fbpx

1/28 2023 Laura Hecox Day

Join us for a FREE festive day celebrating the past, present, and future of sharing the wonder of nature and science exploration in Santa Cruz County. You’ll connect with today’s local environmental leaders and partner organizations to learn and have fun just outside the Museum doors in Tyrrell Park.

  • Free admission to the Museum and outdoor activities
  • Explore historical collections
  • Create nature crafts
  • Play games
  • Food for sale from Areperia 831
  • Connect with partner organizations including:
    • Wilder Ranch State Park
    • Año Nuevo State Park
    • Women in Science and Engineering
    • Santa Cruz Public Libraries
    • Capitola Historical Museum
    • Pigeon Point Station
    • UCSC Earth and Planetary Science
    • Sempervirens Fund
    • and more!

Saturday, January 28, 2023
11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Outside the Museum in Tyrrell Park
1305 E. Cliff Dr., Santa Cruz

Free! Drop-by any time.

About Laura Hecox

The Santa Cruz Museum of Natural History’s Laura Hecox Day celebrates the pioneering lighthouse keeper and naturalist Laura Hecox, whose personal collections founded Santa Cruz’s first museum over 117 years ago. We honor her legacy by highlighting curiosity, amateur naturalists sharing their enthusiasm with others while spotlighting women and other under-represented groups working in science, and the inspiration found in helping connect our community with nature. Learn more about our Founder. 

The Laura Hecox Naturalist Award

The Laura Hecox Naturalist Award honors Santa Cruz County community members who exemplify the Museum’s mission to connect people with nature and science by helping others to appreciate, understand, and protect the natural world. Help us celebrate this year’s recipient, Susan Blake, during a brief ceremony at 11 a.m. followed by a celebration and free Museum admission all day.

Transforming Taxidermy: Remembering Richard Gurnee

Watsonville native Richard Gurnee pioneered a freeze-drying technique that revolutionized the field of scientific taxidermy. Though he passed away in late 2022, his legacy will live on through the many organizations that share his specimens with the community through nature centers, museums, and educational programs.

Join the Kenneth S. Norris Center for Natural History, Santa Cruz Museum of Natural History, and Watsonville Wetlands Watch for a look back on his life and celebrate his lasting legacy.

Resources

1/21 Fall Creek After Fire: Exploring the CZU Burn Zone with State Parks

The Fall Creek Unit of Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park has reopened after nearly two years 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.

Saturday, January 21, 2023
10 a.m. to noon

Location details shared upon registration
Free

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 State Park staff or docents.

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

Accessibility and COVID protocol

  • Participants should be prepared to walk up to 2 miles on moderate terrain.
  • Youth under the age of 14 must be accompanied by an adult.
  • Capacity is limited for this program. Please let us know if your plans change and you are no longer able to join.
  • Follow the latest guidelines for COVID safety at the time of the event.

FULL 1/21 Member Meet-Up: Exploring the Tide Pools of The Hook

The January new moon bring with it some of the best low tides of the year (often called the “King Tides”). This phenomenon is the perfect time 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).

Saturday, January 21, 2023
3-5 p.m.

This program has reached capacity. Email events@santacruzmuseum.org to be added to a waitlist.
This program is part of our Member Meet-Up series. Not a Member yet? Join today!

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 4:25 p.m. and sunset is 5:22 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. 

FULL 1/14 Family Fun with Salamanders!

Winter is a great time for getting to know local amphibians. Join our Education Coordinator Chris Soriano for a fun morning in the redwoods looking for salamanders! We’ll explore the woods, learn how to find salamanders, and practice turning over logs and rocks in ways that protect critters.

Saturday, January 14, 2023
10 a.m. to noon
Location: UC Santa Cruz

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

  • 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.

1/11 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, January 11, 2023
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.

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. 

FULL 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!

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

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.

Fungus February 2023

Join the Santa Cruz Museum of Natural History for a month of fungi fun at the Museum and in nature. Uncover the mycological marvels of the forest floor guided by experts, capture the beauty and biodiversity of mushrooms through art, and connect with with your community over a shared love of mushrooms.

FULL 2/4 Mushroom Walk with Phil Carpenter

Join Phil Carpenter for a walk in the woods searching for fungi! Phil is one of the leaders of the Fungus Federation of Santa Cruz.

2/4 Nature Club: Finding Fungus at DeLaveaga (Grades 6-8)

Nature Club takes young explorers (6th-8th Grade) into local habitats to learn about the amazing living world around us while making discoveries along the way. This month we will explore the forests and trails of DeLaveaga Park looking for a kingdom of life best viewed in the winter: fungi! The great variety of trees in these forests supports a huge amount of fungal life. Learn more about the amazing decomposers and how they support their ecosystems!

2/8 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. February’s theme will be Finding Fascination with Fungi.

FULL 2/11 Mushrooms of the Santa Cruz Mountains Walk with Christian Schwarz

Join Christian Schwarz for a guided exploration of the beauty and biodiversity of the Santa Cruz Mountains with a particular emphasis on the mushrooms of the redwood coast. Hone your observational skills and celebrate the myriad creatures that surround us during this limited capacity walk. There is another session on February 12.

FULL 2/12 Mushrooms of the Santa Cruz Mountains Walk with Christian Schwarz

Join Christian Schwarz for a guided exploration of the beauty and biodiversity of the Santa Cruz Mountains with a particular emphasis on the mushrooms of the redwood coast. Hone your observational skills and celebrate the myriad creatures that surround us during this limited capacity walk. There is another session on February 11.

FULL 2/11 Family Fun: Mushroom Scavenger Hunt!

Join educators from the Santa Cruz Museum of Natural History for a scavenger hunt in the woods! We’ll look for mushrooms and make observations of their fascinating features. Family Fun programs are great for elementary aged kids and their families, but all ages are welcome.

2/15 Book Talk: The Lichen Museum with Laurie Palmer

Laurie Palmer’s forthcoming book, The Lichen Museum, explores how the physiological characteristics of lichens provide a valuable template for reimagining human relations in an age of ecological and social precarity. Using this tiny organism as an emblem through which to navigate environmental and social concerns, Palmer implores us to envision alternative ways of living based on interdependence rather than individualism and competition.

FULL 2/18 The Art of Fungi Workshop with Andrea Dingeldein

Join Andrea (science illustrator) and Marisa (fungiphile and Museum staff) for a day full of fungal exploration — from forest foraging to science illustration! Bring along your own nature journaling tools and materials or use the ones provided, and walk away with a new set of skills and knowledge to help you connect with nature.

FULL 2/25 Member Meet-Up: Lichens with Ken Kellman

Lichens are all around, yet seldom understood. Join us for a special Member Meet-Up with Museum Member Ken Kellman, where we will look closely at a variety of lichen species and learn to better understood their unique qualities. Member Meet-Ups are free, small group get-togethers in nature exclusively for Members of the Museum — join today!

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.