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Audubon Canyon Ranch

Audubon Canyon Ranch protects our natural and human communities through land preservation, nature education, and conservation science. Audubon Canyon Ranch acts as guardian of a system of nature preserves spanning 26 properties in Marin, Sonoma and Lake counties. These 5,000 acres provide significant habitat to wildlife and have been placed in our care by generous donors to steward and protect in perpetuity. ACR works to improve global environmental health by conserving and stewarding valuable natural resources, managing for ecological resiliency, providing scientific solutions to ecosystem management, and teaching generations of conservationists in ways that strengthen natural and human communities.

Audubon Canyon Ranch’s rigorous docent training program gives volunteers a firm grounding in local natural history and the ability to recognize and capitalize on teachable moments. Docents receive 17 weeks 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.

Docents of the Bouverie Preserves are devoted, enthusiastic nature-lovers who wish to help connect 3rd and 4th graders with the majesty and marvels of the natural world. Docents bring nature into classrooms and guide children in exploring the wonders of our preserves. Bouverie Preserve Docents teach the natural history of the Sonoma Valley and inspire the next generation of nature enthusiasts while spending time in nature. After graduating from the core training, docents receive a rich menu of lifelong learning opportunities, including lectures, field trips, crafting and special events.

Most of the classes will be held at Bouverie Preserve, located in Sonoma County's Valley of the Moon. Four distinct plant communities—forming a transect from valley floor to near ridge top—are represented within the preserve boundaries. These communities include oak woodland, mixed evergreen forest, riparian woodland and chaparral. Because of this diversity, the preserve is home to a rich combination of plants and animals, including 130 species of birds, 350 species of flowering plants, and numerous large mammals such as the bobcat, gray fox, coyote and mountain lion.

To be part of our 2019 docent training, please fill out an on-line preliminary docent training application and register for an upcoming recruitment hike (10:30AM July 24, August 3, or August 14). Next, download and turn in a docent application.

2019 Course Schedule: September 4, 2019 - January 29 2020. The classes will be held every Wednesday from 8:30 AM to 2:00 PM with breaks for Thanksgiving and winter holidays. Each week’s class provides in-depth coverage of the topic with a significant field portion. Students learn trail techniques and interpretation methods that will engage young learns on the trail.

Fee: The cost for the training is $350. Students must purchase The California Naturalist Handbook (2013, UC Press) and pay for Adult and Pediatric First Aid/CPR/AED training which will be offered on one of the training days by the American Red Cross at a reduced price. Four UC academic credits available upon completion for an additional fee.

Application: Download the docent training application here

Instructors: ACR staff biologists and expert guest instructors.

Contact: Jacqueline.levy@egret.org