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FULL 12/21 Solstice Tide Pool Walk

The Winter Solstice coincides with the approach of the new moon, bringing excellent low tides that are perfect for exploring the intertidal zone and its many fascinating creatures. Celebrate the changing of the seasons with us during this guided walk at The Hook in Capitola (Aptos, Cajastaca, and Uypi homeland).

Wednesday, December 21, 2022
2:30-4:30 p.m.

Free of cost for all.
Please consider supporting the Museum so that we may continue to offer free, accessible, and educational programs for all. Give today.

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

What to Expect

  • Space is limited.
  • Wear sturdy footwear that you don’t mind getting wet. Sneakers, knee-length rubber boots, and surf booties are all good options. No sandals, please! It may be windy and chilly, so dress in layers and have a windproof outer layer.
  • Low tide is at 3:08 p.m.
  • We will bring with us resources to aid in your exploration.
  • Tide-pooling comes with inherent risks, and it is with this in mind that we will cancel in the event of rain (light drizzle is okay). If we do decide to cancel we will notify you by email that morning.
  • Please adhere to the latest local guidelines for COVID safety.

About the Walk Leader

Sonya comes from a diverse background that includes studying Environmental Engineering at Cornell University, running a multicultural environmental education program for the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary, writing science curricula for the Community Science Workshop Network and teaching kids how to use SCUBA equipment at the Monterey Bay Aquarium. She has spent the past two decades leading families and local school groups on field trips throughout the Monterey Bay Area hoping to instill a love for science, nature and the marine environment in all of her students. 

12/17 Member Meet-Up: Mushrooms at UC Santa Cruz

‘Tis the season for mushrooms! The UC Santa Cruz campus is a treasure trove for fungiphiles. Join Museum staffer Marisa Gomez for a guided exploration of the Upper Campus Natural Reserve where we will work together to identify what we find in the duff and stumps of redwoods, firs, oaks, madrones, and more. Explore other mushroom programming here.

Saturday, December 17, 2022
10 a.m. to noon

Free
Member Exclusive | Join today!

Accessibility

  • Location details and further instructions will be shared upon registration.
  • Please leave your doggos at home. Trained service animals are permitted.
  • As is the case with most mycologic, botanic, and geologic explorations, we will likely not travel very far due to constant distractions and pauses. That being said, be prepared to traipse through the woods on uneven terrain for up to 2 miles.
  • We will be helping each other identify the mushrooms that we find, so feel free to bring your favorite field guide, but no prior knowledge is required.
  • iNaturalist is a useful tool to aid in your identifications, as well as support an effort to document our area’s biodiversity. We invite you to consider downloading the app ahead of time and we will help you learn how to use it.

About the Walk Leader

Marisa Gomez is the Community Education and Collaboration Manager at the Santa Cruz Museum of Natural History. Her specialty is in facilitating experiences where communities can connect and build skills together over a shared appreciation for nature. She’s particularly fond of mushrooms, rocks, and natural dyes.

12/14 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 at 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.

Wednesday, December 14, 2022
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.
  • It is likely that the programs will take place inside the Museum, but sometimes sessions are held outside (details in confirmation email).
  • Follow the latest guidelines for covid safety. Masks are required inside the Museum.
  • Basic materials are provided, but feel free to bring your favorite nature journal tools.
  • Please leave your pets at home. Trained service animals are permitted.
  • Review more details on our Accessibility page.

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.

12/10 Mini Fungus Fair

It’s mushroom season! Join local fungiphiles at the Santa Cruz Museum of Natural History for the return of the (Mini) Fungus Fair in partnership with the Fungus Federation of Santa Cruz. Explore a display of dozens of species of local mushrooms while enjoying free family-friendly activities and community resources:

Saturday, December 10, 2022
11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Tyrrell Park, 1305 E. Cliff Dr., Santa Cruz
Outside the Santa Cruz Museum of Natural History

For nearly 50 years, the Fungus Federation of Santa Cruz has welcomed thousands of visitors to explore the fascinating world of mushrooms through the annual Fungus Fair. For the second year in a row, the event will return to its original home at the Santa Cruz Museum of Natural History where it launched in 1974.

Interested in contributing to our mushroom display?

Mushrooms may be dropped off at the Museum during operational hours the week of the event (Tuesday-Friday 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.). Enter through the main entrance and leave them with the staff person at the desk. The Museum is located at 1305 E. Cliff Dr., Santa Cruz.

Please follow our guidelines for ethical foraging before you collect any mushrooms.

