“This is the best day ever!” cheered a student from Bradley Elementary School in Watsonville as the classroom wrapped up its tour of the marine mammal lab last week. 

Thanks to the inimitable Kevin Keedy’s herculean effort, for the first time in two years school kids are back in the Seymour Center for our ultra-popular Discovery Lab field trips. Every slot this school year is booked with classes waiting for their turn with our hands-on marine science learning experiences. 

Big accomplishments since reopening

We have a number of reasons to celebrate together since our reopening in October 2021. With your unwavering support, and despite the Omicron surge, we have

  • Welcomed over 15,000 people back to the Seymour Center
  • Shared marine science with hundreds of school kids 
  • More than doubled the number of Seymour Center members
  • Worked side-by-side with 115 dedicated volunteers 
  • Collaborated with more than 50 faculty, students, nonprofit partners, civic leaders, ocean activists, artists, and others to bring you new events, experiences, and content
  • Hired 10 UC Santa Cruz undergraduate assistants and are actively recruiting for two staff positions

If you’re holding a glass as you read this letter, I invite you to raise it to the sky and join me in an asynchronous toast! Without you, none of this would be possible. 

More climate content, more partnerships, more action

Just moments ago, I noticed my toes tapping to the rhythm of The Perpetual Optimist by Luke Lalonde. Fitting, because when I imagine the future, my heart bubbles with excitement. 

Building on Seymour Center’s decades-long legacy of phenomenal educational experiences and marine science excellence, you’ll notice us layering a few new elements into our programming. We will increasingly

  • Find and share science stories about how climate change and human impacts are showing up right here in Santa Cruz
  • Partner and co-create with community organizations that are doing boots-on-the-ground ocean conservation and climate-action work 
  • Call the community to take action to buoy the science and propel environmental stewardship forward 

With that, mark your calendars for the upcoming experiences we’re cooking up for you:

Can’t miss events

April 21, 2022: Confronting Climate Change Conference 

A panel of UC Santa Cruz scientists and local climate response experts will discuss what patterns we’re seeing on land, at sea, in the air, and in our food systems and how we’re responding to life in a changing climate. 

April 23, 2022: Climate Action Market

A science-meets-community-action festival with music, food, games, and crafts. Imagine booths filled with scientists, civic agencies, nonprofits, and businesses sharing what they’re doing to understand and achieve healthy marine & coastal ecosystems and human communities.  

April 29, 2022: Save the Waves 10th Anniversary of the World Surf Reserve

Join us to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the World Surf Reserve and the activity and lifestyle that means so much to so many people in our community—surfing.

May 15-21, 2022: Salmon Week

We’ll kick off a week of salmon celebrations with a Science Sunday lecture. All week long, we’ll weave in elements of art, members-only experiences, a film premiere, and end with a World Fish Migration Day festival. 

September 11, 2022: Blue Tech 

With Santa Cruz Works and the Santa Cruz City Office of Environmental Sustainability, we’ll showcase the cutting-edge blue tech that local companies are developing and that marine scientists are using to conduct their research.


We’re getting creative and experimenting

New events are just one piece of what we’re offering. We are also working on

  • Producing our first-ever documentary about salmon in Santa Cruz County in collaboration with the Fisheries Collaborative Program. The premiere is set for May 19 during Salmon Week
  • Preparing for our beloved Ocean Explorers youth summer camp to return, including a session just for girls (stay tuned for the application window to open in April)
  • Bringing back the Younger Lagoon Reserve tours with a citizen science component
  • Hosting California Ocean Alliance’s Marine Mammal Scientist in Training Program for high school students and the all-ages Marine Mammal Naturalist Program 

And I’m very excited to say we’re finalizing the paperwork to hire a renowned design firm to help us envision a creative future for the visitor experience and exhibits inside the Seymour Center. We will be calling on you to contribute your creativity and lofty dreams during this process. 

Thank you. Your support is why we’re open. Your support is why budding marine scientists are back in our classrooms having their “best days ever.” With your support, we’re able to bring these new experiences to our community. Our ambitious plans for the future will depend on your ongoing support, so I’d love to hear what meaningful involvement looks like to you. 


Jonathan Hicken

Executive Director