Museum of Natural History Explores Cotoni-Coast Dairies

The original exhibit, “Cotoni-Coast Dairies: Monumental Steps,” looks at the soon-to-be-open National Monument on Santa Cruz County’s North Coast.

Sponsored content

Santa Cruz Museum of Natural History Press Release

May 28, 2024—The Santa Cruz Museum of Natural History’s latest exhibition “Cotoni-Coast Dairies: Monumental Steps” takes a look at the iconic topography of the northern coast of Santa Cruz County, and the decades-long effort by local groups to conserve it. Through maps, community voices and breathtaking landscapes, this exhibit explores the unique property that has so recently been added to the region’s open space.

The Museum is also collaborating with representatives from the scientific, educational, and regional naturalist communities, along with local Indigenous tribes, to develop the first phases of interpretive content on site at Cotoni-Coast Dairies. The project is centered on ensuring that visitors have access to resources to educate themselves about the land's significance, including the important biodiversity of the region, the impact of human activities throughout history, and the opportunities available to help steward nature.

In 2017, President Barack Obama added the 5,800-acre site to the California Coastal National Monument, protecting its incredible ecological, cultural, and historic resources in perpetuity. After years of preparation, the Bureau of Land Management is poised to open the property to public access in the coming year. As a part of the National Monument system, this land will be accessible to the public for conservation, study, stewardship and recreation through thoughtful collaboration.

“This property supports a diverse mosaic of vegetation and wildlife, influenced by its distinct topography and storied history. We’re excited for our visitors to learn about the effort it took to preserve this special place, and perhaps plan their own future visits for when the site is open,” said Liz Broughton, Visitor Experience Manager.

The opening of the exhibit will be celebrated at the Museum’s First Friday event on June 7, from 5-8pm. This free event is open to the public and will dive into the topic of public access with our many community partners who support access to the outdoors. This exhibition is sponsored by the Sempervirens Fund and was made possible in partnership with the Bureau of Land Management, the Santa Cruz Mountains Trail Stewardship, and the Amah Mutsun Tribal Band.

About The Santa Cruz Museum of Natural History
The Santa Cruz Museum of Natural History's mission is connecting people with nature and science to inspire stewardship of the natural world. The Museum was first established with the personal collection of local naturalist and lighthouse keeper Laura Hecox. Founded in 1904, becoming an independent nonprofit in 2009, it has a proud history as the first public museum in Santa Cruz. The Museum is located in Tyrrell Park, bordered by its Garden Learning Center featuring native plants and grasses, and a life-size gray whale model greeting the public. The historical collection, public programs, and location make this institution a cherished landmark located across from the entrance to Seabright State Beach. Learn more about the Museum at