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Help create a mural at Santa Cruz Mission State Historic Park. 

A design by two Mission Hill Middle School students has been chosen for the new Santa Cruz Mission State Historic Park mural in celebration of the 25th anniversary of the opening of the park and the public is invited to help create the mural.
 
Katherine Tkoch, 12, and Flora Chatwin, 13, submitted separate designs in the contest, which was held in March. The Mural Selection Committee liked elements of both girls' work. The students worked with their teacher, noted local artist Kathleen Crocetti, to combine their designs.
 
The combined design will be recreated in tesserae, a colorful tile that will be formed in the shape of the artist’s design to create the mosaic mural. There are several times when volunteer help would be appreciated: 

  • Drop-in work days to help with the mural will be held 5-8 p.m. for three consecutive Tuesdays: April 26, May 3 and May 10. The drop-in days will take place at Mission Hill Middle School classroom #5, 425 King St, Santa Cruz. Enter through the back door from the gated parking lot.
  • Community volunteers and Mission Hill Middle School students, in cooperation with Friends and California State Parks, will install the public art May 21-23. 

Volunteers must be 18 or older. Kids ages 11-17 can help if accompanied by an adult. The project isn’t open to children younger than 11. Contact Amanda Segers at 831-429-1840, ext. 103 or Amanda@ThatsMyPark.org with questions. Santa Cruz Mission State Historic Park is located at 144 School St. in Santa Cruz.

Rancho del Oso on display during Wildflower Weekend. 
Winter rains promise a profusion of spring wildflowers in the Waddell Valley. Come see them on display in the Rancho del Oso Nature and History Center and visit them on the park's trails during the Rancho del Oso Wildflower Weekend, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, April 23-24.

You will see buttercups, shooting stars and the western wake robin included in this annual exhibit of over 50 flowering native plants and several non-native species that are found in the western portion of Big Basin Redwoods State Park. The assortment of shapes, sizes, colors and forms are a delight to the senses. Read more about the hikes offered in this Santa Cruz Sentinel article.

Rancho Del Oso Nature and History Center is located 17 miles north of Santa Cruz along Highway 1, at Waddell Creek (3600 Hwy 1, Davenport, CA 95017). For more information, please call (831) 427-2288.
Enter the #SCWildflowers photo contest to win a ParkStore gift certificate & more.
To celebrate spring, wildflowers and beautiful Santa Cruz State Parks, Friends of Santa Cruz State Parks is co-sponsoring an Instagram photo contest with Visit Santa Cruz County. The contest runs through Monday, April 25 and is open to wildflower photos taken at any Santa Cruz County State Park and throughout Santa Cruz County. 

Simply snap a picture of some wildflowers while you are out and about and share your photo on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter using #SCWildflowers. At the end of the contest a winner will be chosen and will receive a $25 gift certificate to the Nature Store at Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park, a $25 gift certificate to any Friends of Santa Cruz State Parks ParkStore, four tickets to ride a steam train at Roaring Camp Railroads, a half-day double kayak rental through Kayak Connection and some awesome Santa Cruz swag!

And be sure to always tag your photos of State Parks and Beaches with #thatsmypark
Handcrafted Californio-style saddle to be unveiled at Castro Adobe State Historic Park open house on Saturday.
Round up your family and drop in to our celebration of California’s Rancho Era during the Vaqueros and Banditos open house at Castro Adobe State Historic Park, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday. Travel back to an era when cattle was king, bandits roamed the countryside, and the Castro Family built their one-of-a-kind home on a hill at the height of their power. Get to know the tools of the cattle trade; listen to cowboy songs and tales of infamous bandits; relax in the beauty of our garden and grounds with spring in full spring. We’ll skip rounding up the calves and go straight to the celebration with you as our guests.

A handcrafted saddle fashioned to accurately represent the early Californio saddle by rancher and State Parks docent John Grafton also will be unveiled at the open house. Much like the Castro family who built our adobe, John has made cattle a way of life. His childhood and early career took him to ranches throughout the West — of both North and South America. During and after a later career in law enforcement, John developed a relationship with California State Parks as a docent specializing in hands-on demonstrations of the horse culture of early California. He currently volunteers at San Juan Bautista State Historic Park. We look forward to unveiling the spectacular saddle he crafted for our future State Historic Park when he joins us for this Saturday’s open house event.

"May it serve to increase our understanding, appreciation and enjoyment of our Californio heritage," John said of the Castro Adobe saddle. 

Admission is free, donations gratefully accepted. Parking is extremely limited, so carpooling is encouraged. This park is currently an active construction site, open only during scheduled events like this. Castro Adobe State Historic Park is at 184 Old Adobe Road, Watsonville.
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