SCM Bulletin - Annual Children's Christmas Tree Trimming

Newspaper, Santa Cruz Mountain Bulletin, “Annual Children’s Christmas Tree Trimming”, Boulder Creek CA, Volume 3, Issue 12, page 3, author

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I loved writing this article. I am very involved with the museum and have attended as many of their events as I can, this event by far is my favorite. The image in the paper is not mine, but the image below is. The doll pictured below was made by 4 year old Boulder Creek resident Taylor Kievlan.

Sunday December 7th the San Lorenzo Valley Museum had their 13th annual Children’s Christmas Tree Trimming. This is the museum’s longest running event and as usual was a huge success. Over 40 families participated this year in getting ready for Christmas the old fashioned way by decorating cookies, making ornaments, and arranging greenery. This may be a children’s event but don’t think the parents weren’t involved as well; I saw just as many parents creating decorations as I did children.

There was a wide range of choices of activities and for a $5 donation you could do as many of them as you wanted. The skill levels involved also varied a great deal, but none of the activities were too hard for children, as the picture attached shows. The lovely lady you see there was made by Taylor Kievlan of Boulder Creek who is 4 years old. This activity starts off with two twigs tied together with a head already attached. You then choose from dried and fresh plant materials, tie it with raffia, which you also had a few colors to choose from, and with hot glue, assistance provided if needed, you create until you are happy with the final product. There are even 3 example dolls to help you along. This was the Kievlan family’s first time and her grandmother could not be more proud of Taylor’s creation. Taylor’s mother says she is going to display it year round, not just at Christmas. I saw several very well done versions of this activity by a wide range of ages. I heard others say how their kids look forward to opening the box that has the ornaments they have made from years past.

There were many more choices of activities. You could make a wreath or candy cane out of beads and pipe cleaners. If that isn’t for you, maybe making a Santa’s sled or a train out of candy is, this activity was a big hit with kids. If getting some candy hasn’t satisfied your sweet tooth you can decorate sugar or gingerbread cookies. If you wanted something more challenging you could make a corn husk doll and with a bit of pipe cleaner the doll quickly becomes an angel. For a hanging doll you could do the activity pictured. Finally for those of you who want to bring some greenery indoors you could make a hanging arrangement or a center piece out of fresh greenery, bells, and ribbon. There also was a decorated tree at the back of the museum near the original entrance to the Church. Next to that was hot cider and an arrangement of sweets for all to enjoy. There really was something for everyone.

It takes a lot of work to put on an event like this as well as sponsors. The sponsors this year were Joe’s Bar, W/A Insurance Services, and Redwood Resort. It was organized by executive director Lynda Phillips who was helped out by many volunteers. Friday night 10 AmeriCorps volunteers who put down paper to protect the floor, brought in the tables, chairs, and helped decorate for the event. The day of the event 14 volunteers, three of which were also from AmeriCorps, helped with setup, assisting everyone with the activities, and clean up. As always it was a well planned and executed event.

I have been to many activities at the museum this year and this one felt the most warm and inviting. It was like the whole community was coming together to decorate, socialize, and make this holiday time more than just about gifts, but about family and community. Now part of this could be because this was the first time you could really get outside after a week long rain storm and enjoy a bit of sunlight, I was very grateful this event was blessed with such nice weather. Our family will definitely be doing this again for many years to come, and I highly recommend it to everyone of any age.

SCM Bulletin - SLV Book Review "A Split History"

Newspaper, Santa Cruz Mountain Bulletin, “SLV Book Review”, Boulder Creek CA, Volume 3, Issue 8, page 12, author

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This was my first book review for the paper, and I hope to do many more in the future. Since writing this article I have finished the book, which has lead me to reading many others. I just can't absorb enough local history. I guess that is why I volunteer at our local museum.

In June Santa Cruz MAH released their seventh book in their History Journal series. Titled Redwood Logging and Conservation in the Santa Cruz Mountains – A Split History, it catalogs the history of the San Lorenzo Valley in 34 articles and 128 illustrations. It is the combined work of 21 authors from all over our valley and is a total of 267 pages long. The articles discuss things such as the name of our valley and how it was almost renamed, Native Americans, logging, conservation, redwood surfboards, albino redwoods, and some of the fascinating people who have lived here.  

