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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.

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.