“Do jellyfish have the answers to immortality?”
“Do fish poop?”
“What do you need to study to become a marine biologist?”

I cherish the questions you pose on our Ask A Scientist board. Thank you for sharing your curiosity, exploring your deepest wonders, and seeking out ways to act for the sake of marine and coastal conservation. 

I’m wonderstruck at what we’ve accomplished together in the last three months:

  • From October the March, 15,000 of you had returned to the Seymour Center. In the past three months alone, you have doubled visitation to over 30,000.
  • In March, our school field trips had just restarted. Since then, more than 1,000 of your children have experienced hands-on marine science education. Ocean Explorers summer camp kicked off a few weeks ago!
  • 650 of you were active members in March. Since then, 200 more of you have shown your support by becoming a member.
  • We collaborated with 50 of you on events and experiences during the first six months. In the past three, we’ve collaborated with 110 more
  • All this was made possible by the 100+ of you who volunteered your time here through March. Dozens more of you have expressed interest in volunteering since then. 

You buoyed the Seymour Center financially, too. You became members. You made donations. You rented our space and shopped at the gift store. As a result, Seymour Center is in a stronger financial position than we were a year ago. Thank you.

In March, I promised you we’d find and share stories of how climate change and human impacts are showing up in Santa Cruz County, more co-created experiences, and more calls to action. Since March, and in partnership with dozens of scientists and local partners, I’m proud to share that:

  • We hosted UC Santa Cruz’s Confronting Climate Change Conference
  • 750+ of you came out to the Climate Action Market, where 35+ nonprofits, public agencies, citizen groups, and scientists shared what they were observing about climate impacts in our communities and what visitors you can do to act
  • We produced Seymour Center’s first-ever original documentary film, Southern Range: Salmon in the Santa Cruz Mountains, and premiered it during Salmon Week
  • We resumed Younger Lagoon Reserve tours with a community science component
  • We installed new interactive experiences in the Seymour Center, including real-time monitoring of bird activity, a hands-on microscope station, and a pop-up art installation about kelp and sea algae 

One of my favorite questions on our Ask a Scientist board, which was clearly written in a child’s handwriting, was, “How can I help save the planet?” 

Lately, kiddo, we’ve been asking ourselves the same question. Your support empowered us to hire Gyroscope, an award-winning museum design firm, to help us imagine the future of the visitor experience at the Seymour Center. Dozens of you have joined us to dream big about the role Seymour Center can play in local marine and coastal stewardship. Later this fall, we’ll share those plans with you.

You have a chance to add your voice to the process. What kind of experiences would you hope to have at the Seymour Center? What do you want to learn about, and who do you want to learn it from? Shoot me an email at jahicken@ucsc.edu or give me a call at 858-228-7187. I want to hear from you!

Waveblazers unite!