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9/14 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, September 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 outside the Museum in Tyrrell Park, but sometimes sessions are held inside (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.

9/10 Community Crafting: Celebrating Biodiversity Day!

Pop-by the Museum to contribute to community crafts celebrating biodiversity! All ages are welcome, materials are provided, and stay for as long as you like. Activities include a macrame food web, biodiversity mural, nature bingo, and more.

Saturday, September 10, 2022
1-4 p.m.

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

Accessibility

  • Drop-by anytime 1-4 p.m. to join the fun!
  • Follow the latest guidelines for for covid safety.
  • Restrooms and water fountains are available inside the Museum.
  • Activities will be on somewhat lumpy grass.

9/7 Volunteer Orientation

Interested in building community and connecting with nature? Volunteer with the Santa Cruz Museum of Natural History!  Join us for our fall Volunteer Orientation to get started. You’ll explore opportunities, learn about the Museum, and connect with fellow nature enthusiasts over snacks!

Wednesday, September 7, 2022
5:30-7 p.m. at the Museum
Register for more details

More about volunteering

Volunteers get access to special events, in-depth training and resources, and opportunities for growth and stewardship.

From supporting our school group visits, gardening, helping with special events, collecting data out in nature, engaging with the public at community events, or enhancing our collection records, there are plenty of ways to get involved and volunteer with the Museum. Check out all of our volunteer opportunities.

Youth under the age of 14 need a guardian present for all volunteerism. Youth who are at least 14 can volunteer independently with parental permission. Guardians are encouraged to attend the orientations.

Opportunities are available for volunteers of all abilities.

Help support our mission to help people connect with nature and science to inspire stewardship of the natural world and join our community of volunteers!

9/2 First Friday After Hours | Fire🔥

Nerd out on your night out during special after hours events every First Friday.💥🍻 Free admission all day, with special outdoor festivities 5-8 p.m.

September’s First Friday event is going to be hot.🔥 Learn about fire ecology, preparedness, and recovery through interactive outdoor exhibits and activities led by experts in the field. Partners include:

Friday, September 2, 2022
5-8 p.m.
Location: Outside the Santa Cruz Museum of Natural History

Accessibility

  • Drop-by anytime 5-8 p.m. to join the festivities!
  • Admission to the Museum is free all day from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.
  • Follow the latest guidelines for covid safety.
  • Restrooms and water fountains are available inside the Museum.
  • Activities will be on somewhat lumpy grass.

FULL 8/27 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 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.

Saturday, August 27, 2022
10 a.m. to noon

Location details shared upon registration | Free

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

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.

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.

8/21 Birthday Bash! Celebrating 117 Years

Celebrate Santa Cruz’s first museum on its 117th birthday! Join the Santa Cruz Museum of Natural History for a festive day of fun activities, games, and treats connecting you with nature and science in honor of the Museum’s long history serving Santa Cruz, and its exciting future.

Free admission to the Museum all day, with outdoor festivities 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Featuring:

  • Giant bubbles
  • Cornhole
  • Make your own kite
  • Special collections
  • Rock ID station with local geologists
  • Santa Cruz Public Libraries
  • Wilder Ranch State Park
  • Friends of Juristac
  • Food from Areperia 831 and Penny Ice Creamery

Sunday, August 21, 2022
11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Location: Outside the Santa Cruz Museum of Natural History

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. Permits required on the right side of the Museum block of Pilkington Ave. Event attendees can receive permits at the info booth.
  • Follow the latest guidelines for covid safety.
  • Restrooms and water fountains are available inside the Museum.
  • Activities will be on somewhat lumpy grass.

FULL 8/14 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 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.

Sunday, August 14, 2022
10 a.m. to noon
Location details shared upon registration. Free.

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

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.


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 8/13 Family Fun with Sand Castles

Build your own sand castle at Castle Beach! Join the Santa Cruz Museum of Natural History for August’s Family Fun event where we’ll play on the beach, learn about the science of sand, and use recycled materials to re-create our own versions of the historical Scholl Marr Castle, which used to stand at the entrance of what is known today as Seabright Beach.

Space is limited, so register in advance for this afternoon of free family fun. Location details shared upon registration.

