Here are activities you can do outdoors, at home and/or online!

Cuatro Ciénegas Coahuila. Pozas Azules en el ejido de antiguos mineros. Marzo 2011.

Science: Pools in the Mexican desert are a window into Earth’s early life, Rodrigo Pérez Ortega, Jun. 30

Valeria Souza Saldívar never planned to devote her life to a remote and ancient oasis more than 1000 kilometers north of her laboratory in Mexico City. But a call in early 1999 changed that. “It’s one of the best cold calls I’ve ever made,” says James Elser, a limnologist at the University of Montana. He had picked up the phone to invite Souza Saldívar to join a NASA-funded astrobiology project in Cuatro Ciénegas—a butterfly-shaped basin with colorful pools, or pozas, in the middle of Mexico’s Chihuahuan Desert.The landscape—more than 300 turquoise-blue pozas scattered across 800 square kilometers, among marshes and majestic mountains—wasn’t the only draw. The waters, whose chemistry resembled that of Earth’s ancient seas, teemed with microbes; unusual bacterial mats and formations called stromatolites carpeted the shallows. Read more HERE.

Birds Of Bear Creek Redwood, Free Bird Language Webinar, July 17, noon – 1 pm

Ever wonder about a bird you heard while walking through the redwoods? Could you figure out what it is, and what it was saying? Join Local Naturalist Jeff Kaplan for a fun and educational webinar about birds in one of Midpen’s new open spaces Bear Creek Redwoods Preserve! Jeff will teach you about common birds you might meet when you’re out on the trails using bird language and other tools. This basic birding webinar will be great for all ages, especially kids and adults ages 12 and up! All registrants will receive the access link prior to the event. Jeff Caplan has more than 30 years of experience as a naturalist and a teacher of communication skills.  More here: Common Language For Nature.

Indigenous Environmental Network: A People’s Orientation to a Regenerative Economy

“This … guides us collectively into a sustainable future, wherein Indigenous sovereignty and values are front and center. This is important because in order to visualize a better path forward, we must reconceptualize our framing away from the capitalistic systems that harm our Grandmother Earth, our Father Sky, our communities, our families, and our futures. We must recognize the way governmental infrastructure, jobs, the environment, and our communities are being negatively impacted by not only the climate crisis and demise of capitalism, but also the way these impacts are exacerbated by a global pandemic with Covid-19. It is our stance that the problems created and perpetuated by colonization and capitalism cannot find solutions in those same frames.” More HERE.

New York Times, Cara Giaimo, July 2: White-Throated Sparrow’s Song Changed

Even if you’re not a bird person, you probably know the jaunty song of the white-throated sparrow. It plays on loop in North America’s boreal forests, a classic as familiar as the chickadee’s trill and the mourning dove’s dirge. It even has its own mnemonic, “Old Sam Peabody-Peabody-Peabody.” But over the past half-century, the song’s hook — its triplet ending — has changed, replaced by a new, doublet-ended variant, according to a paper published Thursday in Current Biology. It seems the sparrows want to sing something new. Go HERE to listen.

Life Lab: BackPocket Activities for Home or Garden

BackPocket” Activities are easy to do, minimal materials needed, no screen, engaging for kids. Activities are not screen-based (with exception of some instructional videos). They encourage outdoor exploration such as on your porch, yard, or garden. Most everything you need to do these activities you already have. Healthy, plant-based recipes with easily accessible ingredients. Plus tried and true recipes.

YES! Magazine: Learn What Kelp Forests Can Do for the Climate

The capacity to draw CO2 from the atmosphere has added “climate mitigation” to kelp’s list of benefits. When we talk about ways oceans can sequester carbon, the conversation typically revolves around mangroves, salt marshes, and seagrass meadows. But “the magnitude of carbon sequestered by algal forests is comparable to that of all those three habitats together,” says Carlos Duarte, a professor of marine science at the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology in Saudi Arabia. “Algal forests should not be left behind. They have been hidden for much too long.” This story HERE.

Environment America: Virtual Climate Film Festival, July 7, 12, 19 & 24 FREE!

Join us this July for our virtual climate film festival. Sign up for the festival and you will get access to a new film each week. You can watch all of them or as many as fit into your schedule. You’ll watch the film on your own time over the designated weekend, and join us for a discussion the following week. Films include: An Inconvenient Sequel; The Time to Choose; Chasing Ice; Happening; & The Oldest City Underwater.


