex Jamis

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teaching sustainability with Museum interactives

Educational Game

Interactive activities for the California Academy of Sciences to encourage visitors to learn more about sustainability. 


Cheryl Bube

Christin Palmstrom

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Shelling out solutions

Short Film

A short film in collaboration with the Honda Marine Science Foundation, exploring ways to restore habitat and bring native California Olympia oyster back to our waterways.


Desmond Ho

Erin O'Reilly

Emily Read, Erik Martinez

Classroom Lecture
high school Environmental Science Curriculum

High School Curricula

Environmental education curriculum for AP high school students in Santa Barbara, highlighting problem solving and critical thinking related to real world problems. 


Bella Marill

Cora Kammeyer

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strategic communication for carbon neutrality

Campaign Strategy

Campaign concepts pilot-tested with UC students to improve how the University of California Office of the President connects with the student body regarding its Carbon Neutrality Initiative. TomKat Foundation.


Ilan MacAdam-Somer

Brian Jones

Heather Martin

2021 Capstones
2020 Capstones
2019 Capstones
2018 & Earlier
2022 Capstones
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