News Briefs

Registration opens Monday for free school field trip program

Friends of Santa Cruz State Parks (Friends) announced that online registration for Kids2Parks, an innovative park-equity program to bring students from Title 1 schools to state parks, will open Monday, July 31, at

Kids2Parks, a partnership between nonprofit Friends and California State Parks, offers free educational field trips in local state parks to eligible Title 1 elementary schools in Santa Cruz, San Mateo and Santa Clara counties. The registration period for field trips planned for the 2023-24 academic year will run from July 31 to Aug. 27.

Title 1 is a designation by the U.S. Department of Education that primarily indicates a high percentage of students from low-income families. Teachers apply online for free and will be notified by early September if their application was selected.

The program increases the number of students who can visit a state park or beach by reducing barriers to access. Kids2Parks funds the field trip transportation costs, including bus rental, driver time and fuel, and also pays State Parks’ staff time to support the field trips. Nearly 13,000 students have participated in field trips since the program’s inception in 2016.

Kids2Parks is funded through grants and donations from individuals and businesses. Donations to the program can be made at

Speakers to discuss Scotts Valley school funding 

Scotts Valley Unified School District Board President Michael Shulman and Superintendent Tanya Krause will be the guest speakers for the Democratic Club of North Santa Cruz County on Tuesday, Aug. 1.

Shulman and Krause will discuss Scotts Valley school funding challenges and the Governing Board’s decision whether to bring voters a measure this fall to renew the parcel tax (enacted in 2018) that expires next year. Members of the public are welcome to attend.

Effective with the August meeting, the club will meet in-person upstairs at Bruno’s Bar and Grill, located at 230 Mt. Hermon Road in the Kings Village Shopping Center in Scotts Valley. Meetings start at 6:30pm.

No food service will be available upstairs, so members who would like to have dinner before the meeting should come early and dine in the downstairs dining room.

Exhibition features Spotlight Award recipients

Santa Cruz County Parks Department has announced an exhibition for the Santa Cruz County Arts Commission’s 2023 Spotlight Awards, which recognize individuals who have achieved a high level of excellence and creativity in their work, but who have not received widespread acknowledgment of their talent.

This year’s recipients include Kevin Painchaud (photojournalist), Heejin Lee (mixed-media artist), Augie Escobedo (painter/muralist), Nikia Chaney (writer/poet) and Madeline Aliah (writer/poet). 

Each will be showing their work on the fifth floor of the County Government Center, 701 Ocean St., in Santa Cruz from Aug. 1 through Oct. 20. A First Friday opening reception will be held Aug. 4 from 5-7pm.

This annual award recognizes younger artists as well as those who are discovering their artistic voice later in life. Spotlight Awardees must reside in Santa Cruz County. In addition, they must have completed works that show a high degree of excellence, individuality, innovation and/or creativity.

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A staff member wrote, edited or posted this article, which may include information provided by one or more third parties.


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