State Parks 4th of July Weekend Closures

California State Parks will also be temporarily closing vehicular access at all beaches July 3 & 4 in Marin, Monterey, Orange, San Diego, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Barbara, Santa Cruz and Sonoma counties. There are no public parking facilities and parking on roadways is prohibited in all state beaches within these counties. Although beaches are open to local residents that can walk or bike into these public outdoor spaces, provided that they practice physical distance and abide to new visitor guidelines, congregating is not allowed.


Dip your toes into the world of algae with this illustrated guide to local species and foraging ethics. Download HERE.

National Geo: Murmation, Flight of the Starlings

We know a lot of factual information about the starling—its size and voice, where it lives, how it breeds and migrates—but what remains a mystery is how it flies in murmurations, or flocks, without colliding. This short film by Jan van IJken was shot in the Netherlands, and it captures the birds gathering at dusk, just about to start their “performance.” Listen well and you’ll be able to hear how this beautiful phenomenon got its name. On YouTube.

YES! Magazine: Robin Wall Kimmerer, “Nature Needs A New Pronoun” (Excerpts)

“To stop the age of extinction, let’s ditch the “it”.
Let me make here a modest proposal for the transformation of the English language, a kind of reverse linguistic imperialism, a shift in worldview through the humble work of the pronoun. Might the path to sustainability be marked by grammar?
Inspired by the grammar of animacy and with full recognition of its Anishinaabe roots, might we hear the new pronoun at the end of Bemaadiziiaaki, nestled in the part of the word that means land?
“Ki” to signify a being of the living Earth. Not “he” or “she,” but “ki.” So that when we speak of Sugar Maple, we say, ‘Oh that beautiful tree, ki is giving us sap again this spring.” And we’ll need a plural pronoun, too, for those Earth beings. Let’s make that new pronoun “kin.” So we can now refer to birds and trees not as things, but as our earthly relatives. On a crisp October morning we can look up at the geese and say, “Look, kin are flying south for the winter. Come back soon.”
Language can be a tool for cultural transformation. Make no mistake: “Ki” and “kin” are revolutionary pronouns. Words have power to shape our thoughts and our actions. On behalf of the living world, let us learn the grammar of animacy.”

Patagonia: Learn About Regenerative Organic Farming

Regenerative Organic (RO) is the highest organic standard; it goes beyond “doing less harm” to rehabilitate soil, protect animals and improve the lives of workers. Together, these results represent a more natural way of producing food, a way that’s worked for thousands of years in the past, and one that we need for our future. Instead of adding carbon to the atmosphere, as industrial agriculture does, regenerative organic farming draws carbon out of the air and stores it in the ground. Because healthy soil traps significantly more carbon, regenerative organic agriculture could be the key to helping stop climate change. Learn MORE.

Learn About the Environmental Justice Movement

The environmental justice movement emerged in the late 1980s when a blistering report exposed massive disparities in the burden of environmental degradation and pollution facing minority and low-income communities. These issues existed and had been recognized previously, most notably in 1982 in Warren County, North Carolina, where thousands of tons of PCB-ridden soil was intentionally dumped in a facility in an African American community despite the community’s protest (see photo above). This incident and others sparked research into the environmental and health burden born by these communities, culminating with the publishing of the study Toxic Wastes and Race in 1987. Championed primarily by African-Americans, Latinos, Asians and Pacific Islanders and Native Americans, the environmental justice movement addresses a statistical fact: people who live, work and play in America’s most polluted environments are commonly people of color and the poor. Environmental justice advocates have shown that this is no accident. Communities of color, which are often poor, are routinely targeted to host facilities that have negative environmental impacts — say, a landfill, dirty industrial plant or truck depot. The statistics provide clear evidence of what the movement rightly calls “environmental racism.” Communities of color have been battling this injustice for decades. Learn more HERE.

Image from Grist

Sierra Club: What is A Green New Deal?