Accessibility

  • Drop-by anytime 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. to join the festivities!
  • Admission to the Museum is free all day from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Parking is free throughout the neighborhood and bike parking is available at the corner of Pilkington Ave. and E. Cliff Dr. Biking, walking, or carpooling are all recommended.
  • Follow the latest guidelines for covid safety.
  • Restrooms and water fountains are available inside the Museum.
  • Activities will be on somewhat lumpy grass.

12/3 Winter Open House

Join the Santa Cruz Museum of Natural History for a free and festive day celebrating the changing of the seasons. Enjoy complimentary cookies and cider while making nature-inspired crafts — from naturally dyed bandanas to locally foraged wreaths. Give the gift of nature by shopping in our Store and enjoy free admission to the Museum all day.

Saturday, December 3, 2022

Free Nature Crafts 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Free Admission 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

FULL 11/26 Member Meet-Up: Quiroste with Chairman Valentin Lopez

The Quiroste Valley Cultural Preserve is an important ancestral site for the Amah Mutsun Tribal Band who are collaborating with archaeologists from California State Parks (CSP) and the University of California in researching and re-introducing traditional resource and environmental management as practiced in the valley before the arrival of Europeans.

Explore Indigenous land stewardship at Quiroste, both historical and contemporary during this guided walk through the Preserve with Valentin Lopez, Chairman of the Amah Mutsun Tribal Band.

Saturday, November 26, 2022
10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
Location: Quiroste Valley Cultural Preserve (exact details shared upon registration)

Free for Members | Not yet a Member? Join today!

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

Accessibility

  • Due to limited parking, we will carpool a short distance from the initial meeting location (details shared upon registration), so please be prepared to mask and share vehicle space with folks from outside of your party.
  • Be prepared to walk up to 2 miles on moderate terrain.
  • Wear layers, comfortable shoes, and bring any snacks/water you might need. Please leave your doggos at home.
  • Youth under the age of 14 must be accompanied by an adult.
  • Follow the latest guidelines for COVID safety at the time of the event.
  • Please leave your pets at home. Trained service animals are permitted.
  • Review more details on our Accessibility page.

Resources

11/19 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, November 19 | 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.

11/19 Family Fun: Nature Weaving

Bring your family to this hands-on morning of weaving using materials collected from nature. As a group, we’ll gather our collections, learn different techniques for creating woven treasures, and make artwork that can be taken home or given as a gift.

Saturday, November 19, 2022
10 a.m. to noon
Location: Outside the Santa Cruz Museum of Natural History

Free of cost for all.
Please consider supporting the Museum so that we may continue to offer free, accessible, and educational programs for all. Give today.
Space is limited and registration is required for this free family program.

Accessibility and Materials

  • Restrooms are available inside the Museum.
  • Youth under the age of 14 must be accompanied by an adult.
  • We recommend that everyone dress in layers, wear sun protection, and bring a filled reusable water bottle.
  • All ages are welcome, but this program is particularly well suited for elementary aged children and their families.
  • Follow the latest guidelines for COVID safety at the time of the event.
  • Please leave your pets at home. Trained service animals are permitted.

FULL 11/12 Native Foods Workshop with Alex Tabone

How did the Ohlone, ancestors of the Amah Mutsun Tribal Band, use ingenuity to turn the bounty of the Santa Cruz area into delicious meals 500 years ago? Find out how as we use the traditional process of making food from local plants including bay nuts, grassland seeds, and acorns. We will follow the whole process from the habitat to the dinner plate.

Saturday, November 12, 2022
10 a.m. to noon

Location: Outside the Santa Cruz Museum of Natural History
$10 Members | $20 General | Space is limited

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

About the Instructor

Alex Tabone is a California State Park Ranger and naturalist who has researched traditional technology from the California central coast and worked with the Amah Mutsun Tribal Band on traditional food revitalization programs.

Accessibility

  • This workshop will take place outside. In the case of inclement weather, we may choose to move the workshop inside.
  • Wear layers and sun protection.
  • We will sit on the concrete steps of the amphitheater.
  • Restrooms will be available inside the Museum.
  • Please follow local guidelines for COVID-19 safety at the time of the program.
  • Please leave your pets at home. Trained service animals are permitted.
  • Review more details on our Accessibility page.

11/9 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 at 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.

Wednesday, November 9, 2022
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.
  • It is likely that the programs will take place inside the Museum, but sometimes sessions are held outside (details in confirmation email).
  • Follow the latest guidelines for covid safety. Masks are required inside the Museum.
  • 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.