Naturalists are Everywhere in Santa Cruz County!

The naturalist community in Santa Cruz County is much bigger and more diverse than we imagined. While we intended to interview about 20 people for this project, we ended up engaging with nearly 100 community members and we only wish we could have interviewed more! We endeavored to incorporate their voices, their accomplishments, and their wisdom here on this website and in our in-person exhibit, which will hopefully open soon at the San Lorenzo Valley Museum in Felton. Our hope is that this project will help build stronger relationships among us all, including the vital work of mentoring the next generation of young naturalists.

Three big themes emerged from our interviews.  Some naturalists “Look” carefully at the nature around them. Some naturalists “Act” in response to their interactions with nature.  Some naturalists “Inspire” others to engage with nature.  Some combine all three. And some don’t fit in any of these three categories. Every person we interviewed for this exhibit had their own unique concept of a naturalist. What is yours?

This website and our exhibit are divided into three major parts:

The Naturalist Community in Santa Cruz County. This includes brief biographies of all the naturalists we interviewed as well as several more in-depth biographies of a smaller subset. We explore how the naturalist community is connected in Santa Cruz and some of the stages of what we call "The Naturalist Life Cycle". We divided this section into three parts: Look, Act, and Inspire!

Diversifying Naturalists.  This section includes a distillation of ideas we got from those we interviewed about how to sustain and expand the next generation of naturalists in our county and beyond.

Fred McPherson. Finally, we have developed several sections within Look, Act and Inspire devoted to Fred McPherson, an especially influential naturalist in the San Lorenzo Valley in the Santa Cruz Mountains.