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Groundswell Coastal Ecology

Organization Mission

Groundswell restores coastal ecosystems using nature-based solutions. We are a constructive group of ecologists, naturalists, educators, and community dedicated to designing and building habitat that makes our coast better for nature and people.

We prioritize restoration that increases biodiversity, coastal resiliency, and expands community outreach. We harvest local seeds, grow native plants, and then plant at degraded habitats in need of stewardship.

We are small but mighty, making this work happen by pulling together an amazing group of committed volunteers, teachers and K-12 students from all over Santa Cruz County to participate in the full cycle restoration process. Groundswell has rebuilt habitat resources and restored over 11% of the Santa Cruz coastline, including well-loved beaches like Seabright, Natural Bridges and Davenport Landing.

The Big Idea:
Saving Santa Cruz Monarchs

Monarchs are on the verge of collapse, having declined 99% on the West Coast since the 1980s. Santa Cruz is a monarch hotspot where Lighthouse Field State Beach is home to the second largest overwintering population of monarch butterflies in California.

To save Santa Cruz monarchs we want to continue to lead the community in enhancing this critical habitat. We can do this together by building nectar resources, optimizing overwintering grove conditions, and curbing predation. We steward the grove ecosystem and have led students and community volunteers in this effort.

We need your help to continue this critical work as well as to expand to other overwintering sites in Santa Cruz. Monarchs are at the heart of our community and an important part of our tourist industry.

Over the last five years I have participated in and observed the remarkable changes that have occurred at Seabright Beach, from increased biodiversity to the beauty of dunes awash in spring blooms. I'm inspired by how quickly a habitat can be restored with foresight, leadership and community involvement. The coastal benefits of this project and its lasting impact on students, families, and community members invested in the project is a Groundswell legacy.


Susan Dahlgren, Gault School, Santa Cruz