Neighborhood Night

We invite our lower Seabright neighbors to join us in Seabright’s Tyrrell Park For Neighborhood Night. Enjoy local wine, beer, and food from our friends at Seabright Deli at this casual just for neighbors event to welcome the season. We’ll have good food and live music while we spend time together before the Museum’s Summer Kick-Off Festival — a free celebration for all ages on Saturday, June 25, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

We would be grateful for contributions to support this year’s Summer Kick-Off Festival. Please consider becoming a sponsor so that we can acknowledge you at our during Neighborhood Night by making a donation during your registration.

Friday, June 24, 2022
5-7 p.m.

6/18 Saturdays in the Soil

It’s time to get your hands dirty! Learn about local ecology, native plants, and sustainable gardening while coming together as a community to steward Tyrrell Park through the City’s Adopt-A-Park program.

Saturday, June 18 | 10 a.m. to noon
Every third Saturday at the Santa Cruz Museum of Natural History

Email volunteer@santacruzmuseum.org to RSVP

What to Expect

  • This native plant garden requires general landscaping, occasional watering, weeding, and replanting.
  • This program happens rain or shine, but we will cancel in the case of muddy conditions or inclement weather.
  • All ages are welcome; children under 14 require adult supervision.
  • Please follow latest state and local guidelines for covid safety at the time of the program.

Patrons Reception

We are thrilled to celebrate the power of nature to connect us at our 2022 Patrons Reception. Please join us for light food, drinks, a preview of our new Remembering Castle Beach exhibit, and a chance to tour The Art of Nature after-hours. This reception is the opportunity to express our gratitude for your support of the Museum and our programs.

Friday, May 20, 2022
6-8 p.m.

What to Expect

  • Festivities will be outdoors, including appetizers, drinks, special collections on view, and a brief presentation.
  • Time inside the Museum to view The Art of Nature.
  • Masks are strongly recommended indoors.
  • Parking permits will not be required-parking is limited, so please plan a little extra time. Bike parking is always available.
  • We recommend wearing layers for potentially cool weather.

6/8 Nature Journal Studio

Nature journaling can help us view the natural world with new perspectives, learn about our surroundings, and see the extraordinary in the ordinary.

During monthly Nature Journal Studio sessions inside the Museum, Melinda Nakagawa will guide you through a topic as we practice skills in a group setting and share our learning with others. We will develop observation skills and awareness of nature, improve sketching skills, and practice strategies to bring the 3-dimensional world onto the page. Rather than an art class, nature journaling is about observation, curiosity, wonder, and honing these abilities.

While Nature Journal Studio is located in a primarily in indoor setting, focused on skills building and community, there are other opportunities for field experiences through Spark in Nature.

Wednesday, June 8 | 6:30-8 p.m.

Location: Santa Cruz Museum of Natural History
Free with Admission*

Sign-up for other Nature Journal Studio events.
*Free for Members and Youth under 18 | $4 General | $2 Students and Seniors

Accessibility and COVID protocol

  • All experience levels are welcome. Youth under the age of 14 must be accompanied by an adult.
  • You can attend one session or come each month.
  • Follow the latest guidelines for covid safety. Masks are required at all times.
  • Basic materials are provided, but feel free to bring your favorite nature journal tools.

About Melinda Nakagawa

Melinda Nakagawa is a biologist, naturalist, and educator with a passion and skill for connecting people to nature. She founded Spark in Nature to guide participants to cultivate a deeper relationship with the natural world, slowing down to nature’s pace and seeing rather than just looking at the world.

With an approach that bridges nature, art, and heart, she welcomes all people regardless of their skill level or background. Through her gentle guidance, hundreds of participants have awakened their spark of curiosity, sense of wonder, and connection to the natural world.

Melinda has partnered with local institutions such as the world-renowned Monterey Bay Aquarium and Pacific Grove Museum of Natural History to lead educator trainings on nature journaling. She leads the Monterey Bay Nature Journal Club’s free online Sunday sessions.

