We are no longer accepting applications for the 2017-2018 season. Applications received will be held for the 2018-2019 season.
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 fifteen 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 seven hours from 10 am until 5 pm. Docents are expected to work at least six 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.
For the 2017 season, training is scheduled for two days in November and one day in December. Docents are required to attend training as follows:
New docents must attend the full, three-day Winter Wildlife Docent training on November 18–19 and December 16, 2017.
Returning docents must attend the Winter Wildlife Docent training on December 16, 2017.
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.
Individuals are encouraged to participate.
Minimum age is sixteen. Volunteers under eighteen years of age must have a signed parental consent form. Please contact us (see below) for more information.
Housing and camping/RV sites are unavailable.