Chris Lay

chris lay with a jar of specimensChris views a naturalist as anyone who observes, reflects on and interacts with the natural world. For example, if someone observes a bird flying while out on a walk they have a naturalist moment, and most people have naturalist moments in their lives. One of the most memorable naturalist experiences Chris recalls was when he witnessed an avalanche first hand.

Some of the barriers Chris faced himself as a naturalist was the lack of opportunity and the fact he was not exposed to many naturalists early on in his life. Regardless, his naturalist passion grew and Chris Lay is now the Director of the Kenneth Norris Center for Natural History at UC Santa Cruz. Before becoming director he spent time as an outdoor educator and instructor. Chris thinks one way for young folks to become naturalists is to join a naturalist community and have field experiences with them. Chris believes it is important to provide children exposure to natural history at a young age and to diversify where we are providing outreach.