January 2018: Supporting Your Community Museum

Children examining the tidepool

2017 was a banner year for the Santa Cruz Museum of Natural History. We experienced nearly 20 percent growth in attendance and membership due to community support for our school and public programs, exhibits and special events.

As a fully independent nonprofit organization, we recently launched our Year-End Annual Appeal for general contributions, which make up about 15 percent of the Museum’s budget. Donating to the Museum is an investment in science literacy and future environmental stewardship that builds on the legacy of our founder Laura Hecox, whose birthday we will celebrate on January 27 with a full day of activities. More to come on that in coming weeks.

Meanwhile, we are working on several other exciting initiatives in the months ahead, including a new after-school program for our local Gault Elementary to provide outdoor STEM learning experiences, and plans to translate our exhibit and education materials into Spanish. We are also planning bilingual Investigation Station exhibits that promote critical thinking and encourage multi-generational audiences to interact with artifacts and real specimens.

The year ahead will feature exciting Rio Theatre speakers, a Summer Kick-Off Festival, children’s camps, and a host of fascinating Naturalist Night lectures. As you may have seen in front of the Museum, we also are expanding our native plant garden in partnership with the City of Santa Cruz and Groundswell Ecology to create additional educational and interpretive opportunities.

If you supported the Museum in 2017 by attending a program, making a contribution or joining or renewing your membership, we thank you. We hope you’ll support your community museum once again with a New Year’s Gift. If giving to local nonprofits is one of your new year’s resolutions, we make it easy by offering monthly giving online.

Lastly, I’d like to illustrate exactly what your contribution can help us achieve:

  • $100 supports a class exploring Ohlone culture through our galleries and garden.
  • $250 supports a three-month hands-on Investigation Station tabletop exhibit.
  • $500 supports 5 local classes examining the wetland habitat of Neary Lagoon.
  • $1,000 supports 10 classes discovering the wilds of Pogonip Open Space.

We look forward to serving you in 2018. See you soon at the Museum!

Heather Moffat McCoy
Executive Director




Angela Ward: Operations Manager

Angela Ward, Operations ManagerAngela Ward brings a wealth of experience in nonprofit administration and education to her role as Operations Manager at the Museum.

Hired as our administrative coordinator in January 2015, Angela is entering her third year working for the Museum, where she oversees finance and human resources. Angela earned a bachelor’s degree in cultural anthropology and linguistics, and later became certified to teach English as a second language.

A West Coast native, Angela worked trails in Yosemite National Park and then returned as a backcountry trail cook before taking a job at a one-room elementary school in the park. She later worked for a local health-oriented nonprofit before pursuing a position at the Museum, whose mission was a natural draw.

“In an increasingly digital world, we need to take time to interact with our environment,” Angela said. “The Museum helps to supplement science education offered in the public school system, the way community arts programs offer immersive experiences in the arts. The Museum helps us learn to care for and explore where we live.”

Angela has been impressed by how much the Museum has expanded and fine-tuned its programming and exhibits since she and her son first visited about a dozen years ago. Even though Angela is not directly involved in programming, her experience as a bilingual educator is an asset as new initiatives arise.

“I am excited that we are working to expand our reach by improving access to our native Spanish-speaking communities,” Angela said.