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December 15, 2003

What’s on tap over winter break, and beyond

By Jennifer McNulty

Decked out from tip to tail in holiday lights, the blue whale skeleton on display outside the Seymour Marine Discovery Center is a popular destination for visitors and locals alike. But Seymour Center director Julie Barrett Heffington says Ms. Blue, as the whale is known, isn’t the only reason to visit the facility this time of year.

Seymour Marine Discovery Center is all decked out for the holidays. Photo: Peter Macht

"The Seymour Center is the best place in town to watch winter storms move through,” she said. “You are surrounded by the intensity of the ocean, and the beauty of the coast, while cozy and dry."

To accommodate visitors, the Seymour Center will be open extended hours, from 5 to 9 p.m. on Thursday, December 18, with free admission and refreshments. Between December 26 and January 4, visitors can download a two-for-one Internet coupon and enjoy reduced admission at the door.

Every day at the center, skilled docent guides present demonstrations, offer tours, and are available to answer questions. Tours include Ms. Blue and a visit to Long Marine Laboratory research areas where marine mammals live.

On Sunday, December 28, a Marine Mammal Research Tour will offer visitors a behind-the-scenes peek at Long Marine Laboratory. Participants learn about the work of scientists and their studies of dolphins, seals, sea lions, and whales. The tour is best suited for adults and children over 7 years of age; space is limited and reservations are required, so please call (831) 459-3800 to hold a space. The tour, from 2:15 to 3:30 p.m., is free with admission.

In addition, the Seymour Center continues to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Long Marine Laboratory with special activities, including a scavenger hunt and 25 kinds of crabs on display. The center will be closed December 24-25 and December 31-January 1.

Gardening workshops in January

Gardeners will want to note four events upcoming in January. First, two pruning workshops will be offered by the Friends of the UCSC Farm & Garden.
Pome fruits, or apples and pears, will be the focus on Saturday, January 10, from 9 a.m. to noon in the Louise Cain Gatehouse on the UCSC Farm. Stone fruits, including plums, peaches, and apricots, will be the topic on Saturday, January 31 from 9 a.m. to noon, also in the Gatehouse.

During both workshops, garden managers Christof Bernau and Albie Miles will discuss and demonstrate pruning techniques. The fee for each session is $10 for members of the Friends of the UCSC Farm & Garden; $15 for nonmembers. Participants are advised to wear warm clothes; heavy rain cancels. No preregistration is needed. For more information, call (831) 459-3240 or e-mail the Farm.

Also in January, the UCSC Arboretum will offer an illustrated talk called “Wondrous and Easy Native Wildflowers to Plant Now,” with Annie Hayes of Annie’s Annuals, on Sunday, January 11, at 1:30 p.m. in the Arboretum Horticulture Building. Admission is $10 for members of the Arboretum; $15 for nonmembers.

Identifying California native plants will be the topic of a free hands-on workshop on Thursday, January 22, from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. with volunteer propagator Linda Willis. Participants will practice keying plants and are asked to bring a 7x or 10x hand lens and a copy of An Illustrated Field Key to the Flowering Plants of Monterey County, by Mary Ann Matthews, if possible.

The UCSC Arboretum is open daily for self-guided tours from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The Arboretum will be closed December 25.

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