October 15, 2010

Welcoming Monarchs Back to Santa Cruz at our Marine Protected Area, Natural Bridges SP

On October 10th, Save Our Shores took part in the 30th Anniversary of Welcome Back Monarchs Day at Natural Bridges State Park in Santa Cruz. The festival attracted over 800 people from the greater Bay Area interested in a day filled with monarch butterflies, kids crafts, a lively band, and hand cranked pumpkin ice cream! (And I even got to slip away from my table to take a look at the Monarch Butterflies)!

Natural Bridges is one of 29 Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) on the Central Coast of California, as well as one of the most visited. Save Our Shores took part in this annual celebration of nature to educate people about the importance of Marine Protected Areas and
actions people can take to protect their local beaches and ocean environment. The MPAs were created in 2007 to safeguard fragile ecosystems along our coasts by limiting fishing and harvesting in certain areas. Natural Bridges has some of the most amazing tidepools on the Central Coast, but they have degraded along the years because of continuous over-harvesting of mussels, sea urchins and other invertebrates. It is now illegal to remove animal an
d plant life of any kind from the tidepools and waters right offshore, which we feel is a true success story of a Marine Protected Area.

Save Our Shores conducted nature walks with festival attendees to talk about the animals in the tidepools and Marine Protected Areas. We all learned a lot about Natural Bridges and the history of the park and everyone was happy to hear about the extra protection this unique place has because of it's MPA status. We saw an abundance of marine life in the tidepools including sea anemones, sea urchins and mussels, so it was an honor to be a part of this unique Santa Cruz tradition. If you live near Santa Cruz and have yet to experience the Monarch migration or abundance of marine life in the tidepools of Natural Bri
dges State Park, Save Our Shores urges you to get out in the ocean air and see some of the most amazing wildlife that California's Central Coast has to offer.