Education & Learning

participants in the California naturalist program

Participants in the California Naturalist Program

The Arboretum & Botanic Garden strives to serve school children, UCSC students, community college students, the gardening community of the central coast of California, and visitors from around the world.

For UCSC Students 

For nearly 60 years, hundreds of Arboretum interns and student workers have found inspiration and meaning while working in the gardens. Scores have gone on to become conservationists, ecologists, habitat restoration technicians, and natural resource managers.  


We're participating in the campus-wide Spring Give, April 3 - 12, raising funds for our Student Worker & Interactive Ecology Internship Programs. 


Student Worker Program

We employ UCSC students year-round to help with the care and maintenance of our collections. Here they learn many practical skills, including best-management practices for botanic gardens and a wide variety of horticulture techniques. 

UCSC Undergraduate Internship Program 

Run by our Native Plant Program Director Brett Hall, interns in the Interactive Ecology Program learn about conservation and land management, ecology & evolution, and goals for the Arboretum native gardens whileparticipating in fieldwork and building plant collections through seed germination, propagation, nursery work, and planting. All-day field trips to local wild areas focus on plant communities and techniques involved in vegetation mapping, classification, habitat assessment, and surveys.

Arboretum student quotes: 

From Breanna Rodgers, former student worker and UCSC graduate: "The Arboretum was a formative space for me to learn land management and leadership skills, while also gracing me with the autonomy to learn from my actions. Growing in my personal and professional life in such a tranquil setting helped direct me toward a career in stewardship in the field of restoration ecology. I am so grateful to continue working outdoors. "

Breanna is now the Restoration Manager at the nonprofit Santa Lucia Conservancy, 

From Jeremy Silberman, former UCSC Arboretum intern, then student worker and now the full time Native Plant Program Student Coordinator: "The Arboretum is a place that supports students in getting involved and learning how they can be a part of sustaining and nourishing our changing world in ways meaningful to them." 

Learning For Everyone!

California Naturalist Program

The California Naturalist Program annually introduces up to 40 budding naturalists to the wonders of California’s unique ecology, learning about local natural history, geology, behavioral ecology, birds, amphibians & reptiles, insects, mammals, plant habitats, and Native American Land Use and Management Practices. CNP students become volunteer naturalists and citizen scientists trained and ready to take an active role in natural resource conservation, education, and restoration.

Garden Interpretive Signage

Arboretum Visitors can learn so much by simply walking through the gardens and reading our beautiful Interpretive Signs, answering questions such as ‘What IS an Arboretum?’ or ‘Why grow plants from Mediterranean Climates?’ Come learn about the Plants of Australia, South Africa, New Zealand, and California. Visitors also learn about bees and butterflies and the plants they depend upon and about Santa Cruz’s First People and their efforts to relearn their Traditional Ecological Knowledge or TEK.

The Ray Collett Lecture Series (inactive)
Sometime in the near future we hope to resume the popular Ray Collett Lecture Series. Ray was the original, beloved UCSC Arboretum visionary and Executive Director, growing the Arboretum on this incredible piece of land together with founding UCSC Chancellor Dean E. McHenry. Learn more about the Arboretum's beginnings