“A Green New Deal is a big, bold transformation of the economy to tackle the twin crises of inequality and climate change. It would mobilize vast public resources to help us transition from an economy built on exploitation and fossil fuels to one driven by dignified work and clean energy.
The status quo economy leaves millions behind. While padding the pockets of corporate polluters and billionaires, it exposes working class families, communities of color, and others to stagnant wages, toxic pollution, and dead-end jobs. The climate crisis only magnifies these systemic injustices, as hard-hit communities are hit even harder by storms, droughts, and flooding. Entrenched inequality, meanwhile, exacerbates the climate crisis by depriving frontline communities of the resources needed to adapt and cope. Climate change and inequality are inextricably linked. We cannot tackle one without addressing the other. A Green New Deal would take on both.” More HERE.

Coastal Watershed Council: Action Projects Guide

There are several ways we can all help protect our San Lorenzo River, habitat for hundreds of incredible plant and animal species. This Guide provides opportunities to learn about, explore, and protect the San Lorenzo River from inside your home, around your neighborhood, and along the Santa Cruz Riverwalk! All-ages activities for youth, adults, and families. Some activities require adult supervision.
The guide includes opportunities to: learn about river protection and create a poster to share with your family and neighbors; and to research animals and plants of the San Lorenzo River and create an art project to share information with your community.

Arboretum Gardens are Reopening June 29!

The UCSC Arboretum & Botanic Garden is very happy to announce that our gardens are reopening Monday, June 29. Our hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., every day. Admission is $5 for adults, $2 for children, and free to our members and volunteers. Please follow social distancing protocols, wear a mask, and bring your own drinking water.
In addition to donations, the Arboretum relies heavily on memberships, plant sales, and admissions to fund our vital operations, including maintaining our collections, plant propagation, and conservation seed banking. Unfortunately, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we were unable to hold our Spring Plant Sale and have been closed to the public, resulting in a significant loss of income over the last three months.
We are in desperate need of your support! If you would like to become a member, or renew, you can do so HERE.

A Climate Of Hope, August 5, 3 – 5 pm

A seminar about solving the challenges of rising temperatures together. Let’s Beat the Heat! Our guest speakers will discuss how our agricultural community is being affected by rising temperatures and share strategies for centering climate actions and solutions on equity. Join optional Virtual Networking meeting after the webinar to continue the conversation. Speakers: Rebecca Garcia, Mayor of Watsonville; Assemblymember Robert RIvas, 30th District Calif.; Yana Garcia, Deputy Secretary for Environmental Justice, Tribal Affairs and Border Relations; Claudia Pineda Tibbs, Sustainability Professional and Conservation Communicator, La Eco Latina; Javier Zamora, JSM Organics; Dr. Flavio Cornejo, Salud Para la Gente. More info and registration HERE.

Cabrillo College Astro 7: Planetary Climate Science, Dr. Rick Nolthenius. Online beginning Aug 24

Applies scientific principles to explain planetary atmospheres, climate in general and Earth’s climate in particular, including current climate change causes and effects. $230 for 4.5 units of fully transferable college credit. Register.

Advanced Permaculture Design Course, Aug 29 – Sept 5

Do you want to gain more permaculture design experience? This 8-day Advanced Design Course is an excellent follow-up to a Permaculture Design Course. Join Dave Boehnlein of Terra Phoenix Design and the Bullock’s Permaculture Homestead and David Shaw of Santa Cruz Permaculture while we practice together and share what we’ve learned over the years. More INFO


1. National Institutes for Environmental Health Sciences—Resources for Educators
2. Classroom Activities—Superfund
3. Taking it to the Class: Green Projects for the Classroom
4. Environmental Justice Teacher Resources
5. Center for Ecogenics and Environmental Health—Resources for Educators

6. And learn more at NAACP Santa Cruz County

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The New Yorker: What Will It Take to Cool The Planet? By Bill McKibben

“This week’s newsletter is a little different, in that I mainly want to encourage you to watch a Video and then play with a Website. Both come from the remarkable people at Climate Interactive, a project that grew out of M.I.T.’s Sloan School of Management. I’ve admired the group’s co-directors, Elizabeth Sawin and Andrew Jones, for many years, and watched their En-roads simulator grow from fairly crude beginnings into a truly sophisticated and useful model. It allows you to change different variables to see what it would take to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions enough to get us off our current impossible track (screeching toward a world something like four degrees Celsius hotter) and onto the merely miserable heading of 1.5 to two degrees Celsius envisioned in the Paris climate accords.”