She has an M.S. degree in Marine Science, and has also worked as a naturalist guide, floral designer, and wildlife rehabilitator. For the past two decades Melinda has kept nature journals and continues to learn more from nature with each journal she fills.

Nature journal examples by Melinda Nakagawa.

6/4 Family Fun with Sun Prints!

As we get closer to the summer solstice, the sun becomes higher in the sky for longer each day, making it the perfect time to play with sun prints! We’ll try out several sun print techniques using cyanotypes, shadows, and construction paper, and we’ll also play with other types of nature prints. Materials will be provided and all are welcome! Swing by Tyrrell Park outside the Museum anytime between 1-4 p.m. to make prints with our Education staff.

Saturday, June 4, 2022
1-4 p.m. (drop by anytime!)

Free | Donations appreciated

Location: Outside the Museum in Tyrrell Park
1305 E. Cliff Dr. Santa Cruz, CA

5/28 Seabright Beach Cleanup

Help preserve wildlife by taking trash out of the environment. Volunteer alongside your community to keep our beaches and bay clean this Memorial Day Weekend. Thanks to Save Our Shores, we’ll provide everything you need to clean Seabright Beach safely and effectively.

Saturday, May 28, 2022
9-11 a.m.
Location: Entrance to Seabright Beach

What to Expect and Accessibility

  • We will meet you at the entrance to Seabright Beach (by the gate). Parking is available throughout the neighborhood. Restrooms are available at the beach.
  • You will be walking on loose sandy soil for as long and as far as you like.
  • We recommend that all volunteers wear closed-toed shoes, dress in layers, wear sun protection, and bring a filled reusable water bottle.
  • All cleanup materials are provided, including trash bags, grabbers, and disposable gloves. Volunteers are also encouraged to bring their own.
  • You can download the Save Our Shores Marine Tally App (AppleGoogle) in advance of the cleanup and use it to record the debris you collect, or you can use the paper data cards that we will provide at the event.
  • Volunteers under the age of 18 must be accompanied by an adult.
  • Every participant must complete 3 waivers.

If you have additional questions, please contact us at volunteer@santacruzmuseum.org.

4/1 VIP Exhibit Walk-Through: The Art of Nature

The Art of Nature returns for the Museum’s 34th year celebrating science illustration in our region by highlighting the work of local artists. Members at the Pat & Kirk Smith level and above are invited to join us for a special behind-the-scenes walk-through with exhibit curators and artists before the Member opening begins.

Need to upgrade your membership? Upgrade today!

Friday, April 1, 2022
5-6 p.m.
Benefit for Members at the Pat & Kirk Smith level and above.
Registration is required.

About the Exhibit

Scientific illustration brings to life the wonders of nature, from minute zooplankton to vast habitats. Explore the beauty and fine details of the world around us in the special exhibit featuring works from over 30 local artists in a variety of mediums, all sure to inspire curiosity and deepen connections with science and nature. The Museum has been exhibiting science illustration since 1989 and this beloved annual show is guaranteed to appeal to lovers of both science and art. On view April 2-June 5, 2022.

Support for The Art of Nature comes from Good Times Weekly, Santa Cruz County Bank, and the Hyatt Family.

Monarch Butterfly

Scientific: Danaus plexippus
Spanish: Mariposas monarca
Mutsun: Siwluluk

Diet: Milkweed (caterpillars), Pollen (butterflies)
Habitat: Migratory throughout North America
California Status: Species of Greatest Conservation Need

Clustering To Keep Warm
Monarch butterflies migrate thousands of miles, farther than any other insect, to overwinter in warm areas. They cluster for warmth and protection, September to March. Locally they can be seen in Natural Bridges Beach State Park, Lighthouse Field and in the trees behind the Museum. 

In 2020, the number of monarchs overwintering in California dropped to less than 0.01% of the historic levels. For every 2,250 monarchs there were 30 years ago, there is only one left flying today. You can help increase monarch populations by supporting the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation’s Western Monarch Action Plan priorities based on where you live.

