"Monterey Bay is unique because of its seasonal pulse and its diverse habitats but also because of its unique environmental history."

"A buckeye seed, an old oak tree, a forgotten redwood tree, a soil secret, a lost species found. What can we learn from them about the connections between people and nature in the Bay of Life?"  --excerpt from Bay of Life essay Footprints: Living with the Bay

Explore human impacts in Monterey Bay through the lens of Frans Lanting and these themes:

Scroll below to preview photos and focus questions for each theme.

Access the Footprints Resource Folder to find Resources and Field Trip Programs linked to the Bay of Life themes below.

The resource folder contains the full Footprints essay, focus questions with photo collections, and K-12 curricular resources for this theme. See below for a sneak peak at theme photos, focus questions.

Tending the Bay

"We recognize the region's natural richness in the context of the imprints of people who have made their home here."

Amah Mutsun Tribal Band Chairman Lopez said, "Our ancestors knew that before they made any changes, it had to be good for seven generations."  What changes do you see that follow that advice? What more are needed?

Exploiting the Bay

"In the foothills above the Pajaro Valley, at the edge of the San Andreas Fault, stands an ancient redwood tree with massive elbowed limbs that thrust out from the main trunk. It is a solitary survivor from the logging era that wiped out most of the old redwoods in the Monterey Bay region."

What evidence of past human impacts on the environment are still present today? 

Restoring the Bay

"There has been a signicant explansion of protected areas around Monterey bay in the last 50 years .  Today redwood forests have grown back in many areas that were once denuded. Offshore the multitudes of marine mammals are living proof of the success of the Marine Mammal Protection Act and other policies that have enabled wildlife to repopulate the bay."

How does protecting natural areas benefit ecosystems? How does it benefit people?

Sustaining the Bay

"Monterey Bay has a special history of people joining forces to safeguard what they cherish. The next time you stand in awe before an ancient redwood in the forest or watch a whale breach offshore, remember that they are here today because of people who acted."

What people do you admire for their environmental action?  What inspires you to take action?

Maps & Supporting Materials

Explore Bay of Life maps and interactive mapping tools here.

California Environmental Literacy Initiative (CAELI) Partner Portal

Access more resources through Santa Cruz County Office of Education's searchable database of environmental education organizations, programs and resources.