The Santa Cruz Museum of Natural History is the oldest Museum in Santa Cruz. After being a city-funded Museum for over 100 years, the Museum is now an independent non-profit. It uses fundraising, grant-writing and community support to continue its mission to "Connect people with nature and inspire stewardship of the natural world." The Museum took possession of the City's Collection earlier this year and is working on organizing, caring for and sharing its artifacts with the community. The educational programs of the Museum serve over 4000 children every year and the Neary Lagoon Watershed Walk was recognized by CA Department of Education with the "Excellence in Museum Education" award.

The special exhibit this fall is titled "Crystals, Caves, and Kilns: A Natural and Cultural History of Limestone and Marble in the Felton - Santa Cruz Area." This exhibit runs through February and explores the natural and cultural history of limestone, lime, and marble in the Felton – Santa Cruz area. There are displays of mineral and crystal specimens, 19th century artifacts from the lime industry, never-before-seen historic photos, activity stations for children, and much more. Visitors will learn about the geologic history of the area and how marble caves form. There is also a series of Fall field trips, each on a different theme: geology, historic lime kilns, and the environmental impact of the lime industry. Find out more at

Dan Harder, Executive Director Santa Cruz Museum of Natural History: He obtained a Bachelor of Science degree in botany from the University of Wisconsin, Madison, and went on to graduate school in botany at UC Berkeley. After graduation Dan was hired as an assistant Curator at the Missouri Botanical Garden (MBG) in St Louis. For more than a decade, he curated large collections of tropical legumes within the herbarium and led programs in botanical collecting, inventory, and research in 15 countries in the Old World. He established collaborative partnerships in Africa and Indochina that led to significant new species discoveries and new records for the floras of these regions. For eight years, until late in 2009, Dan was the Executive Director of the UCSC Arboretum and an adjunct faculty member at UCSC. He continues his research on plants from the Central Coast as a Research Associate at the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco.

Frank Perry, Research Associate, Exhibit Designer / Curator: Has been associated with the Museum for many years and in many different capacities. As a free-lance exhibit designer and builder he has done natural science and historical displays for many different museums and park visitor centers. His special interests include geology, paleontology, lighthouses, and the history of the local lime industry. Besides his involvement with the Natural History Museum, he also serves as curator of the Capitola Historical Museum.

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