Walks and Workshops

Join the Museum for Nature Connections that bring us closer to our surroundings. Learn new skills, visit new places, or discover familiar places in a whole new way!  Do you have an idea for a future walk or workshop?  Let us know at education@santacruzmuseum.org.

Upcoming Event:


History in the Rocks
A Guided Hike at UCSC Exploring the Geology of Santa Cruz

November 11 | 10AM – 12PM

Pre-registration Required. CLICK HERE to register
e: $15 Adult | $10 Children | 50% off for Museum Members
Location:  UCSC Campus

About the Hike:

On this walking field trip of the UCSC Campus, we will visit outcrops of ancient rocks, largely hidden beneath the redwoods and extensive modern soils, and describe their role in deducing the geologic history of the UCSC Campus and the Santa Cruz area in general. The igneous, metamorphic and sedimentary rocks of the UCSC Campus record approximately 250 million years of geologic history. These rocks tell of the presence of an ocean far to the East in Paleozoic time (550-250 million years ago), the formation of the Sierra Nevada during the Mesozoic (250-65 million years ago), the influence of the movement of the San Andreas fault since its formation approximately 25 million years ago, and the rising and falling of sea level many times over the past 20 million years.

Details about meeting location will be shared upon registration and will be confirmed the day before the walk.

About the Leader:

Elise Knittle is a Professor of Earth and Planetary Sciences at UC Santa Cruz. She earned her PhD in Geophysics at UC Berkeley and came to UCSC in 1988 where she established an experimental mineral physics laboratory to study rocks and minerals under the high pressure and temperature conditions of the Earth’s interior. Professor Knittle is a former Department Chair for Earth and Planetary Sciences and is currently serving as the Chair for the Applied Math and Statistics Department. Professor Knittle loves to teach and has taught a wide variety of courses over her years at UCSC including geodynamics, physics of planetary interiors, mineralogy and igneous and metamorphic petrology. For the last decade, she has taught introductory “California Geology” to several thousand unsuspecting non-science students! Her goal is to impart an appreciation for the amazing geology of California as well as give the students insight into how we use rocks and minerals to deduce geologic history.

Earthly Colors: A Natural Dye Workshop

November 18 | 10AM – 1PM

Pre-registration Required. CLICK HERE to register
e: $20 Adult | $15 Children | 50% off for Museum Members (includes materials)
Location:  Museum of Natural History

About the Workshop:

Learn how you can use locally sourced plants, minerals, and other natural materials to transform fabrics into beautiful works of art. Local artists Kate Jaffe and Kris Nardello will guide us through which materials to use for which color, how to turn these materials into dyes, and how to dye natural fabric or yarn. All participants will create their own hand-dyed silk bandana using one of three natural dyes and the Japanese technique of shibori to make their own unique patterns.

This workshop will take place outside. In the case of inclement weather, we may choose to move the workshop inside. Feel free to pack a lunch as there will be opportunities to break.

About the Workshop Leaders:

Kate Jaffe is a Natural History and Wilderness Self Reliance youth educator in Santa Cruz. In her free time she loves to forage, spin wool, yak, and vegetable fibers, weave, and practice natural dyeing. Her love of natural dyes started when she was 14 and began to dye her clothing with teas and flowers from her mother’s garden.

Kris Nardello is a retired middle school educator who has found natural dyeing and textile surface design combine her favorite activities: foraging, creating fiber arts and learning more about plants of the Central Coast as candidates for her dyepot. She spins and dyes her own yarn for knitted garments and woven tapestries.