Watsonville Nature Center

We are equally sad and excited to announce that this 2022 spring, the small Nature Center trailer will be demolished to make way for a new, permanent, nature center on the Ramsay Park hilltop.  

Nature Center


September Events Calendar 

Saturday, 17th
Coastal Cleanup Day   9:00am-12:00pm

  • Watsonville Civic Plaza 358 Main St.
  • Ramsay Park 1301 Main St.
  • River Park  100 E Front St. 

Saturday  24th

Compost Workshop   2:30pm-3:00pm

    Environmental Science Workshop 120 Second St. 

Monday 26th  

Senior Nature Walk:  1:30pm-3:00pm

Meet at the Upper Struve Slough entrance (behind the Body Zone Gym)                            1810 Main St.


Friday 30th  

PVHT- Health Fair 4:00pm-7:00pm

(Visit our booth to learn about emergency preparedness )

Watsonville Plaza 358 Main St. 


For more information or questions contact Nancy Porto at naturecenter@cityofwatsonville.org or (831) 768-3161. 

 Follow us @watsonvillenaturecenter for more conservation activities! 


Our Story 

In 2004 the City of Watsonville, through the stewardship of the Department of Public Works & Utilities, established the City’s Nature Center as a place for community environmental learning and wetland exploration; and to act as the gateway to the award winning City trails. Over the last 17 years, the little trailer in the back of Ramsay Park that we’ve all come to know as Watsonville’s Nature Center has been serving as a space where community members of all ages can learn about local habitats, receive free conservation devices, and participate on guided nature walks. The Center has also served as a one-stop shop for residents to learn about composting, waste reduction, recycling, water conservation, pollution prevention, and conservation rebates among many other topics. 

Our Hope for the Future

The dream of having a bigger and permanent center is getting closer. Thanks to funds from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), Watsonville will have an accessible space where they feel welcomed and inspired to connect and engage in sustainability and environmental conservation. The new center will continue to serve our diverse community, bringing them closer together to embrace our local natural, cultural, and historical resources and contribute to their preservation. Through climate action, pollution prevention, and emergency preparedness participation, our hope is to continue to create a more informed, connected, and resilient Watsonville. 

What’s Your Hope?

Tell us what would you like to experience and learn at the new center. Residents share their ideas in person over the next six months when joining us during our ongoing activities, or share your ideas via email at naturecenter@cityofwatsonville.org.

Activities During ConstructionBike Group

Our Nature Center team will continue to host a series of free, bilingual nature walks, workshops, and events as we believe that our local community plays a vital role for the conservation, restoration, and the overall protection of the environment. These activities will continue fostering behaviors that reconnect us to the environment and that prepare us for the new challenges the world is facing with climate change.

Guided Nature & Birding Walks

Birding Walk near bridge

 Join us in exploring our award winning trails through the rich wetland habitat. Stay tuned for upcoming walks! 

  • No reservations required
  • Families with children welcome
  • Binoculars provided
  • Bring water, sunscreen, comfortable shoes and dress for the weather

Guided Group Trail Tours by Appointment

Slough trail tour kids

Register your teen or adult group for a FREE guided tour of the wetlands trails. Your group will experience first-hand the beautiful birds and plants living in our local wetlands, and walk away knowing why and how to protect this unique habitat.

  • Minimum group size: 10 people
  • Visits tailored to fit needs and interests of group
  • Bilingual staff available
  • To register please call 831-768-3166 two weeks in advance

Litter Cleanups

Clean up leadersAs part of our Beautification Program, community groups or youth programs can schedule litter clean-ups on the trails and around neighborhoods by emailing at naturecenter@cityofwatsonville.org. Materials, instructions and a leader (when needed) will be provided. Must schedule at least 2 weeks in advance. School volunteer credits are also provided.

Partnering Opportunities

Our ultimate goal is to better serve the Watsonville community by offering and highlighting resources and opportunities available to them while connecting with them and local organizations to create a stronger community. Join us to:  

  • Promote and exchange educational activities while combining outreach efforts
  • Share programs, services, and audiences through partnering events and workshops
  • Highlight your organization with other organizations’ audiences
  • Be part of our outreach event calendar

To learn more, please contact us at naturecenter@cityofwatsonville.org or call us (831) 515-8306. 

A Beautiful Contribution

Slough Trail birding 2As part of her legacy, Nancy Lockwood, a long term City employee with a huge heart who helped establish the Nature Center, left behind funds to support the creation of a new Watsonville Nature Center facility. The funds are held in The Nancy Lockwood Fund (EIN 94-2808039), at the Community Foundation of Santa Cruz County under the oversight of Watsonville Wetlands Watch. Funds originated from a bequest from Nancy Lockwood to the Community Foundation for this purpose and for others to donate to make her dream possible. The new facility will also provide shared office and program space for the City’s long-time partner, Watsonville Wetlands Watch, to conduct ongoing programs for wetland preservation, environmental education, restoration and stewardship efforts for the City.