‘Keen Eyes and Curious Minds’

‘Keen Eyes and Curious Minds’

By Noreen Santaluce – Seniors in Action

SIA-1303This is the title of an exhibit of the work and careers of Dan Miller and Randall Morgan currently being featured in the Santa Cruz Museum of Natural History. The sub-title is “Exploring the Lives and Work of Local Naturalists Dan Miller and Randall Morgan.”

Dan and Patty Miller retired and moved into La Posada on November 5, 2013, leaving behind them their home of 50 years in the redwoods and oaks above Aptos. Patty says that they happily turned over the home and many of their possessions to their children, which left them with a feeling of freedom and anticipation for the next years.

Sadly, Patty lost Dan on December 5. Looking back over their long marriage, she can remember the Romeo and Juliet type of courtship of the two Berkley University students. They faced the severe disapproval of her father, and their wedding ceremony was marked with the fear of his interference.

This wedding resulted in a happy marriage that lasted for 65 years. Dan became a Marine Biologist with the California Department of Fish and Game, which meant that the young couple spent time living in forests in sometimes primitive conditions, As a city girl, Patty soon learned to love living in wilderness surroundings and was always vitally interested in her husband’s work.

During their years spent in Aptos while Dan followed his career, the Millers raised their family and were social activists in various causes including the Peace and Freedom Organization, the fights for Civil Rights and Rights for Women, protest of the Vietnam War and Population Connection.

Following Don’s early retirement in 1983, the couple traveled extensively in California, New Mexico, Arizona and Nevada, always pursuing his interests in nature that were shared with enthusiasm by Patty.

Dan published several books on nature, including “Human Population and the Environment”, “Life History and Ecological Guide to the Coast Redwoods”, “Guide to The Coastal Marine Fisheries of California” and “Shark Attacks in California and Oregon.”

While visiting the museum with a group from La Posada, Patty expressed her gratitude to the museum and to the Curator Frank Perry for preparing this tribute to her husband while he was still able to enjoy it.

If you have not visited the Santa Cruz Museum of Natural History recently or have never stopped in there, you could find that it is an interesting way to spend some time in a typical Santa Cruz tradition.

The museum is housed in the original Andrew Carnegie 1915 library building in Tyrell Park above Seabright State Beach at 1305 East Cliff Drive. This small gem of a museum features samples of the area’s geological past and Native American history. It’s wildlife exhibits include a mountain lion perched high and ready to pounce and a touch-tank of tide pool sea life.

The next exhibit will be “Art of Nature” featuring scientific art illustrations by a wide variety of artists. Each expressing their observations of the world of nature.

Museum hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays. Call 420-6115 for information.

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