The book cover is in color and the book itself is printed in black and white. Each article starts off with the title and author and then combines text with illustrations to further understanding. Under each illustration it says what it is and where it came from. At the end of each article are the footnotes which tells you the source materials used, many of them being first source documents, but some are other books which allows for additional research. The book itself is laid out like any good reference book should be with a table of contents, list of illustrations, the articles, followed by the appendix which includes insurance maps, measurements, short author bios, and an index for quick and easy reference. The illustrations, which include maps, graphs, drawings and photographs, are high resolution and have good print quality. The text of the book is a good size, and easy on the eyes.

One of the things that has connected our valley in the past was a flume and Lisa Robinson does a great job of explaining its purpose and history in the article titled The San Lorenzo Valley Flume Chronicle. Including the illustrations and footnotes it is 10 pages long and is a good condensed version of her 70 page book The San Lorenzo Valley Flume. It is a quick and easy read, and still explains the major points and highlights in her book. Although missing the illustrations diagramming the construction and functionality of the flume, this is still a wonderful article.

The book starts off with a poem titled Summen – Redwood. Summen means redwood in Native American and really gives you a glimpse into how they viewed these wonderful trees. It is then followed by two articles by Mark Hylkema regarding their culture which furthers this understanding and gives you an idea of what life was like for them in the San Lorenzo Valley.

My current favorite articles in the book are by Zane Moore and are about albino redwoods. These articles are towards the back of the book and give you some insight into the diversity we have in our forests.

I still have not finished this book yet, but I have enjoyed every article I have read so far. I am looking forward to finishing it over the summer and highly recommend it to anyone interested in our valley. You can purchase the book for $24.95 at the SLV Museum in Boulder Creek or Santa Cruz MAH in downtown Santa Cruz.

SCM Bulletin - SLV Museum exhibit Crystals, Caves, & Kilns

Newspaper, Santa Cruz Mountain Bulletin, “SLV Museum – Crystals, Caves, & Kilns”, Boulder Creek CA, Volume 3, Issue 5, page 12, author

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So do to school and my trip to China, I wasn't able to write for the paper for several months. This time my article made it, but my photo did not. Since May of 2014 I have had at least one article in the paper almost every month.

SLV Museums’ new exhibit Crystals Caves & Kilns is now open and will be on display through November 30th 2014. It explores the natural and cultural history of limestone, lime, and marble in our area. By visiting you will learn about the geologic history of our area and how marble caves form. The exhibit includes mineral and crystal specimens, 19th century artifacts, local historic photographs, and activities for the kids.

The exhibit was previously on display at Santa Cruz Natural History Museum, and is sponsored by that museum as well as SLV Water District and the Friends of the Cowell Lime Works Historic District.

At the entrance of the exhibit is a reading cave for the kids with books about cave life. Kids can also add their cave story or drawings with materials that are provided. There is a rock and minerals lab table in the back of the museum, allowing kids to examine and make their own discoveries.

The exhibit also includes information about our local marble quarry, making cement, production of lime, getting lime to market, and the legacy lime has left behind. There is a video playing that talks about a recently discovered cave that is one of the largest in California, as well as the kind of life you find in caves. There are calcite crystals, limestone, marble, travertine, and tufa samples for you to look at up-close and personal. As well as how lime is part of our everyday lives, maps, and how caves need our help to preserve them.

This exhibit has a little bit for everyone and is packed with information. So come visit San Lorenzo Valley Museum and learn about our local crystals, caves, and kilns. The museum is open every Wednesday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday from 12:00noon till 4:00pm.

Where:    San Lorenzo Valley Museum
    12547 Highway 9
    Boulder Creek, CA 95006

When:    April 26th – November 30th 2014
Wednesdays 12:00noon – 4:00pm
    Fridays 12:00noon – 4:00pm
    Saturdays 12:00noon – 4:00pm
    Sundays 12:00noon – 4:00pm