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Back to (Nature) School

Whether it’s camping, hiking, going to the beach, or attending camp, connecting with nature doesn’t have to end with summer. In fact, it’s incredibly helpful to our physical, mental, and social health to maintain our connection to nature and experience it often. We spoke with outdoor educators at the Santa Cruz Museum of Natural History about resources to help us feed our curiosity and connection with nature.

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Counselor leads youth hiking to the Valley of the Giants at Camp Jones Gulch. Boys look up toward gisant redwoods with awe and smiles on their faces.

Camp Jones Gulch: Childhood Connections Create Conservationists

Camp Jones Gulch has sparked a passion for the outdoors for thousands of young people. We talked with campers and the Y of San Francisco’s outdoor education leaders about how protecting Camp Jones Gulch protects critical, diverse habitats, and outdoor education and opportunities with exponential impact for the environmental movement.

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End Of Rain DSC03767 By Scott Ordway

The End of Rain

As temperatures soar, droughts become more frequent, and fire seasons lengthen, does it change how we see the land? Scott Ordway, an award-winning composer and multimedia artist, explored those questions and shared his reflections through words, sounds, and images with the hope that art experiences like these can help strengthen connections with nature–the basis for action.

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Land Director Laura McLendon surveys Big Basin State Park with Rangers after the CZU Fire.

Reimagining Big Basin

In August 2021, a year after the CZU fire, California State Parks launched a visioning process for Reimagining Big Basin. A year later, they have a vision for the park’s future. Learn more, connect, and stay involved.

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Camp Jones Gulch Sign By YMCA San Francisco

Camp Jones Gulch: A Partnership for Youth and Nature

Some of the oldest redwoods in the Santa Cruz mountains thrive at a YMCA camp with the oldest history of inclusion—Camp Jones Gulch. We sat down with Jamie Bruning-Miles, President and CEO for The Y of San Francisco, to talk about how, together, we are expanding youth access to nature.

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Accessibility Guide Bob Coomber 4 Wheel Bob By Ian Bornarth

Accessibility in the Santa Cruz Mountains

We are showcasing accessible trails in the Santa Cruz mountains, and we talked with Bob Coomber–the renowned hiker “4 Wheel Bob”, lifelong admirer of redwoods, and member of the State Parks Recreational Trails Commission–to discuss his experiences with accessibility and how he has overcome challenges to explore the outdoors far beyond where the paved trail ends.

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Asia Rainbow Eucalyptus By Dirk HR Spennemann

10 Trees Around the World

We’ve gathered 10 of the most interesting trees from around the world and parks where you might meet them. We hope these trees help nurture appreciation for all that they do for us, wildlife, and the planet. If you’re ready to share your appreciation for trees and want to help spread the love, join us for our Hug-a-Tree Challenge on Earth Day, April 22, 2022 where you can help establish a GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS® title for the most photos of people hugging trees in one hour.

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DEIJ Reading List Big Basin AP Hill Field Trip By MKahn

DEIJ Reading List

As we work to achieve our mission to protect redwoods and create public access to lands, it is critical to center Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Justice (DEIJ) across all of our work. As we move forward on this journey, our staff have shared some of the books that have served as guideposts for their own DEIJ journeys.

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Learn Redwoods And People Environmental Health

50 Trees in 50 States

We’ve created a list of 50 iconic trees from every state across the country along with a list of the top hikes in parks near you. If you are really excited about being in nature, join us for our first annual Hug-a-Tree Challenge on Earth Day, April 22, 2022 where you can join us as we attempt to establish a GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS® title for the most photos of people hugging trees in one hour.

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Big Basin: Honor its Past, Build it to Last

If you love Big Basin, please consider this: reimagining Big Basin can pioneer a new model for California’s state parks, just as Big Basin was more than a century ago. We believe that in this moment of transformation, Big Basin can lead the way for the State Parks to enter into a new era of public parks–one that is desperately needed. 

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