Gary Griggs honored by Santa Cruz Museum of Natural History

Gary Griggs
Gary Griggs received the Laura Hecox Naturalist Award last month at the Santa Cruz Museum of Natural History. (Photo courtesy of SCMNH)

Gary Griggs, distinguished professor of Earth and planetary sciences and director of the Institute of Marine Sciences at UC Santa Cruz, received the Laura Hecox Naturalist Award from the Santa Cruz Museum of Natural History on May 23 at the museum's inaugural Patron's Reception.

Griggs is the first recipient of the Laura Hecox Naturalist Award, which honors Santa Cruz community members who exemplify the museum’s mission to connect people with nature in ways that help others to appreciate, understand, and protect the wonders of the natural world.

Laura Hecox, in addition to being Santa Cruz’s lighthouse keeper in the late 1800s, was a naturalist who deeded her collection of shells and fossils to the community for the establishment of the Santa Cruz Museum of Natural History. The museum established the award in her honor to recognize those who generously and enthusiastically share their knowledge and love of natural history and inspire others to do the same.

Heather Moffat, executive director of the museum, said Griggs was a natural choice to be the first recipient of this award. "A world-renowned scientist, Dr. Griggs is equally respected for his passion and talent for educating and inspiring generations of students, as well as the public, about the fascinating world around us and our role within it," she said.

Griggs will give a public presentation this fall on behalf of the museum about his research on the impact of sea level change on California’s coastline. In his research and teaching, Griggs has focused on the coast of California, including coastal processes, hazards, coastal engineering, and sea level rise. He is the author of several books, including Living with the Changing California Coast; The Santa Cruz Coast: Then and Now; California’s Coast and Beaches; and, most recently, Our Ocean Backyard: Collected Essays.