• The Point Reyes Beach as viewed from the Point Reyes Headlands

    Point Reyes

    National Seashore California

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  • 2014 Harbor Seal Pupping Season Closures

    From March 1 through June 30, the park implements closures of certain Tomales Bay beaches and Drakes Estero to water-based recreation to protect harbor seals during the pupping season. Please avoid disturbing seals to ensure a successful pupping season. More »

  • 2014 Winter Shuttle Bus Operations Have Ended

    March 30, 2014, was the last day for the 2014 Winter Shuttle Bus System. Sir Francis Drake Blvd. is open daily from now through late December 2014. More »

  • Operational Changes Took Effect on May 1, 2013

    The Lighthouse Visitor Center is now only open Fridays through Mondays; closed Tuesdays through Thursdays, including Thanksgiving. The Kenneth C. Patrick Visitor Center is open on weekends and holidays when shuttles are operating. More »

Volunteer: Winter Wildlife Docent

Applications are no longer being accepted for the 2014 season. You may apply for the 2015 season. Please consider volunteering in other programs until then.

The Winter Wildlife Docent promotes awareness and protection of northern elephant seals, gray whales, and other marine life by helping visitors view, understand, and appreciate these species; helps visitors understand the ongoing management and research issues relating to northern elephant seals in Point Reyes National Seashore; and provides general park information and assistance to visitors.


  • Staff public wildlife viewing and education areas at the Lighthouse Observation Deck, South Beach Overlook, Elephant Seal Overlook, Historic Lifeboat Station, and Drakes Beach
  • Perform interpretive roves along Drakes Beach and the Chimney Rock Trail
  • Set up and break down spotting scopes and interpretive and educational materials at public viewing locations; open and close the Historic Lifeboat Station
  • Help visitors view, understand, and appreciate northern elephant seals, gray whales, and other marine life by interpreting observed behaviors and educating visitors about the natural history of these species
  • Help visitors understand the ongoing management and research issues relating to northern elephant seals in Point Reyes National Seashore
  • Provide general park information and assistance to visitors
  • Use interpretive materials to help communicate information
  • Professionally represent the National Park Service by wearing an identifying docent vest and interact with visitors in a friendly, courteous, tactful, and helpful manner
  • Operate a two-way radio to communicate with fellow docents and park staff

Docents must possess very good oral communication skills with a diversity of people and be able to work independently. Docents must also be able to spend a majority of the time standing, walking, and/or hiking; be able to tolerate sun, wind, fog, and cold; and be able to carry up to 15 pounds of interpretive materials a distance of up to one-fifth mile.

Knowledge of the park and teaching experience is helpful.

Schedule and Time Commitment
Workdays are scheduled for 7 hours from 10:00 am until 5:00 pm. Docents are expected to work at least 7 weekend or holiday days from January through March.

Docents have the option to continue to work an additional month in April (Saturdays and Sundays only) for the gray whale migration.

New docents must attend a two-day Winter Wildlife Docent training in November.

All docents, both new and returning, must also attend a one-day training in December.

Benefits to the Volunteer
The Winter Wildlife Docent gains personal enrichment and experience working in a national park setting; training and education about northern elephant seals, gray whales and related park resources; satisfaction of promoting awareness and protection of northern elephant seals and gray whales; and satisfaction and experience in communicating with and helping park visitors while representing the National Park Service.

Group Type
Individuals are encouraged to participate.

Minimum Age
Minimum age is 16. Volunteers under 18 must have a signed parental consent form. Please contact us (see below) for more information.

Housing and camping/RV sites are unavailable.

Application and Contact Information
Please apply for the 2015 season under the Current Opportunities listing. For more information, contact Anela Ramos at 415-464-5146 or email.

Did You Know?

Black abalone.

The Black Abalone is one of seven abalone species found in California's intertidal waters. More...