Audubon Canyon Ranch CalNat Course
Martin Griffin Preserve
Stinson Beach,
Sponsor: UC California Naturalist

About the organization: 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.

About our course: Audubon Canyon Ranch’s California Naturalist course serves as our docent training program. It gives volunteers a firm grounding in local natural history and the ability to recognize and capitalize on teachable moments. Docents receive 20 weeks of core training in natural history, ecology, and nature interpretation for children. Classes are taught by experts and trainees are mentored by experienced docents who know how to make learning fun.

Docents of the Martin Griffin Preserve are devoted, enthusiastic nature-lovers who wish to help connect school children (grades 3-5) with the magic and mystery of the natural world. Docents bring nature into classrooms and guide children in exploring the wonders of the preserve. After graduating from the core training, docents receive a rich menu of lifelong learning opportunities, including lectures, field trips, crafting, and special events.

To be part of our 2020 docent training, please out the preliminary application.

Due to the current situation related to COVID-19, docent training may be adjusted, postponed, or canceled. Any individuals who sign up or show interest will be notified of any changes to the structure or dates of the program. The safety and health of our volunteers and future volunteers are of the utmost importance to ACR.

2020 Course Schedule: September 2, 2020 - February 10, 2021. The classes will be held every Wednesday from 9:30 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 $360. Students must purchase The California Naturalist Handbook (2013, UC Press). Four UC Extension credits available upon completion for an additional fee.

Application: Complete the preliminary application here.  

Instructors: ACR staff biologists and expert guest instructors.

Contact: Natasha Lekach, Education Program Manager, Martin Griffin Preserve: