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11/20 Out and About: Tule Crafts

Celebrate Native American Heritage Month by connecting with the local Indigenous culture of Aulinta (present-day Santa Cruz) during this month’s Out and About family day. Museum staff will help families create boats, dolls, and other crafts or tools using locally harvested materials traditionally used by the ancestors of the Amah Mutsun Tribal Band.

This event will take place outside the Museum in our Garden Learning Center. This series aims to provide opportunities for families to engage with nature in community with others. All ages welcome.

Saturday, November 20 | 10 a.m. to noon
Free (donations appreciated) | Register

Out and About is a monthly series of family-friendly, small group get-togethers exploring Santa Cruz’s diverse natural spaces through guided activities.

11/20 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 20 | 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.
  • All ages are welcome; children under 14 require adult supervision.
  • Please follow current state and local guidelines for covid safety at the time of the program.

11/16 Ancient Scorched Seeds and Indigenous Land Stewardship with Rob Cuthrell

Archaeologists can analyze charred seeds and other plant remains to learn about relationships between people and the natural world deep into the past. This talk will describe how a collaborative research project between Amah Mutsun Tribal Band, State Parks, and academic researchers utilized this type of information to explore how Indigenous peoples on the coast of San Mateo and Santa Cruz Counties used prescribed burning to steward local landscapes. Guided by these findings, Amah Mutsun Land Trust is working to revitalize Indigenous-based stewardship of open spaces today.

Tuesday, November 16 | 6-7 p.m.
Free (donations appreciated) | Register for zoom link

About the Speaker

Rob Cuthrell is a researcher in archaeology and historical ecology who has studied relationships between Indigenous people and landscapes west of the Santa Cruz Mountains for over a decade. Currently, Rob works as a consultant for Amah Mutsun Land Trust managing a native plant propagation and restoration project on Año Nuevo Point.

This program is in support of the exhibit Seeds: Nature’s Artful Engineering, on view at the Santa Cruz Museum of Natural History through November 28.

11/13 Indigenous Relationships with Coastal Prairie Plants with Alex Tabone

Coastal prairie habitats have long been tended by Indigenous people along the coast of present day California. During this demonstration outside the Santa Cruz Museum of Natural History, Alex Tabone will share how the Amah Mutsun Tribal Band and their ancestors have used ingenuity to turn the bounty of the Santa Cruz area into delicious meals for millennia.

We will use the traditional process of making food from the seeds of grassland plants, following the whole process from the coastal prairie to the dinner plate. We will all taste our native food creations and participants will have the opportunity to craft and take home a looped cooking stick out of oak shoots.

Saturday, November 13 | 10 a.m. to noon
Location: 1305 E. Cliff Dr. behind the Santa Cruz Museum of Natural History
$15 General | Free for Museum Members
Register

Accessibility

  • Bring a sharp knife if you can for preparation of our looped cooking sticks (we will have some available if you can’t)
  • This program will occur outside in the amphitheater behind the Santa Cruz Museum of Natural History. There is a paved and accessible path down to the amphitheater, but to enter into the program space you will need to pass through some shallow steps/ledges.
  • This program will occur rain or shine. If it rains we will have canopies, but please plan on being amongst the elements. In the case of extreme weather we will cancel.
  • Follow local guidelines for COVID safety at the time of the program

About the presenter

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. 

This program is in support of the exhibit Seeds: Nature’s Artful Engineering, on view at the Santa Cruz Museum of Natural History through November 28.

11/3 Rockin’ Pop-Up: The Motions of the Oceans and the Atmosphere

What do rocks have to do with the ocean and the atmosphere? Well, quite a lot it turns out! Join us for our next Rockin’ Pop-Up where the Geology Gents will simplify the complexities of these important earth systems.

Wednesday, November 3 | 12-12:30 p.m.
Watch Live on Facebook

About the Series: Join the Geology Gents, Gavin Piccione and Graham Edwards, for monthly conversations about rocks live on Facebook. Each month we’ll explore a different geologic topic, from Santa Cruz formations to tips for being a more effective rockhound.

Submit your questions ahead of time by emailing events@santacruzmuseum.org and feel free to include pictures of rocks you’d like identified! Note: you do not need to have a Facebook account to be able to watch the program live.

Watch Past Pop-Ups
Read our blog Rock Record

10/30 Museum of the Macabre: An Evening of Potions, Poisons, and Plants


Come in costume and imbibe cauldron-concocted cocktails while exploring the dark side of nature. The fifth annual Museum of the Macabre will be bigger than ever with freakish festivities and special exhibits throughout the Museum and spreading outdoors into the park. This year’s tricks and treats will explore the mysterious worlds of potions, poisons, and plants, including:

  • Outdoor screening of Little Shop of Horrors with Westside Video
  • The Unnatural History of Houseplants with the UC Santa Cruz Arboretum & Botanic Garden
  • Natural dye potion making
  • Surprising Things That Can Kill You with geochemists Gavin Piccione and Jessica Gagliardi
  • Costume contest: Dress on theme for a chance to win a costume prize! This year’s theme is “potions, poisons, and plants.”
  • Treats for sale including Areperia 831, Discretion Beer, and curated cocktails
  • and many other shocking examples of nature’s dark side…

Saturday, October 30, 2021 | 6-9 p.m.

$15 Presale | $20 at the Door
$5 off for Museum Members
Online presale ends October 29 after which all tickets will be sold at the door. Cash or card accepted.

One free drink included with each ticket! Must be 21+ to enter.
Student memberships are $15/year. Become a Member today!

