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Snowy Plover Docent Program

Docent Sara
Docent at COPR

The Snowy Plover Docent Program was initiated in August 2001 to “assist the protection of the snowy plovers at Coal Oil Point Reserve, and to raise awareness in the local community of the importance of the preservation of this species and its habitat”. The program recruits, trains, and organizes volunteers to become ambassadors of Sand’s Beach. Each docent plays a crucial role in the protection of the plovers by educating beach users about this threatened species and how to use the beach responsibly. Docents provide a personal and friendly contact for beach users. They promote public interest and understanding, and in turn, dramatically increase the effectiveness of other management efforts, such as signs and barriers. Though a diverse group, we share a common goal: to maintain beach access and recreation for people while preserving and protecting habitat for the snowy plover and other shorebirds.

Snowy Plover chick
Snowy Plover in the incubater - about 4 hours old - June 7, 2008

Docent Trainings

Docents are trained to provide education and to protect roosting and nesting plovers at Sand’s beach.

To become a Snowy Plover Docent, you must attend a 6 hour training course. This includes:

  • 2 hour tour of Coal Oil Point Reserve
  • 3 hour classroom-setting instruction
  • 2 hour ‘on-the-beach’ training or practice shift

At the training you will learn:

  • All about the biology,ecology, and threatened status of snowy plovers
  • The two major roles of a docent : educator and protector
  • Great tips for communicating with the public

Training sessions are held once a month, or by special appointment.

Docents commit to a 2-hour shift on the beach every week. During the shift, Plover Docents provide education in the following way:

  • Interpret Reserve rules for beach users
  • Share information about plover biology
  • Help beach goers indentify plovers and other shorebirds
  • Encourage questions and learning about conservation on all levels

Docents also provide protection for plovers and their chicks and nests. They:

  • Ensure that the boundaries of the sensitive habitat are respected
  • Make sure that dogs are with their owners and leashed at all times
  • Discourage disturbance or depredation by crows and other predators

A basic data form is also completed by each docent throughout each shift.

If you would like to find out more about the Docent Program, or would like to volunteer your time and become a Plover Docent, we would like to hear from you! The more docents we have, the better the chances for the recovery of the plover population at COPR and the species as a whole. If you are interested in becoming involved, but the "docent" work is not for you, please do not be discouraged. There are many other ways to help. There is constant need for community outreach, office assistance, programming, design, and art, to mention only a few.

2010 Training Schedule

How to Edit the Yahoo Groups Docent Calendar

To register, contact Program Coordinator, Jessica Nielsen
Office: 805-893-3703

Docent Documents

Snowy Plover Docent Manual (2.8 MB pdf)

Snowy Plover Docent Program facebook page

Snowy Plover Docent Program Summary 2008 (Powerpoint)

Waiver Form Please click on Waiver Form Link to download form

Worker's comp form Please chick on the link to download form

My Commitment to the Western Snowy Plovers (MS Word Doc.)

Tips for contacting the public (MS Word Doc)

Coal Oil Point Reserve Snowy Plover Docent Enrollment Form

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