Author: tracibliss

A Look at the Santa Cruz Mountains Spotlight Stewardship Program

Santa Cruz Mountains pic

Santa Cruz Mountains

Dr. Traci Bliss is an award winning professor and experienced speaker on redwood preservation in the Santa Cruz Mountains. An environmental history writer in Santa Cruz, California, Traci Bliss engages with a number of organizations, including the Santa Cruz Mountains Stewardship Network. She recently received an invitation to join the organization’s Spotlight Stewardship program.

The Santa Cruz Mountains Stewardship Network was established with a goal of promoting safe, effective land use and stewardship practices at both the local and regional level. Through the organization’s Spotlight Stewardship program, prominent and influential community leaders throughout the Bay Area and Santa Cruz region can tour different lands and familiarize themselves with the various challenges facing the stewardship of the Santa Cruz Mountains.

The program is comprised of four distinct sessions, with each session consisting of an on site visit and a discussion on relevant stewardship topics, from issues with water quality to the many threats posed by invasive species. More recent topics of discussion include sustainable approaches to land use and the possible effects of cannabis cultivation. To learn more about the program or to engage in a Spotlight Stewardship tour, please visit

California Energy Commission Hosts Workshop on Renewable Energy


California Energy Commission  pic

California Energy Commission

A graduate of Stanford University’s doctoral program, Traci Bliss, PhD, worked as a professor at Idaho State University in Pocatello and Twin Falls. Passionate about conservation, Traci Bliss began her career with the California Energy Commission (CEC), where she helped local governments design energy conservation programs. Today, Traci Bliss continues her conservation passion writing about the history of state parks and beaches in Santa Cruz County.

Established in 1974 as a result of the Warren-Alquist Act, the CEC serves as the state’s primary energy policy and planning agency. It strives to reduce overall energy costs as well as environmental impact, such as greenhouse gas emissions.

Throughout the year, the CEC conducts workshops, prepares seminars, and invites speakers to discuss topics pertaining to energy. On March 3, 2017, the CEC and its staff presented a workshop covering the topic of offshore renewable energy in the state. Members of federal and state governments, energy developers, and researchers gathered to discuss offshore renewable energy and how the development of a Data Basin Portal will affect collecting and sharing data. The workshop also covered recent research findings pertaining to offshore wind energy and selecting offshore development sites.

The World’s Tallest Living Tree

World’s Tallest Living Tree pic

World’s Tallest Living Tree

Stanford University graduate Traci Bliss, PhD, currently engages in various conservation efforts throughout California’s Santa Cruz County. Traci Bliss has focused especially on the movement to preserve local California redwoods in the region.

According to widely accepted authorities, no tree in the world can grow higher than 130 meters, or about 427 feet. Few species even approach this height outside of California redwoods (Sequoia sempervirens), which are generally regarded as the tallest trees in the world. Many believed that the biggest California redwood topped out at 120 meters, or 394 feet, despite historical reports of even taller examples, but about 95 percent of the redwoods that existed 200 years ago have fallen or more recently been cut down, so there is no direct evidence. Other tall trees include the Douglas fir; one historic tree, which is no longer standing, is said to have stood at 410 feet. Less reputable sources throughout the Pacific Northwest and parts of Australia describe redwoods and eucalyptus trees exceeding 130 meters.

More recently, Humboldt Redwoods State Park official Stephen C. Sillett discovered a redwood that measures just over 379 feet, making it the tallest living tree. Affectionately known as Hyperion, its location has not been revealed to the public out of fear that foot traffic might disturb the surrounding ecosystem.

History and Awards – The Santa Cruz Museum of Art and History

A PhD graduate of Stanford University, Dr. Traci Bliss is a recognized local historian and conservationist, a sought after speaker on the topic: “How the Santa Cruz Mountain Redwoods were Saved”. Additionally, Dr. Traci Bliss is the president of the History Forum at the Santa Cruz Museum of Art and History, where she has expanded membership and increased awareness of local history projects and programs. She recently led the Forum on a field trip to the Castro Adobe State Park in northern Watsonville. Built from 1848 to 1849, this is one of the finest examples of a rancho hacienda in the Monterey Bay area.

Dedicated to bringing together visitors and the community through art and history, the nonprofit Santa Cruz Museum of Art and History offers a wide range of hands-on exhibits, programs, and events.

To recognize people who make contributions to local history, the museum presents two awards each year through its History Forum. The honorary title of Distinguished Historian is awarded to a local historian of note whose work consistently promotes Santa Cruz County history.

The Forum also sponsors the Dolkas Award, a grant to support a project committed to raising awareness of local history. Half of the $2,000 award is presented at the forum’s annual dinner event and the other half is presented once the project has been completed.