The Santa Cruz Wharf Outreach Network is a group of organizations collectivelyinterested in the Santa Cruz Municipal Wharf as a valuable community research, scienceand education platform. The purpose of this Fact Sheet is to introduce the group and our work and highlight our vision for the future of the Wharf.
What the Network is currently doing at the Wharf
Our Network consists of nearly two dozen organizations interested in the Wharf and
meets biannually with subcommittees meeting more frequently. Approximately eight
organizations currently conduct research or science and educational outreach there as
highlighted through interpretive signs, static kiosk exhibits, docent interpretation, and
digital displays, some part of the Santa Cruz Coastal EcoTour. In addition to the EcoTour
and promotion of green business certification, our work ranges from testing renewable
energy in a marine environment and monitoring its wildlife impacts to promoting plastic
waste reduction to monitoring phytoplankton ecology, water quality, and harmful algae.
While our work represents a diverse set of interests, we are connected by the desire to
protect our local coastal resources, bridge the gap between research and science and
public awareness, and advocate action. Collectively our environmentally oriented research
and work is known as the GreenWharf.
The Network’s vision for the future at the Wharf
We hope to positively impact resident and tourist visits to the Wharf, enabling visitors to
appreciate and learn about the unique experience of walking a half-mile into the Monterey
Bay Marine Sanctuary. In addition to advancing our individual research interests, our group
plans to improve signage and exhibits over the next year and increase the presence of
trained docents. With the City, the Network planned an annual Sanctuary Celebration
event for May 17, 2014 featuring the Wharf’s historical heritage, sporting activities, and
science, research and educational opportunities based there. Looking toward the future,
the NOAA Exploration Center would like to see docking infrastructure improvements to
accommodate their research vessel. The second half of 2014 will be focused on
designing a coordinated educational program aimed at bringing more student groups to
Factors impacting the Network’s work at the Wharf
The Network offers numerous resources toward achieving our collective vision including
docent and staff time, the ability to develop web-based content and promote activities
through strong social media campaigns. The primary barriers to achieving the Network’s
vision for the Wharf is the difficulty in motivating visitors to use the Wharf and effectively
communicating all it has to offer.