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Art for Conservation with Megan Gnekow

Conservation and recovery of threatened and endangered species requires more than bringing individual organisms back from the brink. It also requires the restoration and recovery of ecological relationships that allow all organisms in an ecosystem to survive and thrive.

During this lecture with artist Megan Gnekow, we will explore how understanding and communicating food webs and other ecological relationships can help put some favorite (and famous!) creatures into context. We’ll also learn how creative use of science illustration can help tell these stories.

This program is in support of our science illustration exhibit, The Art of Nature, on view online and in-person.

Megan Gnekow

With formal training in a wide variety of media, Megan’s current work focuses primarily on honoring the fine details of the world and depicting the relationships between organisms in a wide variety of ecosystems. Her great passion is bringing people back to connection with the natural world through artistic experiences. She also volunteers for Resource Management at Pinnacles National Park, where she continues her training as an amateur naturalist. Megan spends most of her free time exploring the vast collection of ecosystems we call California. 

Collections Close-Up: Benitoite with Hilde Schwartz

There are few things more Californian than benitoite, a mineral formed within the low temperature, high pressure environment of subduction zones and sparsely sprinkled throughout serpentinite landscapes. While the mineral exists in isolated locations globally, gemstone quality material has only been found in California — one of the reason’s it was named our State Gemstone in 1985.

Learn about the geologic and cultural history of this mineral with Museum Collections Manager Kathleen Aston and Dr. Hilde Schwartz, lecturer in the Earth and Planetary Sciences Department at UC Santa Cruz, during this installment of our member-exclusive Collections Close-Up series.

Resources

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.

Coast Redwoods and Fire with Zane Moore

The CZU Lightning Complex fires burned roughly 80% of the old growth redwood forests in the Santa Cruz Mountains, notably including Big Basin, the largest contiguous stand of old growth redwoods south of Humboldt County. While it’s still unclear what the outcome of this fire complex will be, we can look to prior fires to see how the redwood trees might respond.

Join us as we discuss what is known about redwoods and fire, from historic fire intervals, to fire adaptations, to tree-level physiological and anatomical responses. We’ll also explore how severely trees were burned using ground and satellite measurements and what we may expect forest recovery to look like.

About the Speaker

Zane Moore is a doctoral student at UC Davis studying redwood development and genomics. He has studied redwood forests in the Santa Cruz Mountains since 2010 with a focus on albino redwoods, large redwood clones, dendrochronology (tree ring science), and tall trees. Zane has also been a docent at Big Basin since 2012, engaging in science communication with the public about these fascinating trees.

This program is part of the CZU Lightning Complex and Community Science Project in partnership between the California Native Plant Society, the Kenneth S. Norris Center for Natural History, the San Lorenzo Valley Museum, and the Santa Cruz Museum of Natural History.

Art+Science Research to Understand Joshua Tree Species Interactions Under Climate Change with Juniper Harrower

Joshua trees are threatened by the changing climate and may be extinct from their namesake park within a century. In this talk, Dr. Juniper Harrower will share her multimedia art and ecological research practice that investigates the impacts of climate change on Joshua trees and their critical symbiotic partners — a clever moth pollinator and an underground community of mycorrhizal fungi.

Join us to learn about how she brings together years of species monitoring in Joshua Tree National Park, DNA sequencing, experimental painting, animation, and an online dating site to meet Joshua trees!

This program is in support of our science illustration exhibit, The Art of Natureon view online and in-person at the Museum.

About the Artist

Specializing in species interactions under climate change, Dr. Juniper Harrower works across disciplines as both an ecologist and an artist. She uses rigorous science methods and a multimedia art practice to investigate human influence on ecological systems while seeking solutions that protect at-risk species and promote environmental justice.

Website: www.Juniperharrower.com
Instagram: @Juniperharrower

The Art of Nature Events

Rockin’ Pop-Up: Great Geologic Landmarks

Tourist season is upon us, the time when people pick-up and travel the world in search of new experiences, lasting memories, and unbelievable views. For this month’s Rockin’ Pop-Up, we’ll be taking a roadtrip through some of the great geologic landmarks of the United States, from Yellowstone to Yosemite, and Carlsbad Caverns to our own Pinnacles.

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

How a Botanical Artist Looks at a Rose with Maria Cecilia Freeman

Learn how to get to know a rose in order to illustrate it. We’ll explore native and heritage roses and observe their particular characteristics. During this online lecture, Maria Cecilia Freeman will demonstrate how to draw and paint petals, leaves, and other parts that help distinguish a rose. Once you draw the identifying parts of a particular rose, you’ll recognize it wherever you see it.

This program is in support of our science illustration exhibit, The Art of Nature, on view online and in-person at the Museum.

About the Artist

Maria Cecilia (Cissy) Freeman gardens, paints, and teaches in Aptos, where she finds or grows many of her plant subjects. Her work includes scientific illustration and botanically accurate fine art, often combining the two in graphite and watercolor studies. She takes a special interest in portraying native plant species with a view to their preservation, and she particularly loves drawing and painting heritage and species roses.

Her “Rose Studies” watercolors and drawings have appeared in solo exhibitions in Spello, Italy, at the Horticultural Society of New York, and at the San Francisco Botanical Garden. Her work has been included in juried exhibitions in the U.S. and Europe, and numerous publications. She is a member of the Northern California Society of Botanical Artists and the Guild of Natural Science Illustrators. To see her artwork, visit http://www.mcf-art.com.

The Art of Nature Events

Collections Close-Up: The Life and Legacy of Randall Morgan

There are few names in our local naturalist community that are as universally revered as that of Randall Morgan. Also known as Randy or R, Morgan was a pillar of the local natural history community.

Though he passed away a few years ago, his influence on the natural world and those who celebrate it in Santa Cruz is evident from the the Sandhills that his activism helped to save, to the local chapter of the California Native Plant Society that he helped found, to the Santa Cruz Museum of Natural History where he worked as a taxidermist to pay for studying linguistics at UC Santa Cruz. His legacy also lives on in the collections of the Kenneth S. Norris Center for Natural History.

Join Kathleen Aston, Collections Manager at the Santa Cruz Museum of Natural History, and Chris Lay, Director of the Kenneth S. Norris Center for Natural History, for an exploration of Randall Morgans life and legacy, including his collections, taxidermy, and conservation efforts.

This month’s Collections Close-Up is in sponsorship of the exhibit Look. Act. Inspire., celebrating the naturalists of Santa Cruz County. It is presented in partnership between the Kenneth S. Norris Center for Natural History, the San Lorenzo Valley Museum, and the Santa Cruz Museum of Natural History.

Resources for further exploration


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

Exhibit Opening Reception: The Art of Nature

We’re celebrating 33 years of exhibiting science illustration at the Santa Cruz Museum of Natural History with an online opening reception for this year’s The Art of Nature.

Featuring staff exhibit curators Liz Broughton (Visitor Services Manager), Marisa Gomez (Public Programs Manager), and Felicia Van Stolk (Executive Director), as well as artists Sami Chang and Megan Gnekow (artist curator).

Rockin’ Pop-Up: The Moon!

The earth rises over the surface of the moon.

Geology literally means the study of the Earth, so why are we digging into the Moon for this month’s Rockin’ Pop-Up? Well, as the Geology Gents put it, “The moon is basically the Earth.” Say what? Don’t worry, all will be revealed. This month, learn about the formation of our moon and how scientists study it.

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

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.