The official website of the Elkhorn Slough Foundation and Elkhorn Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve
Elkhorn Slough Calendar

Stay up to date on upcoming events by signing up for our email updates at the bottom of this page.

Ongoing public events at the Elkhorn Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve (ESNERR).
Meet at the Reserve (map). For more information call (831) 728-2822.

  • Tours of the Reserve - Join knowledgeable docents on a tour of the Reserve every Saturday and Sunday at 10:00 am and 1:00 pm.
  • Early Bird Tour - A special birding tour of the Reserve, the first Saturday of the month at 8:30am.
  • Volunteer Land Stewards: EVERY WEDNESDAY at 10 AM except holidays. Join a group of hands-on land stewards as we care for sites around the Slough. New volunteers should contact in advance to receive updated event information. Projects and sites change weekly, RSVPs requested from all volunteers. Gloves, tools, and light snacks provided. Call 728-2822 with questions.

Regular Reserve and Visitor Center hours: Wednesday - Sunday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The Reserve and Visitor Center are closed on Mondays and Tuesdays. When the Reserve is closed you cannot access the trails, restrooms, visitor center, or bookstore.

Sand Hill Farm Volunteer Clean-up!
Wednesday, August 24th

10am - 1 pm

Meet at the Elkhorn Slough Reserve at 10 am and we'll carpool to the worksite. This Volunteer Land Steward event will require stooping and working in dusty, steep terrain. For questions, contact

Elkhorn Slough CLEAN-UP
September 17, 2016!

Meet at the Elkhorn Slough Reserve at 9:00 am to participate in our annual Coastal Clean-up of Elkhorn Road.
For more information call Amanda at (831) 728-2822.

Sand Hill Farm Volunteers NeededPlein Air Evening with Artist in Residence, Mel Jackson
Wednesday September 21

5:00 to 7:00 pm

The Elkhorn Slough Reserve and Elkhorn Slough Foundation welcome artist in residence Mel Jackson. Please join Mel for a special evening workshop and demonstration for new insights into watercolor and the art of sketching nature.  Mel will discuss and demonstrate his work, and then will guide you, providing tips and personal hands-on attention, as you create your own work of art!
Cost: $5 for members / $10 for non-members
Elkhorn Slough Reserve, 1700 Elkhorn Road, Watsonville


Elkhorn Slough Reserve Open House and Native Plant Fair
September 24, 2016!

This is always a wonderful family event that includes a native plant sale, special walks, activities for kids and more!

Join us at the Reserve - 1700 Elkhorn Road, Watsonville
Special events from 10 am to 2pm

Saturday, September 25, 9 am – 12 pm (PLEASE TAKE NOTE OF THIS NEW DATE)

Conserving 107-acre Sand Hill Farm is a critical piece of the puzzle to ensure the health of the Elkhorn Slough. Perched above the slough, this land was heavily farmed for the past three decades. During those years, these steep, sandy hillsides have eroded and deposited sediment into the estuary. Our first step in healing this damaged land is to remove thousands of pounds of agricultural trash — fencing, drip tape, plastic sheeting, and pipes — that remain on the property. Join us for a morning of rugged, rigorous and rewarding work to experience firsthand what it takes to restore these important watershed lands.

All volunteers must register in advance, CLICK HERE!

Before registering, please consider that both cleanups involve walking on steep and uneven terrain, lifting, bending, and stooping — and may not be suitable for everyone. These projects are best suited for individuals 16 years of age or older. Anyone interested in touring the property is welcome to contact ESF.

For more info, contact us at or (831) 728-5939.


Sand Hill Farm Volunteers NeededKayak Tour of Elkhorn Slough
October 1, 2016

8:45 a.m. - 12:00 noon

$50 to rent a kayak
$25 to join us in your own kayak

We will be launching from Moss Landing Harbor on this guided tour of the Elkhorn Slough.  You’ll have a chance to see sea otters, seals, sea lions, pelicans and more as you glide through the slough’s calm waters.  Tides should be favorable—this is a voyage suitable for beginners, but with enough to see to engage old pros.

You have the option of renting a kayak or bringing your own. 

Space is limited, please register on or before SEPTEMBER 25.

REGISTER with Kayak Rental or REGISTER without Kayak Rental

Teacher Training Workshop!
October 15, 2016

Attention Teachers! This ONE day workshop will provide you with the background needed to lead a content and experientially rich field trip at Elkhorn Slough Reserve.

This one day – 8 hr. workshop
that combines informative presentations with topical field activities. Teachers will be provided an opportunity to deepen their understanding of estuaries, wetlands, watersheds, and conservation issues such as coastal resiliency. Come experience life from the salt marsh and mudflats to the grasslands and oak woodlands and observe the plants and animals that depend upon these habitats. Elkhorn Slough Reserve Education staff will model grade appropriate, NGSS aligned activities.

After the course – Teachers who complete this workshop will be qualified to bring classes to the Reserve. They will have year round access to the trails, field research tools, and the microscope Learning Lab, as well as teaching kits for use at the Reserve and in their classroom. Workshop participants will receive background and activity materials. There is no charge for this class or for school fieldtrips.  Contact with questions.



Evenings on the Estuary
Save the Date for these upcoming events

Elkhorn Slough Reserve and Elkhorn Slough Foundation welcome you to Evenings
at the Estuary — a series of free public events that will help you engage in
important issues that impact our local community. Events in the series are free and open to the public, and will be held at the Reserve after our regular operating hours. We’ll start each evening with a brief nature walk, and our Visitor Center & Bookstore will be open for young ones and their families.

November 9, 2016 5:30–7pm | Pumas in Our Midst
Chris Wilmers, UCSC Wildlife Ecologist and Director of the Santa Cruz Puma Project will discuss mountain lion tracking and conservation in the greater Monterey Bay region, including information about pumas in the Elkhorn Slough.

February 9, 2017 5:30–7pm | Highlights from the Field

ESNERR Research Coordinator Kerstin Wasson will summarize research presented at the Elkhorn Slough Research Symposium (hosted at Moss Landing Marine Labs on January 24), then introduce a featured researcher to discuss their findings.

We look forward to seeing you soon for Evenings at the Estuary!
Elkhorn Slough Reserve, 1700 Elkhorn Road (near Watsonville)
For more information, call 831.728.5939. This is a free series, with a $5 suggested donation.


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This site is maintained by the Elkhorn Slough Foundation in partnership with the Elkhorn Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve