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Rare Plants and Community Science in the CZU Burn Zone with Amy Patten

The area impacted by the CZU Lightning Complex Fires hosts a slew of rare plants. As we enter spring, the season of new growth, botanists will be paying close attention to these rare plants, but they’re not the only ones. A “community scientist” is anyone who makes and shares observations in an effort to contribute to scientific understanding — and we hope you will help us bring community science to the burn zone.

During this online training with Amy Patten, Rare Plant Treasure Hunt Manager for the California Native Plant Society, you’ll learn how you can search for and document rare plants as a community science volunteer. We’ll go over some of the fascinating and beautiful rare plants you can see in the burn area, as well as online tools you can use for survey efforts as part of the CZU Lightning Complex and Community Science Project.

Limited space is also available for in-person trainings on March 27 and April 15.

About the Speaker

Amy Patten works in the Rare Plant Program at the California Native Plant Society’s state office where she manages the Rare Plant Treasure Hunt project, a community science project that documents rare plant populations throughout California. Amy lives in Santa Cruz and is passionate about protecting the plants and wildlife of the Central Coast.

3/27 Rare Plants and Community Science in the CZU Burn Zone (In-Person Volunteer Training)

Saturday, March 27 | 10 a.m. to noon
Location: Bonny Doon Ecological Reserve
Community Science Volunteer Training | Register

A second session is scheduled for Thursday, April 15 at 5:30 p.m.

Join us for a socially distant volunteer community science training session at Bonny Doon Ecological Reserve. We’ll explore the unique Santa Cruz sandhills habitat and practice making natural history observations as part of the CZU Lightning Complex and Community Science Project. We’ll go over the basics of recording observations using iNaturalist and learn how to ID some rare plants, fire followers, and invasive species in the field.

We highly encourage all participants who sign up for this in-person training to also watch our online training with Amy Patten that will help prepare you for the field experience.

We’ll send out meet-up details and directions for getting started with iNaturalist in advance of the training. Registration is required to keep the group size small and safe. If this session fills, we will off a second one.

COVID PROTOCOL

  • Wear a mask at all times
  • If you feel sick, stay home
  • Maintain at least six feet of distance from others
  • We are limiting this to 12 individuals
  • Registration is required

About the Speaker

Amy Patten works in the Rare Plant Program at the California Native Plant Society state office where she manages the Rare Plant Treasure Hunt project, a community science project that documents rare plant populations throughout California. Amy lives in Santa Cruz and is passionate about protecting the plants and wildlife of the Central Coast.

3/20 Pop-Up in the Park: ‘2020 Vision’ and a pop-up shop!

Two people explore tables full of merchandise under a pop-up tent outside, while a masked staff person looks on.

Location: Santa Cruz Museum of Natural History
Free | 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Missing that museum experience? Well have we got a treat for you. Swing by the Museum on Saturday, March 20 for a special Pop-Up in the Park! We’ve created a physical version of our exhibit 2020 Vision that we will have on display from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Come see these beautiful images in a new light and enjoy some outdoor shopping while you’re at it.

We will also be selling our commemorative book version of the exhibit. Get your hands on these limited edition time capsules for the year we will never forget.

✔️ Masks
✔️ Social Distancing
✔️ Outdoor Fun

3/13 Member Meet-Up: Birding at Struve Slough

Saturday, March 13 | 9-11 a.m.
Member Exclusive | Register

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 yet a Member? Join today!

Watsonville’s wetlands are among the best birding locations in the state — many local birders might chime in with, “Nay! The World!” From migratory teals and buffleheads, to stilts, shorebirds, and swallows, Struve Slough is a must see for anyone interested in spotting birds.

For this month’s Member Meet-Up, we invite you to join us for a morning of birding along the Upper Struve Trail as we try to spot as many of the roughly 400 species that reside or migrate through our County as we can (we will not get close, but we’ll see plenty). Your guides will be our Education Coordinator Spencer Klinefelter (avid birder extraordinaire) and Public Programs Manager Marisa Gomez (development of birding prowess in progress).

Please review the following details prior to registering:

COVID PROTOCOL

  • Wear a mask at all times
  • If you feel sick, stay home
  • Maintain at least six feet of distance from others
  • We are limiting the number of Members who can join us to 12 individuals

WHAT TO EXPECT

  • Location details and further instructions will be shared upon registration.
  • Member Meet-Ups are more focused on shared exploration and less on downloading a bunch of information. We promise friendly (masked) faces, an abundance of enthusiasm, resources to aid in identifications, and a fun morning jaunt through the redwoods.
  • As is the case with most ornithological, 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.

Become a Member

Ten Years Since the Tsunami with the UCSC Seismology Lab

Santa Cruz Harbor after the tsunami (Karen T. Borchers/Mercury News)

The March 11, 2011 magnitude 9.1 Tohoku-oki earthquake and accompanying tsunami was devastating to Japan and affected regions all around the Pacific Ocean, including here in Santa Cruz.

On the tenth anniversary of the earthquake and tsunami, Heather Savage and Kristina Okamoto of the UC Santa Cruz Seismology Lab discussed how and why the earthquake occurred and the lessons learned by earthquake scientists from this event. We also discussed how Japan has recovered since the earthquake.

About the speakers

Heather Savage | Associate Professor, Department of Earth & Planetary Sciences, UC Santa Cruz

Professor Heather Savage’s research focuses on earthquakes and faults. Using both laboratory experiments and field studies, she works on questions regarding the strength and stability of faults in order to improve our understanding of when and where larger earthquakes occur. She uses rock deformation and friction experiments at pressures and temperatures relevant to the seismogenic zone to study in situ fault conditions where earthquakes start. Heather uses field observations of fault structure, particularly mapping earthquake slip and fault damage zones, to provide windows into the processes that occur during earthquakes, such as heat production and chemical reaction, that affect fault zone mechanics. She has worked in a variety of geologic settings, studying faults in California, Nevada, Oklahoma, Alaska, Wyoming, Japan and New Zealand.

Kristina Okamoto | Graduate Student, Department of Earth & Planetary Sciences, UC Santa Cruz

Kristina Okamoto is a graduate student in the seismology lab at UCSC. Currently, she’s studying an induced earthquake sequence in Prague, Oklahoma in order to analyze the mechanics of earthquakes. She also uses laboratory experiments to explore the physics of friction at conditions relevant to earthquake depths.

FULL Out and About: Indigenous Culture of Santa Cruz

A child holds a basket of bay nuts.

Saturday, March 6 | 10-11 a.m.
Free (donations appreciated) | FULL

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

There is a rich history of Indigenous culture in Santa Cruz, originally named Aulinta by the Awaswas-speaking Uypi people. Join us for a morning exploring this Indigenous culture and the relationships between people, plants, and animals. We’ll learn about oral tradition, ethnobotany, and traditional tools outside in the Museum’s Garden Learning Center. Families are encouraged to attend, but all ages are welcome. Please review the following details prior to registering:

COVID PROTOCOL

  • Wear a mask at all times
  • If you feel sick, stay home
  • Maintain at least six feet of distance from others
  • We are limiting this to 12 individuals
  • Registration is required

Other ways to explore the Indigenous culture of Santa Cruz:

Register
Become a Member

Rockin’ Pop-Up: Biogenic Geology

When we think of geology and rocks, living things rarely jump to mind unless we’re talking about fossils. And when we think of fossils, we usually think of mineralized bones and shells or tell-tale impressions within sedimentary rocks. Some rocks, however, are made up entirely of the fossilized remains of once living creatures. These “biogenic” sedimentary rocks are an important part of the solid Earth and more common than you might think! The Geology Gents are no biologists, but they nonetheless explore biogenic sedimentary rocks and the incredible geologic histories they record.

About the Series: Join the Geology Gents, Gavin and Graham, 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. Graham Edwards and Gavin Piccione are PhD candidates in geochronology with the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences at UC Santa Cruz.

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

Long-term lessons: Perspectives on three years of mushroom monitoring in the Santa Cruz Mountains with Christian Schwarz

As mushroom hunters, we enjoy traveling far and wide, bouncing from place to place and following the rains to stay with the season. But what happens when we focus on revisiting the same small areas whether there has been rain or not? And what if we take it a step further, and rather than just harvesting chanterelles or photographing the flashiest species, we take the time to pay attention to everything, counting individual fruitbodies and keeping track of changes from year to to year?

Christian Schwarz has been undertaking just such an effort for the past three years, supported by a grant from the Save the Redwoods League, and this year, some of his survey transects were burned in the CZU Lightning Complex fires. Join the Kenneth S. Norris Center for Natural History, the San Lorenzo Valley Museum, and the Santa Cruz Museum of Natural History to hear what discoveries, lessons, and patterns have emerged from this ambitious project.

Resources

Watch past presentations from Christian:
Data is Not the Destination
Macabre Mushrooms: Ghouls of the Woods

Other resources:

About the speaker

Christian Schwarz is a naturalist currently living in Santa Cruz, the land of milk (caps) and honey (mushrooms). He studied Ecology and Evolution at UCSC, and now spends his time photographing, teaching about, collecting, and researching macrofungi. He is coauthor of Mushrooms of the Redwood Coast. Fungi satisfy his curiosity with their seemingly endless forms – from the grotesque to the bizarre to the sublimely beautiful. Besides dabbling in mushroom taxonomy, he loves fish, plants, nudibranchs, moths, and dragonflies. He is passionate about citizen science, especially iNaturalist.

This program is part of a series in support of the exhibit Look. Act. Inspire. and is presented in partnership between

Image result for san lorenzo valley museum

FULL 2/13 Member Meet-Up: Mushrooms of UC Santa Cruz

Two mushrooms with speckled brown patterns over white caps sprout up next to redwood sorrel.

Saturday, February 13 | 10 a.m. to noon
Member Exclusive | FULL

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 yet a Member? Join today!

‘Tis the season for mushrooms! The UC Santa Cruz campus is a treasure trove for fungiphiles, from the Campus Natural Reserve open spaces to the paths and roads that meander past buildings. For this Member Meet-Up, we will explore the Upper Campus Natural Reserve, share our discoveries, and work together to identify what we find. Your group guide will be our Public Programs Manager Marisa Gomez. Please review the following details prior to registering:

COVID PROTOCOL

  • Wear a mask at all times
  • If you feel sick, stay home
  • Maintain at least six feet of distance from others
  • We are limiting the number of Members who can join us to 12 individuals

WHAT TO EXPECT

  • Location details and further instructions will be shared upon registration.
  • Member Meet-Ups are more focused on shared exploration and less on downloading a bunch of information. We promise friendly (masked) faces, an abundance of enthusiasm, resources to aid in identifications, and a fun morning jaunt through the redwoods.
  • 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.
  • 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.

Register
Become a Member

Rockin’ Pop-Up: The Varieties of Volcanoes

This month, the Geology Gents explore how varied volcanoes can be. Graham Edwards and Gavin Piccione, PhD candidates in geochronology at UC Santa Cruz, put on blast how lava type affects the appearance of volcanoes and the way those volcanoes erupt.

About the Series: Join the Geology Gents, Gavin and Graham, 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. Graham Edwards and Gavin Piccione are PhD candidates in geochronology with the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences at UC Santa Cruz.

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