For those living within 5 miles of the Central California Coast:

  • Protect and restore overwintering habitat, such as the monarch grove at Natural Bridges State Beach
  • Plant pesticide-free native nectar plants
  • Do NOT plant milkweed (Asclepias spp.), none of which are native to the Central Coast

For those living in Central and Southern California, west of the Sierra Nevada range and more than 5 miles from the coast:

  • Protect and plant pesticide-free early season native milkweed, such as narrow leaf milkweed (Asclepias fascicularis), and nectar plants

Fall Creek After Fire 2022

The Fall Creek Unit of Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park has reopened after 18 months of recovery work in the wake of the CZU Lightning Complex fires — and we want to share it with you. Join us for a series of guided tours of the burn zone in partnership with California State Parks and the Mountain Parks Foundation. We’ll explore how the landscape has responded to fire, from redwood trees to wildflowers, and banana slugs to birds, as well as share how community members can help monitor the fire’s impacts.

Walk Dates

March 20, 2022

April 17, 2022

May 15, 2022

June 19, 2022

July 10, 2022

August 14, 2022

Watch the recording of our April 14 talk from Tim Hyland, A Landscape Built to Burn

This series is part of the CZU Lightning Complex and Community Science Project. We will spend time learning about iNaturalist during the walks so that participants may help us track how landscapes respond to fire. Get started using iNaturalist. Walks will be led by Dylan McManus, State Park PI Interpreter I, Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park.

FULL 4/23 Gyotaku Workshop with Lucas Elmer and Janina Larenas

Join Little Giant Collective members and local printmakers Lucas Elmer and Janina A. Larenas for a morning of fish printing! Learn Gyotaku, the traditional Japanese method of printing directly from fish. This practice dates back to the mid-1800s and is a form of nature printing that was traditionally used by fishermen to record their catches. The Santa Cruz Museum of Natural History has a number of gyotaku prints in its collections which we will explore up-close during this program.

Local fisherman, Lucas Elmer, and California Naturalist, Janina A. Larenas, will guide participants in this traditional printing technique with fish caught in Monterey Bay as well as a fish model. Participants will also have a chance to print a variety of hand-carved relief blocks of fish and invertebrates found in Monterey Bay.

Saturday, April 23, 2022
10 a.m. to noon
$15 Museum Members | $25 General

Member presale through April 12. Registration open to the public beginning April 13.

This program has reached capacity. Email events@santacruzmuseum.org to be added to a waitlist.

This program is part of our Collections Close-Up series, and our series in support of the 33rd annual science illustration exhibit, The Art of Nature.


  • Wear layers and be prepared to be out in the sun for long stretches of time. Hats are a good idea! We will be working with paint and ink, so be mindful of what clothes you choose.
  • Leave your doggos at home.
  • Restrooms are available inside the Museum.
  • Parking permits are required on Pilkington Ave. adjacent to the Museum. Staff will provide one for any participant who parks there.
  • Materials will be provided.
  • Youth under the age of 14 must be accompanied by an adult. Registration fees apply to all ages.
  • Follow the latest guidelines for COVID safety at the time of the event.

About the Artists

Lucas Elmer is a California-based sculptor, printmaker and ethnographer currently exploring the oceans and cultures surrounding them. Through traditional techniques, across multiple mediums he draws attention to sustainable practices and pressing oceanic issues. After receiving his BA from the University of California Santa Cruz in 2011 he continues to work and make work there in the Foundry, Wood Shop and Print Studio as a Staff Research Associate.

Lucas is also a commercial Salmon fisherman in Bristol Bay, Alaska for the Summer Sockeye season.

His work is currently exhibited at The Post Gallery in Big Sur, CA. 

Janina A. Larenas is a printmaker and book artist who works with a variety of mediums to create narrative imagery. Her pieces range from stickers and posters to science illustration, embroidery to zines, often merging technical crafts with fine art presentation. She is a trained California Naturalist and AAUS certified diver, and a founding member of Little Giant Collective and People’s Disco.