Santa Cruz Museum of Natural History: “The Museum At Your Side”

A collection of dozens of hands-on activities, informative articles, and engaging videos to connect you with nature and science wherever you are! There are resources in 3 areas. Community Resources: Activities, guides, lectures, workshops, guided nature experiences, and other resources to support your nature explorations from home or while outside. Activities for Kids: Family-friendly and youth-focused activities, videos, articles, and more to aid in your nature exploration! And, Resources for Teachers: Activities, worksheets, videos, and more developed to support standards and formal learning. Check them out HERE!


NOAA’s “Species in the Spotlight Initiative”: Coho Salmon, 5 minute video

NOAA Fisheries launched the Species in the Spotlight Initiative in 2015 for the nine species at the greatest risk of extinction, and Central California Coast coho salmon is one of those species. NOAA Fisheries recently completed a video highlighting the initiative and some of the great work that is being done to recover this species. I hope you enjoy the video and share it widely. See Species in the Spotlight: CCC coho salmon

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SC Natural History Museum: Sourgrass Natural Dye Video Tutorial

Sourgrass (Oxalis sp.) is a plant of extremes: children love its strong flavor, pollinators gorge on its abundant nectar, many adore its ability to overwhelm a field when in bloom, and many still detest the invasive qualities of some of its species. Oxalis pes-caprae, native to South Africa, has made itself comfortably at home in California, forming dense mats that outcompete native plant species for light and space.
Whether you love it or can’t stand it, sourgrass has an interesting hidden quality that is both useful and exciting: it dyes fabric a vibrant, neon, highlighter-yellow color.

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Coastal Watershed Council: Become a Steelhead Trout Expert

Steelhead trout are one of the native fish species that calls the San Lorenzo River home. They have a very unique life cycle. Steelhead trout are born and grow up in the river. When they become adults, steelhead trout migrate to the ocean, where they spend up to three years feeding on rich ocean food and growing bigger. Steelhead trout eventually return to the San Lorenzo River to spawn (lay eggs), beginning the cycle anew. In this activity, you will: observe the unique life cycle of steelhead trout in YouTube videos; read text to become experts on one life stage; and create a poster sharing what you learned about your life stage with your class, friends or family. LINK

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Elkhorn Slough Reserve Presents: Estuary Steward Challenge

Here are actions we can take in our lives to make everyday Earth Day. Each day, challenge yourself to try a different way to protect estuaries, even while sheltering in place. Snap a photo of yourself completing one of those tasks and add to #EstuaryStewards! Post your photos on our Facebook page!

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Organic Farming Research Foundation: New Digital Toolkit for Climate Advocacy

At OFRF, we’ve been working on a virtual campaign to inspire, educate, and inform people on how best organic practices help mitigate climate change and build resilience—leading to healthy people, ecosystems, and economies. Our goal is to encourage more consumers to purchase organic food and increase demand so that together we can expand organic acres to: Capture and store more carbon in the soil for longer; Release fewer greenhouse gases; Help farmers and ranchers increase resilience to rising temperatures and intensified droughts and rain events that make it more challenging to grow crops and raise livestock.
The campaign, A Path to Resilience, launched with the hashtag #OrganicforClimate. It features a series of posts across social media presenting farmer stories, educational content, and compelling data points. Check out their new digital toolkit HERE

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Bioneers Radio Series: Revolution From The Heart

The Bioneers Revolution from the Heart of Nature is an award-winning annual 13-part radio and audio series featuring breakthrough solutions for people and planet. The greatest social and scientific innovators of our time celebrate the genius of nature and human ingenuity. The kaleidoscopic scope covers biomimicry, ecological design, social and racial justice, women’s leadership, ecological medicine, indigenous knowledge, spirituality and psychology. It’s leading-edge, hopeful, charismatic, provocative, timely and timeless – like nothing you’ve heard before. Here’s one of them – Erosion & Evolution, Our Undoing is Our Becoming, by Terry Tempest Williams


Audubon Society: Take your birding to the next level.

Now that native plants are helping you attract more birds, do you need help identifying them? Audubon’s award-winning Bird Guide App puts more than 3,000 photos, audio clips of songs and calls, and general information about more than 800 bird species at your fingertips—and best of all, it’s free. Our app makes it easier than ever to identify a bird you just saw. Enter your observations—What color was it? How big?—and Bird ID will narrow down a list of possible matches for your location and date in real time. The Bird Guide App will also help you keep track of every bird you see visiting your native plants. It’s the best bird resources all in one app – download HERE and try it today!