Saturday, August 13, 2022
10 a.m. to noon
Free! Donations Appreciated

Accessibility

  • Be prepared to walk on loose sandy soil. 
  • Restrooms are available at the beach and inside the Museum.
  • Youth under the age of 14 must be accompanied by an adult.
  • We recommend that everyone wear closed-toed shoes, 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.

Seabright and the Castle: Then and Now with Dr. Gary Griggs

Santa Cruz’s scenic coastline has long enthralled residents and visitors alike, yet storms, relentless waves, and human impacts have and will continue to change our coastline. Join Dr. Gary Griggs for an examination of these processes through the lens of one of Santa Cruz’s most iconic beaches.

This program is in support of our latest exhibit Remembering Castle Beach.

More About the Talk

Castle (or Seabright) Beach went from being a very narrow seasonal beach to the one of the widest in the county following the construction of the Santa Cruz Small Craft Harbor. Seabright has long been a unique neighborhood with a character that has survived for well over a century. It was considered to be out in the country by Santa Cruz standards when it was first developed as a seaside resort in the 1880s. For years a rather makeshift footbridge over the San Lorenzo River was the main route into town. Each winter it had to be removed to keep the river from washing it away, and Seabright residents had to walk across the railroad bridge, considered dangerous at the time as there was no pedestrian walk as there is today.

Accessibility

  • A recording and follow-up resources will be shared with registrants after the program.
  • This program will be in English.
  • We will be using the webinar format, meaning that participants’ video and mic functions will be disabled.
  • Reasonable accommodation requests can be made by emailing events@santacruzmuseum.org.

About the Speaker

Gary Griggs is a Distinguished Professor of Earth & Planetary Sciences at the University of California Santa Cruz, where he has taught for 54 years. He received his B.A. in Geological Sciences in 1965 from the University of California Santa Barbara and a Ph.D. in Oceanography from Oregon State University in 1968. Gary served as the Director of the University’s Institute of Marine Sciences for 26 years, where he led the development of a Coastal Science Campus. His research, teaching, writing and lectures have been focused on the coast of California and include coastal processes, hazards, and the impacts of and responses to sea-level rise. In 1998 he was given the Outstanding Physical and Biological Sciences Faculty Award at U.C. Santa Cruz, and the Alumni Association honored him with a Distinguished Teaching Award in 2006. The California Coastal Commission and Sunset Magazine named him one of California’s Coastal Heroes in 2009, and in 2010 he was elected to the California Academy of Sciences. Gary chaired a committee in 2017 recommended by Governor Brown to update California’s sea-level rise projections. In 2016 he was appointed to the California Ocean Science Trust. Gary is also a member of the California Ocean Protection Council’s Science Advisory Team and served as chair of California’s 4th Climate Assessment Committee on Coasts and Ocean.

Gary has written 13 books including: Living with the Changing California Coast, Introduction to California’s Beaches and Coast, The California Coast from the Air, Coasts in Crisis – A Global Challenge, The Edge – The Pressured Past and Precarious Future of California’s Coast, Between Paradise and Peril – The Natural Disaster History of the Monterey Bay Region, and most recently The Ominous Ocean: Rogue Waves, Rip Currents and other Dangers along the Shoreline and at Sea.

8/5 First Friday After Hours | High Tides and Good Vibes

Nerd out on your night out during special after hours events every First Friday. Free admission all day, with special outdoor festivities 5-8 p.m.

August’s First Friday event is shore to bay a good time. Dive deep into changing tides and coastal critters, while connecting with folks who connect with the coast on the daily. Food and adult drinks will be available as you cruise through the event. Partners include:

  • Amah Mutsun Elder Eleanor Castro
  • Areperia 831
  • Black Surf Club
  • City of Santa Cruz Climate Action Program
  • Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute
  • The Plankton Monitoring Group
  • Pacific Grove Museum of Natural History
  • Sea Otter Savvy

Friday, August 5, 2022
5-8 p.m.
Location: Outside the Santa Cruz Museum of Natural History

Accessibility

  • Drop-by anytime 5-8 p.m. to join the festivities!
  • Admission to the Museum is free all day from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.
  • Follow the latest guidelines for covid safety.
  • Restrooms and water fountains are available inside the Museum.
  • Activities will be on somewhat lumpy grass.