How to volunteer as a docent or data collector?
Docents are the “harbor seal and sea lion ambassadors” to people who come from all over the world, many of whom know little about marine mammals. We love showing off our unique and treasured colonies of around 200 harbor seals and 100 sea lions. There are several requirements to being a docent:
We are looking for candidates who appreciate marine mammals and enjoy talking to people to educate them on the behavioral habits and characteristics of seals and sea lions and other wildlife along the shore.
We need people who are willing to make a serious commitment to the program. We require that you volunteer one 2 – hour shift at the beach per week or more if you wish.
We expect that your role as a docent will involve protecting these marine mammals. This means asking people courteously to keep a distance from the animals so as not to disturb them.
There are also observations to make at the beach, such as counting the number of animals, describing human harassing episodes, and documenting the number of people you interact with each shift.
Data collectors visit the areas where seals and sea lions haul out to count the number of animals and people watching. This data feeds into our research database which forms the basis for research into these unique colonies.
Free training is given for both roles. The program to become a docent consists of three educational sessions. We will initially send you a manual on both species and some hints on good communication skills as a docent. During the training sessions at the beach with an experienced docent, you will gradually become more confident handling questions and encouraging visitors to adhere to the viewing guidelines in an educational manner.