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Norris Center 50 Years of Wonder: Student Support Initiative

Norris Center 50 Years of Wonder: Student Support Initiative Image
Raised toward our $50,000 Goal
52 Donors
Project has ended
Project ended on October 01, at 12:00 AM PDT
Project Owners

Norris Center 50 Years of Wonder: Student Support Initiative

“The very naturalness of the campus and the surrounding Santa Cruz Mountains attracts a number of fine young scholars to UCSC, interested in studying and protecting the natural world.” -Ken Norris, Professor of Environmental Studies, 1982

Fellow Naturalists from UCSC,

As we celebrate the first fifty years of natural history education and research at UCSC this year, let us also focus on expanding Ken Norris’ legacy over the next fifty years. 

Through many decades of experience, we know that students develop a lifelong passion for studying and stewarding the natural world through direct hands-on experiences and meaningful mentorship opportunities. From research internships in our museum to field experiences in our classes, the Norris Center continues to offer these transformative opportunities to undergraduates from all backgrounds. Our success derives from offering generous stipends and scholarships as well as a variety of introductory courses that appeal to students from many disciplines. But the demand exceeds our funding. Your support will allow us to reach even more students.

“Besides presenting my own scientific research in front of a collegiate-level audience, I am most proud of my ability to put myself in an uncomfortable situation and learn everything from scratch, especially with the many unknowns that everyone has experienced in the past year. In addition to the uncertainty of internships during COVID, I had no prior knowledge about scientific research or fieldwork, especially with bees and insects.”
— Chiara Cantos, Randall Morgan pollinator summer research intern, ENVS class of 2023

You showed me that the world, which was the one thing that I loved most in life, is more amazing and interconnected and beautiful and overwhelming than I ever could have imagined.” 

–Ruth McGee, Natural History Field Quarter student, ENVS class of 2021

 "Natural history field quarter helped me explore different niches, learn techniques of studying the environment and teaching others, and helped me find myself through nature. I learned to practice gratitude for the earth and started experiencing the world through a different lens. Through my experiences with field quarter and the Norris Center I realized how passionate I was about environmental education and justice. It became clear that my goal was to provide youth with a different perspective on learning by building curiosity, helping them lead their own explorations in nature, and building their connection with the earth."

-Jessica Correa, Student and Community Programs Manager, The Bird School Project , ENVS class of 2019

To maintain and grow these experiential-learning opportunities, we are aiming to raise $50,000+ this year to directly support our students in the following key programs:

  • Field course scholarships. The Natural History Field Quarter class Ken Norris created 50 years ago costs students an additional $1,000 in course fees and equipment—these scholarships cover those costs, making it affordable for all.
  • Introductory natural history classes. At $5,000 per class, these small field-based classes expose majors and non-majors to natural history, ranging from bird conservation to nature illustration to fungal biology. This is where it all starts!
  • Stipends for hands-on internships and projects. These $1,500 quarterly stipends support students with financial need to work on projects ranging from field science internships to collaborative endeavors with community organizations. 
  • Extended summer research positions. Each $4,500 research stipend supports an undergraduate, who would normally have to work in the summer. They plan, conduct, and present a natural history research project focused on vertebrate natural history or our Randall Morgan insect/plant collections. 
  • Nature artist residency positions. As part of our Art-Science Residency Program, we pay undergraduate artists $1,500 each to work with faculty researchers over the spring and summer quarters to create artwork to communicate important research to the public.

Thanks for your support! Together we can continue to train new generations of naturalists to be the environmental leaders of the future.

All the best,

Chris Lay, Administrative Director

Rita Mehta, Faculty Director