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Elkhorn Slough Reserve Presents: Estuary Steward Challenge

Here are actions we can take in our lives to make everyday Earth Day. Each day, challenge yourself to try a different way to protect estuaries, even while sheltering in place. Snap a photo of yourself completing one of those tasks and add to #EstuaryStewards! Post your photos on our Facebook page!

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Monterey Salmon and Trout Project’s Virtual Field Trips, May 4. 11, 18, 25, June 1 & 8

“Hello! We have some fun for you!! Six virtual field trips! We’ll go on a journey through the watershed following the life of a salmon from the headwaters of a local river to the sea. Our naturalist will meet you on Zoom and show you the world of the salmon. You can ask questions and your naturalist will help you find the answers, LIVE! The 50-minute sessions will be each Monday at 1 PM starting on May 4. For each virtual field trip topic there is a home activity that you can try in advance. Doing the advance experiments will take about 60 to 90 minutes each. Join the Monterey Bay Salmon & Trout Project for the first of six virtual sessions – set up to be fun and engaging! In the May 4th segment, we’ll explore how salmon build nests and lay eggs and how those eggs develop into little fish. What happens to the parent fish? You’re going to have to register to find out!”

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Drone Disguised as Hummingbird Captures Closeup of Monarch Butterfly Swarm

It’s not very often that I watch a video online and react by literally gasping and audibly saying “wow.” This video is simply incredible. In this video from Nature on PBS, you’ll be able to get super close to resting Monarch Butterflies. As they wait for the temperature to rise, they huddle together to keep warm. Without disturbing any of the butterflies, they’ve managed to take close-up footage of the butterflies. The way they’ve managed to do this is by disguising a drone to look like a Hummingbird.  Hummingbirds are not a threat to the monarch butterflies, and for that reason they don’t react to it at all.

Screen Shot 2020-04-30 at 4.17.48 PM.pngEnvironmental Activism in the Age of Coronavirus, May 6, 8 – 9 am

The Right Livelihood College at UC Santa Cruz and Right Livelihood Foundation have organized a series of online Conversations That Matter this spring and summer. Right Livelihood Award laureates are among those who have implemented large-scale solutions to the root causes of global problems. Now, and in the years immediately ahead, we have an unprecedented opportunity to amplify these ecological and social solutions, frameworks, policies, and social movements. (Registration not necessary)


Satellite Reveals Antarctica’s Melting Like Never Before. New York Times, April 30

New data from space is providing the most precise picture yet of Antarctica’s ice, where it is accumulating most quickly and disappearing at the fastest rate, and how the changes could contribute to rising sea levels. See article HERE

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Bioneers Presents Newly Released Edition of “Four Changes” by Gary Snyder

In July 2016, Jack Loeffler recorded Gary Snyder reading his updated version of ‘Four Changes’ in his home. This recorded version was prepared for and included in a major exhibition held at the History Museum of New Mexico at the Palace of the Governors in Santa Fe. The exhibition was entitled ‘Voices of Counterculture in the Southwest’, and Snyder’s rendering of ‘Four Changes’ aptly conveyed how deeply the counterculture movement helped nurture the emerging environmental movement. The impact of this manifesto is as powerful today as it was a half century ago and could not be more timely.
Listen HERE

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Elkhorn Slough Reserve Presents their Estuary Steward Challenge

Here are actions we can take in our lives to make everyday Earth Day. Each day, challenge yourself to try a different way to protect estuaries, even while sheltering in place. Snap a photo of yourself completing one of those tasks and add to #EstuaryStewards! Post your photos on our Facebook page!


Bioneers Provides Free Downloadable PDF of Their Book: Ecological Medicine

In light of the pandemic, we’re releasing a free downloadable pdf of our 2004 Bioneers book: Ecological Medicine: Healing the Earth, Healing Ourselves, which could hardly be more relevant right now. Ecological medicine is a unifying field that embodies the recognition that human and environmental health are one notion, indivisible. It’s also a metaphor for the healing process intrinsic to life that applies to both ecosystems and our bodies. Modern medicine’s separation from nature is at the root of many tragedies, both human and environmental, and the current pandemic is an object lesson in how disastrous that disconnection is to us as a society and civilization.


