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Friends Of Santa Cruz State Parks

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Animals, Arts & Culture, Cultural & Ethnic Awareness, Environment, Land Resources Conservation, Wildlife Preservation & Protection

Mission: Friends of Santa Cruz State Parks (Friends) is a vital partner with California State Parks, creatively working to ensure our cherished local parks and beaches are thriving and available to all. Friends’ innovative and collaborative community partnership provides support and investment for education, equity and inclusion, conservation, facilities improvements, historic preservation and cultural events. Founded in 1976, Friends is passionately dedicated to the preservation of our spectacular natural environment and rich cultural history. Friends also operates six ParkStores, offering nature- and history-themed merchandise for sale to benefit local parks and beaches.

Results: Each year Friends: • Employs up to 85 visitor service staff in parks from Half Moon Bay to Boulder Creek to Watsonville. • Funds State Park Interpreters who lead thousands of school field trips in at least 17 parks and beaches. • Invests in bridges, trails, signs, accessibility improvements, urgent deferred maintenance and historic building restoration. • Looks for new ways to introduce our parks and beaches to residents. For example, in collaboration with California State Parks, we created Kids-2-Parks, an innovative park-equity program to bring students from economically disadvantaged schools on field trips. Many students visit a state park for the very first time through this program.

Geographic areas served: Coastal San Mateo and Santa Cruz Counties

Community Stories

10 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Donor

Rating: 5

I love Friends of Santa Cruz State Parks. I am blessed to live in an area where there are so many State Parks. I can walk along the crashing surf at Seacliff, take a hike in the redwood forest at Big Basin or Butano, and ride my bike through the varying ecosystems of Wilder Ranch, all in one day! Or go for a morning run through the Forest of Nisene Marks. And that's just a few of the beautiful parks in the Santa Cruz area. The possibilities are endless. Donating to The Friends of Santa Cruz State Parks offers me a way of giving back... of showing my support for the women and men who make it possible for me visit these places. It takes work to provide safe access to the parks... to build and clear trails... to make it so that everyone has the opportunity to relax and re-create in the natural beauty that is vitally important to our well-being. It takes work to research the history and provide fascinating educational programs about these places. It's easy to take all of this for granted, but I prefer to give back, by being a monthly donor. I encourage anyone who reads this to visit one of our beautiful parks as soon as you can, and to support the Friends of Santa Cruz State Parks...we can make a difference.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I so appreciate the work of Friends to make our state parks more robust. They recruit and make great use of volunteers. Their almost 100 staff members assist State Parks. And, they fund educational programs for school groups and visitors. They make a tremendous difference in our community with the depth and breadth of what they offer. I am a 40-year Santa Cruz County resident - running on Seabright State Beach regularly and spending time at Wilder Ranch State Park are just a couple of the ways I used State Parks. The efforts of Friends to keep these parks vital are essential.

Board Member

Rating: 5

Friends of Santa Cruz State Parks is a wonderful organization that not only maintains and improves the state parks in our area, they also make forests, beaches, and historical spaces accessible. With programs to make it possible for all school kids to experience our amazing parks; support of beach wheel chairs; and nature and history interpretation, this organization has a broad reach and impact. One of the treasurers of Santa Cruz!

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Friends of Santa Cruz State Parks has kept these vital nature spots available to the public. They work tirelessly to maintain and develop these areas for all of our enjoyment. The variety of parks, and the large geographical region that they cover make their work especially challenging. They are much appreciated by the community for what they do!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My husband and I live at the end of Old Adobe Road in Watsonville, and would watch the activities at the Castro Adobe with interest and curiosity. Years ago we connected with one of the Friends of Santa Cruz State Parks volunteers, and have been volunteers at the Castro for events, work days and many other occasions ever since.
I volunteered to represent our Old Adobe Road neighborhood on the Castro Committee, and still do that, and I am also the current Chair of the Friends of State Parks Board.
My husband and I consider it an honor and a privilege to be associated with such an outstanding group of dedicated individuals-all the Friends staff members, State Parks workers and Friends volunteers we have worked and still work with are an inspiration to visitors, school groups and other non-profit associations. We are very proud to support Friends of Santa Cruz State Parks and will continue to serve in every way we can.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

This is an amazing non-profit organization with a dedicated, talented, and incredibly hard-working staff. As a regional partner and advocate for the State Parks in Santa Cruz County, it is an example of a successful model for the future of our State Parks system. Through fundraising, outreach, experiential education, and events, they are making a difference every day in preserving the natural beauty and history of the California Central Coast and making it accessible to everyone in our community. You can donate or volunteer with complete confidence that your support is appreciated and will be used with integrity.

Advisor

Rating: 5

Hi Foster,
Hope this email finds you well and that you are staying healthy in these crazy times.
Just wanted to share with you these pictures I took of my dad while I was in Costa Rica visiting.
He loves his chair and although his health is getting more challenging he’s been out a few times on the beach at this magnificent place they live.
I told them about you and Shared Adventures and how wonderful you were in helping me out to get the chair.
Well, thank you so much again for all your help.
Please, let’s keep in contact and I’m hoping I can be of help to your organization for the next event your are having.

Kindly,

Maria

2 Nicolette L.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

They keep our parks in great shape and bring in great programs. They also maintain beautiful and unique event spaces.

Review from Guidestar

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have volunteered with Friends of Santa Cruz State Parks for the past two years during the Mole & Mariachi Festival. This organization is top notch when it comes to coordinating logistics. There is always a plan for setup and take down, with someone in charge who has a map and clear directions for set up and clean up. Friends is always thoughtful when it comes to their volunteers' needs. They provide food and drinks at the end of the festival for everyone that is helping, you can tell they really appreciate everyone's efforts. It truly feels like I am part of the team when I volunteer with Friends of Santa Cruz State Parks.

Review from Guidestar

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Friends of Santa Cruz State Parks strives to maintain the natural beauty of the parks and beaches in Santa Cruz County. The staff and volunteers help to replant native trees, help to protect the tide pools and all the lovely sea life surrounding and within the ocean, and most importantly (in my opinion), work hard to protect the Monarch Butterflies at Natural Bridges. The folks involved with Natural Bridges spend limitless hours educating the public about how to protect the abundant beauty and tranquility. Natural Bridges is the only CA state protected preserve, and for good reason. It provides a safe haven for the Monarchs as they over-winter along the coast. This is a gem of an organization.