Accessibility and COVID Protocol

  • The event will occur at Tyrrell Park and inside the Santa Cruz Museum of Natural History.
  • Masks will be required inside.
  • Capacity limits will be placed on indoor settings and there are a limited number of tickets available.
  • Please follow local guidelines for COVID safety at the time of the event.
  • The Museum and restrooms are wheelchair accessible. Park festivities will be on both level and slanted grass.

Our thanks to our event sponsors and partners!

10/23 Member Meet-Up: Natural Dyes from Seeds

Seeds hold incredible potential — they grow into plants, feed us, and can even produce beautiful colors. During this month’s Member Meet-Up, we will explore the color potential of seeds by processing acorns, avocado seeds, and California black walnuts into natural dyes in honor of our exhibit, Seeds: Nature’s Artful Engineering.

During this hands-on program led by our Public Programs Manager Marisa Gomez, learn how to select and prepare natural dye materials, and properly dye natural fibers. All participants will create their own hand-dyed cotton bandana using the Japanese pattern technique of shibori.

Saturday, October 23 | 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Location: Tyrrell Park outside the Museum
Free Member Exclusive (join today!) | Registration required

Member Meet-Ups are small group get-togethers for Museum Members where we learn from each other while exploring Santa Cruz’s diverse natural spaces. Not a Member? Join today for as little as $15 a year!

Accessibility and COVID protocol

  • All participants will go home with a naturally dyed cotton bandana which they will prepare during the program.
  • In addition to dyeing a bandana, we will be preparing dyes using a variety of seeds, including acorns, walnuts, and avocados for use during the Museum’s annual Halloween event, Museum of the Macabre, the following Saturday.
  • Restrooms will be available inside the Museum (masks required)
  • Please follow current state and local guidelines for COVID-19 safety at the time of the program. We will monitor changes to policies and send out more specific details to registrants prior to the event.

Resources

Fossil Walruses and Other Ancient Life in the Monterey Bay with Dr. Robert Boessenecker

Though our coast today is inhabited by sea lions, harbor seals, and elephant seals, none of these species existed in California 3-5 million years ago. Instead, fossils from the Purisima Formation tell a very different story of strange walruses and early fur seals that inhabited our coast. These include the ancestor of the modern northern fur seal (today a rare visitor to Monterey Bay), the bizarre “double tusked” walrus Gomphotaria, and the toothless walrus Valenictus. Several discoveries made by local collectors and paleontologists represent new species — and you’re going to hear new data and findings never reported before during this presentation.

Join us on National Fossil Day for this member-exclusive presentation with longtime friend of the Museum, Dr. Robert Boessenecker.

Dr. Robert Boessenecker

“I grew up in Foster City on the peninsula, disappointed as a dinosaur nerd kid that there weren’t much in the way of dino fossils from California – which I mistook for “no interesting fossils at all”. Once in high school I visited some shark tooth sites in Scott’s Valley and became obsessed with marine mammal fossils none of the fossil collectors could identify. As an undergraduate student at Montana State University, I started collecting and researching a marine mammal fauna I discovered in Half Moon Bay; I continued with my master’s thesis at MSU on the preservation and stratigraphic context of Purisima Formation fossils, and then went to University of Otago in New Zealand to do my Ph.D. on early baleen whales from much older rocks down under. I have been at the College of Charleston in South Carolina, studying early baleen whales and dolphins, and once again researching Purisima Formation sharks, fish, birds, turtles, and marine mammals.”

-Dr. Robert Boessenecker

About the series

Zoom into the stories, secrets, and science of our collections during monthly webinars with Collections Manager Kathleen Aston. This live event is an extension of our monthly Collections Close-Up blog, with added insights and intrigue. Members are invited to participate in this program before it is made available to the general public as well as ask questions directly of Kathleen.

Not yet a Member? Join today!

Your support helps us steward our collections and offer educational programs that connect people with nature and science. Memberships start at just $15/year.

Member Exhibit Opening for Seeds: Nature’s Artful Engineering

Join us for a Member-exclusive opening reception in celebration of our new exhibit Seeds: Nature’s Artful Engineering! We’re planning a festive experience outside in the park with opportunities for indoor exploration of the exhibit. Covid-safety details below.

Not yet a Member? Join today!

Friday, October 8 | 6-8 p.m.
Advanced registration required
Save your spot today! RSVP

WHAT TO EXPECT

  • Please wear a mask when not eating or drinking.
  • Masks are required inside the Museum.
  • We will have an open wine bar and seed-focused appetizers for you to enjoy, as well as interactive experiences for exploring the wonders of seeds!
  • Members of all ages and abilities are welcome to RSVP.

Seeds: Nature’s Artful Engineering will be on view October 9-November 29, 2021.

Rockin’ Pop-Up: Dangerous Minerals

Some rocks are just stone cold killers. From asbestos to cinnabar, our natural world is full of toxic minerals, many of which appear in our everyday lives. Kick-off the Halloween season by digging into the dangerous side of geology during this month’s Rockin’ Pop-Up with Gavin and Graham — the Geology Gents.

Watch recording

Photo of Cinnabar (Credit: Dakota Matrix)

About the Series: Join the Geology Gents, Gavin Piccione and Graham Edwards, for monthly conversations about rocks live on Facebook. Each month we’ll explore a different geologic topic, from Santa Cruz formations to tips for being a more effective rockhound.

Submit your questions ahead of time by emailing events@santacruzmuseum.org and feel free to include pictures of rocks you’d like identified! Note: you do not need to have a Facebook account to be able to watch the program live.

Watch Past Pop-Ups
Read our blog Rock Record