Save The Redwoods League: Spring Birds in the Redwood Forests

Spring migration brings many opportunities to spot some of the coolest birds of the coast redwood and giant sequoia forests. Keep an eye out for some of our favorites below—in your backyard, on your neighborhood walks, or in the forests if you’re lucky enough to have access to them. For a more in-depth guide, download our free Birdwatcher’s Guide to Redwood Forests.

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View live (during daylight hours) webcams of:

Yosemite Falls

Monterey Bay Aquarium Jellyfish (7 am – 6 pm)

Trio Eagle Cam Stewards of the Upper Mississippi River Refuge

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Herping With Dave at Elkhorn Slough Reserve

Watch this cool video of Reserve Manager Dave Feliz finding and teaching us about our local snakes and lizards.

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Audubon Society Free Guide to Finding Bird-Friendly Native Plants for Our Area

“Native plants are the foundation of a region’s biodiversity, providing essential food sources and shelter for birds, especially those threatened by the changing climate. In the US, a native plant is defined as one that was naturally found in a particular area before European settlement. Native plants are adapted to local precipitation and soil conditions, they generally require less upkeep, therefore helping the environment and saving you time, water, and money. The key to getting started is picking the right plants for your area.
The Best Results for your area (95060) have been hand-selected by Audubon experts in your region. They are important bird resources that are relatively easy to grow and are available at native plant nurseries.” Resource guide HERE.

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Elkhorn Slough Reserve Presents their Estuary Steward Challenge

Here are actions we can take in our lives to make everyday Earth Day. Each day, challenge yourself to try a different way to protect estuaries, even while sheltering in place. Snap a photo of yourself completing one of those tasks and add to #EstuaryStewards! Post your photos on our Facebook page!

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Subscribe to Carbon180 – Free!

Even if we stop emitting CO2 today it won’t be enough. Keep informed of the latest research in removing carbon from the atmosphere. Subscribe for free HERE.

You can also register for AirMiners Virtual Conference, May 13, 10:30 am – 3 pm, on Zoom. Building a foundation for a carbon negative future. Share recent developments, foster productive networking, provide media exposure, and take the opportunity presented by COVID-19 to bring a tangible, actionable climate narrative forward.


Desserts in the Raw – Online Class, May 3, 1 pm

Eat for the Earth presents: Can a dessert be a transformational experience for your taste buds, your body, the Earth, and all of lifekind? You betcha! Play-along in the kitchen (virtually) with raw dessert master Chef Beth Love and learn just how healthy and life-changing dessert can be! Offered on a donation basis. All proceeds benefit Eat for the Earth. Register HERE.

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Oceana presents: Mantis Shrimp Mobile Eyes!

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Grow your own veggies? Orin Martin offers tips for novice gardeners

Orin Martin is delighted that people are responding to the coronavirus pandemic with a desire to grow their own veggies, and he has lots of knowledge to share—as well as one plea: Be sure to plant some flowers, too. “I always say, vegetables are food for the body, and flowers are food for the spirit and soul,” said Martin, manager of the Alan Chadwick Garden at UCSC. Timing is good, with temperatures warming up, and local nurseries stocked with seeds and seedlings—and many offering curbside pickup, too. Access HERE


Fantastic Fungi, directed by Louie Schwartzberg

A consciousness-shifting 90 minute film that takes us on an immersive journey through time and scale into the magical earth beneath our feet, an underground network that can heal and save our planet. Through the eyes of renowned scientists and mycologists like Paul Stamets, best-selling authors Michael Pollan, Eugenia Bone, Andrew Weil and others, we become aware of the beauty, intelligence and solutions the fungi kingdom offers us in response to some of our most pressing medical, therapeutic, and environmental challenges. See TRAILER. View the film for $5 – info HERE


From the Cornell Lab of Ornithology : Feeder Setups For Great Bird Photos, Gerrit Vyn

“One of the best places to work on your photographic skills, capture lots of action, and build a nice portfolio of passerine subjects is right in your own backyard. There are many excellent books and online resources dedicated to bird feeding, so rather than replicate that here, I will focus on things you’ll want to pay attention to for photography.” Access HERE

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Coastal Watershed Council: A Clean River Starts On Your Street

Your home is connected to the San Lorenzo River and the ocean. Rain or running water travels from your yard or driveway, down your street to the nearest storm drain. On the way, it picks up anything in its path, including trash and pollution. When it enters the storm drain, the water moves through underground pipes and empties into the river. You can keep your river clean by finding pollution and stopping it before it goes down your storm drain. See all of the Coastal Watershed Council’s activities HERE

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UCSC Kraw Lecture Series: Where Did it All Come From, and Where is it All Going?

