Audubon Canyon Ranch has long recognized that nature education is a community process. Through an integrated program structure unique among outdoor education organizations, ACR Nature Education relies on its Docent, Ranch Guide and Host volunteers to deliver both our School and Public programs. Volunteers, in turn, receive comprehensive science-based training and lifelong learning opportunities.
ACR’s docents are devoted, enthusiastic nature-lovers who wish to help connect schoolchildren with the magic and mystery of the natural world through ACR's School Program. Docents bring nature into classrooms and guide children in exploring the wonders of our preserves.
An antidote to Nature Deficit Disorder as described by author Richard Louv, the School Program provides docent-led, experiential nature hikes to elementary school students in San Francisco, Marin, Sonoma, Napa, Alameda, and Contra Costa Counties. The nature hikes allow students to experience nature in small groups (1:6 docent to student ratio). ACR Docents often inspire a life-long love and appreciation of nature in the children they meet.
"I love this program! It affords a unique opportunity to share nature with children on a substantial hike, sometimes for the first time in their young lives. I love seeing that spark of wonderment that shows up frequently upon holding a newt or observing birds or examining scat on the trail."
- An ACR Docent
Martin Griffin Preserve Docents
ACR Docents of the Martin Griffin Preserve teach 4th and 5th graders about the natural history of coastal Marin. Docents might teach students about banana slugs, Great Egrets or the ecology of redwoods. Training takes place every two years. The next training class will begin in the fall of 2016, and applications are accepted on an ongoing basis. Send it to: Docent Training Program, Audubon Canyon Ranch, 4900 Shoreline Highway One, Stinson Beach CA 94970.
Contact the Education Team at 415.868.9244 to learn more.
Bouverie Preserve Docents
Our Bouverie Preserve Docents teach 3rd and 4th graders about the natural history of the Sonoma Valley. Docents might teach students about native plants, spider web-building habits or newt migration. Training courses take place every two years. The next training class will start in fall of 2015 and applications are accepted on an ongoing basis.
ACR’s rigorous training program gives docent volunteers a firm grounding in local natural history and the ability to recognize and capitalize on teachable moments. Docents receive 22 weeks (120 hours) of core training in natural history, ecology and nature interpretation for children. Classes are taught by experts and run by experienced docents who know how to make learning fun.
Training classes meet Wednesday mornings from September through February and alternate each year between the Martin Griffin Preserve and Bouverie Preserve. College credit is available.
After graduating from the core training, docents receive a rich menu of lifelong learning opportunities, including lectures, field trips, crafting and special events.
"I most enjoy the look on a visitor's face when they share an insight they gained while walking through the woods or perching on an overlook with a spotting scope. A sense of wonder is a rare thing. It can happen from simply seeing the pale blue color of an egret's egg for the first time, or seeing creatures emerge from pond water under a hand lens or microscope."
- An ACR Ranch Guide
Calling all nature lovers, birders and friendly folks! Ranch Guides interpret the natural environment of ACR's Martin Griffin Preserve and its many unique natural features for over 5,000 visitors each year from mid-March through mid-July. Volunteer times are on weekends and holidays and are flexible. Contact Julie Keating at 415.868.9244 for more information.
Ranch Hosts greet and orient visitors as they arrive at the Martin Griffin Preserve on weekends and holidays during the spring and early summer. There is no training or experience necessary.
Contact the Education Team at 415.868.9244 ext. 301 to learn more about any of these volunteer opportunities.