"Follow the Flush": The 2018 Santa Cruz Wastewater 5K Walk

“Follow the Flush” is a participatory 5K walk following the path of wastewater through interesting landscapes that are hybrids of urban infrastructure and natural features. Interactive art installations and informational kiosks along the way offer a fun way for people to learn more about what happens after we flush the toilet, and to engage in some potty humor as a playful way into more serious conversations about waste, sanitation, sustainability, and resilience. The walk ends at the wastewater treatment facility, where tours of the facility will celebrate the work that goes into maintaining this critical infrastructure, including the role that microorganisms play in processing human waste and making us who we are. Register here.

Kid-friendly, though expect some healthy discussion of bodily functions. ;)

Part of an ongoing series of walks held in various cities, the 2018 event in Santa Cruz is co-developed with the support of the City of Santa Cruz and the Santa Cruz Arts Commission, independent artist studio FICTILIS, an undergraduate research group within the DANM department at UCSC, and other artists and organizations in the Santa Cruz community.


Art installations and performances, water tables that double as interactive displays from water-related nonprofits, and a variety of family-friendly games and activities.

Art installations and performances

  • A special appearance by POOP (People’s Own Organic Power) Project founder Shawn Shafner, aka The Puru, who will lead hourly meditations to rebalance the bowels, and offer wildflower mud pies to encourage communion with the holy soil.
  • The Bureau of Linguistical Reality, an interactive artwork that collaborates with the public to create new words for feelings and experiences for which no words yet exist.
  • A rare public display of Alviso’s Medicinal All-Salt,  a unique hand-harvested salt enriched with pharmaceuticals found in Silicon Valley’s natural water systems, created by Morgan Levy + Jon Cohrs. 
  • A site-specific sound installation by Gregory Sullo, using wastewater pipes as both the source of the sound and the resonant speaker.
  • Poster prints by Molly Winter about the toilets of the world, decomposers, composting, and the nitrogen cycle.
  • A peek at a new ocean and estuary themed mural in progress by local artist Eljah Pfotenhauer.
  • Plus videos by Karina Mangu-Ward, Rachel Zollinger, Lize Mogel, other artists to be added soon...

Interactive displays from water-related nonprofits

  • “Guess the Scat,” with UCSC Campus Natural Reserve Manager Alex Jones, featuring real droppings of mysterious local creatures,
  • A display about Restorative Sanitation from equitable sanitation advocacy org PHLUSH (Public Hygiene Lets Us Stay Human)
  • And other interactive displays from water-related nonprofits like Community Water Center, 
  • Surfrider Foundation, Homeless Garden Project, UCSC Sustainability Office, Fossil Free UCSC, and Santa Cruz Climate Action Network.

Waste Mapping exercise, Best Bathroom prize, toilet humor, “Pin the Poop,” Cornhole, water tastings and drinking contests, and other fun games and activities!

Saturday, May 5, 2018 at 9:30am to 3:00pm

East Remote Lot Hagar Drive, Santa Cruz, CA and 110 California St, Santa Cruz, CA 95060

Recent Activity


Leon 12/7/2018

Do not waste water because you don't even know the value of the water. To make people aware https://australian-writings.net/ do seminars so we come to know about it.

Corrina McFarlane

Corrina McFarlane 3/25/2018

Way to go!!!

Event Registration Required

This event requires registration.