The physical universe, Anthony Aguirre will argue, is made of matter (or energy) and of order (or information). Aguirre will trace the 13.8 billion year history of this matter/energy told by modern cosmology, as it has developed into ever-more sophisticated order and structure: galaxies and their arrangement, stars, planets, life, and very recently and locally, civilization. The survival of civilization—and life itself—through the coming century is not assured, but if it continues, what could its future look like over thousands or millions of years? No one knows, but touring topics from fundamental physics to the nature of intelligence, Aguirre will lay out some of the possibilities. On YouTube


From Save the Redwoods: “The Redwoods have stood tall through histories of disaster and destruction and are still here to help us breathe. While schools are closed and shelter-in-place is in effect throughout California, the forests can remind us of our opportunity to connect.” From home you can:

Virtually explore the redwood forest through our redwood websearch;

Download and read our Redwood Articles of the Day (K-2); With our Redwood reading guide, feel the forests come to life wherever you are, reminding you where many once stood.

Play a game! (Print out the cards, or get creative by drawing pictures and making your own version.)

Read about the redwoods and complete the activities in our coast redwood and giant sequoia education brochures.

Reserve your spot for free Home Learning Programs that highlight coast redwood, giant sequoia, and other amazing state parks via the PORTS distance-learning program from California State Parks.

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How To Teach Nature Journaling, By John Muir Laws & Emilie Lygren

31 hands-on field activities to connect art, science, math, and critical thinking, while encouraging students and mentors alike to recognize and record the wonder and beauty in the natural world. Courtesy of John Muir Laws, “download this book for free! If you like the book, consider also buying the full version and making a donation to directly support Heyday, our amazing non-profit publisher”.

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KELP Activity of the Day, from Oceana

Sailors for the Sea powered by Oceana’s Kids Environmental Lesson Plans (KELP) program features free, downloadable, educational activities that teach students the importance of preserving healthy and abundant oceans. With many schools closed and students confined to home because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Sailors for the Sea is highlighting some of our most popular KELP activities that can be done from the safety of your home.


Global Warming I: The Science and Modeling of Climate Change

Brought to you free by Coursera, this class describes the science of global warming and the forecast for humans’ impact on Earth’s climate. Intended for an audience without much scientific background but a healthy sense of curiosity, the class brings together insights and perspectives from physics, chemistry, biology, earth and atmospheric sciences, and even some economics—all based on a foundation of simple mathematics (algebra).


Free Tips And Tricks Of The Photography Trade, Generously Compiled by Bay Photo Lab

So that you can take even better nature photos when the restrictions lift, “Here are 10 of our favorite leading education sources with a wealth of free education:

KelbyOne – Scott Kelby is releasing all KelbyOne Webcasts for free on his Facebook page
SLR Lounge – Weekly photography news and insights
CreativeLive – Select classes are free, including the mental and physical health track
Professional Photographers of America – In It Together – 1,100 classes for free
Fujifilm – 52 weeks of education for free
Nikon School Online – Stream every class for free for the month of April
Canon – Photography Tips & Tutorials
PetaPixel – A leading blog covering the wonderful world of photography
Phlearn – Free Lightroom and Photoshop tutorials
Advancing Your Photography – Over 400 videos exploring photography tips from professionals”


Blessed Unrest – Interactive Online Conference, April 18 – May 9

In 2020 Biodiversity for a Livable Climate will join the world in celebrating the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day. Yet here we are, still facing exponential decay of the life support systems necessary for continued human presence on this planet. Our most powerful institutions – governments and corporations – are not facing this crisis squarely. On the other hand, thousands of independent organizations and millions of individuals worldwide are restoring living processes in their local areas while connecting with each other to create global change. This is the spontaneous, non-governmental movement that environmentalist and author Paul Hawken has called “blessed unrest”.

