Nancy Lenz: Volunteer

Nancy Lenz, champion of Pilkington Creek, is a veteran volunteer with the Museum.

After retiring to Santa Cruz from Berkeley in 1990, Nancy became connected with the Museum, which is near her home in Seabright. For several years, she did Museum publicity as a volunteer before spending countless hours in the gardens encircling the Museum.

Nancy has learned the names and Ohlone uses of plants such as beach strawberry, pink flowering currant and Indian soaproot that surround our historic building. Volunteers under her watch have recorded 1,200 hours since 2010 working on Pilkington Creek, which flanks the east side of Tyrrell Park, to remove non-native plants.

While the creek and gardens around the building are much improved, there is much more planting Nancy would like to do. “Live each day like it was your last, and garden like you’re going to live forever,” she said, quoting William Kent.

During the last several years, Nancy also has been a docent for the Ohlone Program, which teaches students about native peoples. “I like to see the kids light up and I like that moment when you realize you’re getting to the child sitting quietly in the back of the room,” she said. “That is really worthwhile.”

Anyone interested in supporting the efforts to restore Pilkington Creek, to work in the garden around the Museum or to co-lead our Ohlone Programs, please contact the Museum’s Volunteer Program Manager Chris Sulots at volunteer@santacruzmuseum.org.

Felicia Van Stolk: Education Manager

Spending countless hours in parks, on trails and in tide pools was the perfect training for Education Manager Felicia Van Stolk. The Santa Cruz County native joined the Museum in January 2016 after other endeavors in environmental education and youth literacy.

Felicia oversees all aspects of the Museum’s educational programming, including both the school and public programs. She leads the Museum’s education team in developing and leading school field trip programs at the Museum and at Neary Lagoon and Pogonip.

Felicia also plans the Museum’s public programming designed to connect members and guests with the natural world, including guided walks and workshops. She plans the monthly Naturalist Night series and a biannual special speaker series.

Her love of nature and activism was nurtured at Aptos High School where she took her first marine biology class and founded the Peace Club, which gave her a platform to plan concerts that led student artists to raise money for peace initiatives.

“I realized how important it was to be engaged in things I care about and to teach people about the things I care about,” Felicia said.

She studied marine biology at UCLA, where her minor was conservation biology. The daughter and granddaughter of teachers, Felicia also directed her keen interest in education and equity toward Project Literacy, where she worked throughout her college career.

In addition to performing fieldwork in Costa Rica and Bodega Bay, she later gained experience at the Marine Science Institute in Redwood City, first as an instructor and later as the organization’s camp manager. A desire to live closer to home brought her back to Santa Cruz County, where she can be found SCUBA diving or walking Manresa State Beach with her dog, Taz.

Liz Broughton: Visitors Services Manager

Liz Broughton, Visitor Services Manager, is the Museum’s longest-serving current full-time employee, having joined the team in October 2010 after graduating from the University of Washington’s master’s degree program in museology, museum studies.

She has served many roles at the Museum, starting as an admissions attendant and working her way up to a portfolio that includes managing exhibits, admissions, and the store. Liz is often found welcoming guests and school tours at the reception desk just inside the Museum’s entrance.

A native of the San Lorenzo Valley north of Santa Cruz who likes to hike in Henry Cowell State Park, Liz developed a love of museums early in life and was inspired in college to make a career of it.

“I was raised to be a museum nerd and always enjoyed them,” she said. “For birthdays, my specific request would often be to visit the Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum in San Jose or the Cal Academy of Sciences. I have always been interested in a wide variety of subjects.”

Liz decided to pursue a career in museum work after earning her undergraduate degree at UC Berkeley in anthropology and Celtic studies. She served internships at the Hearst Museum of Anthropology and performed research on Museum of Vertebrate Zoology specimens before attending graduate school in Seattle. There, she interned with the Experience Music Project, Woodland Park Zoo and Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture.

“One of the things I learned in school is if you go to museums as a kid, you are more likely to visit museums and support them as adults,” Liz said. “That’s why I like to talk to folks when they come in the door — hopefully inspiring them to come back and visit and to learn more on their own.”