Shelter-In-Place Activities

Stay connected to state parks and beaches

Join us for Livestream ranger talks, check out our nature reading list and more.

We understand the public’s need to enjoy the benefits of nature during the COVID-19 pandemic. For people wishing to take a break in the outdoors, public health officials are advising them to walk, run, hike and bike in their local neighborhood parks and beaches. Remember to maintain a social/physical distance of 6 feet or more.

 We have additional ways for you to connect with nature during the shelter in place.

Livestream Talks

Experience state parks and beaches from home via virtual ranger talks. These events are great for all ages and are free to access.

If you are unable to join us live, all programs are recorded for later viewing. Heavy rain cancels. Events are free to view online. Please do not come to the park for the events.

Color together

Get creative! Adults and kids will enjoy coloring images of favorite state park and beach spots. A purple monarch butterfly? Rainbow poppies? For a limited time, download the coloring sheets for free and print them at home.

Get a new Zoom background

Bring the beauty of a park or beach to your next video conference with one of these free Zoom backgrounds!

For more information on how to upload a virtual background to your zoom account please visit the Zoom Help Center here.

Please note that when you upload your zoom image it may appear reversed from your view. However, it will appear correctly to the participants viewing your screen during your zoom call. To adjust your view please disable the “mirror” feature in your
zoom video settings.

Nature Reading List

Bring nature indoors! Not literally, but literary. Read about your favorite outdoor topics or learn about something new for your next nature adventure! Here are our staff picks:

  • “The Feather Thief” by Kirk W.
  • “Soul of an Octopus” by Sy Montgomery
  • “American Wolf” by Nate Blakeslee
  • “The Devil’s Teeth” by Susan Casey
  • “The Hidden Life of Trees” by Peter Wohlleben
  • “Home Ground” edited by Barry Lopez & Debra Gwartney
  • “The California Field Atlas” by Obi Kaufmann
  • “The Home Place” by J. Drew Lanham
  • “What the Robin Knows” by Jon Young
  • “Underland” by Robert MacFarlane
  • “Eye of the Albatross” by Carl Safina
  • “Wild Comfort” by Kathleen Dean Moore

Find these titles and more at Bookshop Santa Cruz, now offering shipping or curbside pickup!

Learn Birdcalls

Here are a few common birdcalls that might be fun to memorize. These calls are distinct and common. Once you start hearing them you can’t stop.


PORTS Home Learning Programs

Parks Online Resources for Teachers and Students (PORTS) is a free distance learning program that uses the power of interactive videoconferencing to help K-12 schools teach common core state standards in the context of California State Parks. PORTS is expanding its offerings during the COVID-19 pandemic:

  • PORTS Home Learning Programs (HLP) are webinars for K12 kids at home due to school closures.Learn more.
  • Teachers who want an on-demand program can visit the regular PORTS website and email the interpreter at the park unit directly to ask. Locally, PORTS interpreter Leslie Reyes, is participating in PORTS On Demand. Learn more.