Blessed Unrest offers many practical nature solutions from speakers around the world. Collectively we can change course to a healthy and bountiful planet for all. Register HERE


How to Be a Backyard Carbon Farmer, By Acadia Tucker

Planting a garden is a powerful act. It gives each of us with access to a little dirt the power to feed ourselves healthy food, as well as something we can do about the threat of climate change. Plants are the ultimate and cheapest way to suck excess carbon dioxide out of the air. Almost all atmospheric carbon passes through plants during photosynthesis, the process that turns carbon, sunlight, and water into sugars and carbohydrates. Plant roots release carbon-rich sugars that feed organisms in the soil. In exchange, these critters make nutrients in the soil available to the plant. As plants die back each winter, they drop leaves and branches and even the roots die off. Over time this debris decomposes, adding even more nutrients and carbon to the soil. From Sustainable America.


The Museum At Your Side: Activities for Kids

The Santa Cruz Museum of Natural History, brings you home and outdoor family-friendly activities, videos, articles, and more to aid in your nature exploration!

On YouTube: BBC Short Video – Kung Fu Mantis Vs Jumping Spider

This is a great 4 minute drama (could be upsetting for young children)


Protect the Cumberland Plateau

Environment California: “Thousands of acres of wild forests, rolling hills and crashing mountain waterfalls may be under attack. The Trump administration is considering opening 75,000 acres of Tennessee’s protected Cumberland Plateau to strip mining for coal. For me, this issue is deeply personal. The strip mining site would tear apart the mountains mere miles from my hometown in Tennessee, and threaten the wild, beautiful places I explored as a child.” Take Action


California State Parks Encourages Everyone to Help ‘Flatten the Curve at Parks’ with New Social Media Campaign

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — California State Parks today announced the launch of a new social media campaign titled “Flatten the COVID-19 Curve at Parks” to remind the public to practice social distancing when visiting state parks or any outdoor area. The website http://www.parks.ca.gov/FlattenTheCurve includes important social media messages in English and Spanish that highlight safe ways to enjoy parks, such as not congregating in groups, maintaining a social distance of 6 ft. or more when recreating in the outdoors, and staying home if you are sick.

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Visit National Marine Sanctuaries Through Stunning Images and Videos – FREE

Ready to get excited about marine life? Dive into the abundance of photos in our Flickr account to view and download high resolution, public domain photos. Print out some of your favorite photos to create a collage of your ideal underwater ecosystem. You can even take yourself on a virtual dive tour of national marine sanctuaries through our gallery of 360° photos and our new 360° dive video. Need more general ocean and atmosphere photos? Check out the NOAA Photo Library.

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Santa Cruz County Guidelines HERE

This is a long detailed list of what Greenwaste accepts for recycling.

Enlightening and Uplifting Films:

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Voices For The Ocean,  From Patagonia – How’s this for wholesome? Three women, united by their love of surfing, are inspired to help protect the planet together.  The ocean plays a huge role in the lives of many Aussies. It’s a place of fun, freedom, and for Patagonia ambassadors Belinda Baggs, Liz Clarke and Moona Whyte, it’s what led them all to a life of committed environmental activism. This film takes a deep dive into the lives of these three incredible women, to discover how their love of a good wave motivated them to speak up for the sea.


Audubon Society Presents: Baby Waterbirds to Make You Squeal,

While March 22 was World Water Day, we can always celebrate this essential resource. Let’s take a moment to celebrate the birds it sustains. That’s a pleasure—especially when they’re so ridiculously cute. Check out this collection by photographer William Burt, whose images speak of the love he has for wetland birds and their young. 7 Photos. We share that love, so we’re happy to share his extraordinary work. We hope you enjoy it and share it, too, to mark World Water Day.

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Cleaning And Disinfecting With Safer, Less Toxic Products

This from the California Green Business Network: “We are entering a public health crisis and it is time to do our part to minimize the risk to the most vulnerable in society. Cleaning and disinfecting are part of the toolkit that is required to reduce the spread of the Coronavirus outbreak. Frequently touched surfaces throughout our houses and places of work are a great place to introduce best practices. There are ways to manage proper cleaning and disinfection without compromising our health and Green Business Practices by using safer, less toxic products. Many of our Certified Green Businesses asked for guidance on this and the California Green Business Network is happy to share it broadly.” Go HERE for rest of article.