California History

WANTED: Greenhorns!

Take a journey back in time to the mid 1800’s and join us as California history comes alive!  Participants re-enact the life and times of California’s Native Americans, early settlers, and gold miners.  Students will learn how different cultures have utilized natural resources over the years and examine their impact on the environment.  Through understanding our recent history, students can make informed decisions that shape the future for California’s diverse peoples and landscapes.


Living History Program Goals and Objectives:

  • Understand social and economic forces that caused the CA Gold Rush
  • Understand social differences and similarities between past and today
  • Understand relationships between people and their natural environment
  • Learn contributions and influence of cultural diversity in CA history to present
  • Understand the environmental effects of human activities, esp. hydraulic mining
  • Learn about California Native Americans, their culture and uses of plants and animals
  • Learn adaptations and activities of Sierra plants and animals
  • Learn the geologic background of gold fields
  • Understand the importance of group cooperation in achieving common goals

*Special Focus: Programs can emphasize certain concepts or include special field trips based on your requests or requirements.  We work with your school in advance of your program to assure your students’ curricular and social needs are met.


Students will Participate In:

  • Panning for gold
  • Identify several tools used in gold mining
  • Learn settler and Native American crafts and ways of living
  • Discuss the effects the Gold Rush has had on CA’s land and peoples
  • Recognizing/understanding policies of discrimination practiced during the Gold Rush
  • Comparing/contrasting value of gold to other natural resources, i.e. food, water, etc. Reflecting on how learning history changes the future

* Santa Cruz Resource History: Students will follow goals and objectives listed above with the exception of gold rush facts, tools, locations.  Students will instead focus their study on California’s natural resources as a whole, especially redwoods, land, water and Santa Cruz area history of development. Students will learn about local Native Americans, local historical developments, history of Santa Cruz area natural resources. Students will visit Wilder Ranch State Park for insight into early Santa Cruz history and will participate in the life and times of settlers, dairy farmers, Native Americans and loggers. Students will learn historical knowledge that will help them make informed decisions about the future.