Here are some photos from today’s field trip to Natural Bridges State Park in Santa Cruz.
Above: We met Ed Rice, park docent, at the rear entrance to the park. Ed showed us a part of the park that is not often visited, the coastal plain ecosystem. He explained how invasive plants like Poison Hemlock and Canadian Thistle are damaging the ecosystem, but he also explained how eucaplytus trees, another invasive species, also provide crucial habitat for the Monarch Butterfly. Ed, in the blue jacket at left, is a Ph.D. candidate in computational biology at UC Santa Cruz, and has done field work with alligators.
Above: Eating lunch together. It was windy and pretty chilly today.
Above: Exploring a tide pool in the splash zone with Ed.
Above: After Ed gave us an orientation to the tide pools, we split up and explored on our own. Ed told us the main safety rule when exploring tide pools is to be sure to always face the ocean, so we would see if an especially large wave came in.
Above: Samuele with a Hermit Crab that he found in a tide pool.
Here we are at the end of the field trip, standing with Ed at the back entrance to the park. (Counselors Carol and Dan are missing from the photo, as we were the photographers.) We gave Ed a big THANK YOU for a great tour!