From March 2nd to May 11th, I've been training as a Rocky Shore Naturalist, a partnership program of the California Academy of Sciences and the Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary that trains volunteers to help protect intertidal areas through education, monitoring, and research. As part of the training, we had weekly classes, assigned readings, and three trips to the tidepools on field days.
In our training as naturalists, our group:
- Studied the natural history of tidepool animals and algae with Rebecca Johnson, Academy scientist;
- Joined the Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary and California Academy of Sciences volunteer corps;
- Leared monitoring techniques and participate in scientific research;
- Became a part of a larger citizen science community;
- Learned how to be the best stewards of tidepool habitats and how to convey stewardship messages to visitors; and
- Interacted with California Academy of Sciences visitors and visitors to the tidepools at Duxbury Reef in Marin County and Pillar Point in San Mateo County.
Now that our training is complete, my cohort will commit to volunteering at least once a month for a year. I'm going to volunteer as a docent at the Discovery Touch Tidepool at the Steinhart Aquarium and I hope to get involved in an exciting citizen science project soon!
- Working as a roving naturalist at Duxbury Reef in Bolinas or Pillar Point in Half Moon Bay;
- Helping out with student intertidal monitoring at one of the beaches listed above;
- Working and talking to visitors to the Discovery Touch Tidepool at the Academy of Sciences;
- Participating in citizen science monitoring of invertebrates and algae;
- Counting visitors to the reef; and
- Other opportunities as they arise.
This experience was absolutely amazing! As I posted below, it also included an opportunity to participate in the BioCube project with David Liittschwager, an author and photographer working with National Geographic and the Smithsonian Institution.
Enjoy the iPhone photos that I took during the field days in the album above. Special thanks to Rebecca Johnson for her excellent teaching and for inspiring the next cohort of Rocky Shore Naturalists to communicate ecological concepts, continue learning, share a love of tidpools with others, and volunteer to conserve them for future generations.
Want to join the fun?
My first gig as a Rocky Shore Naturalist will be on Sunday, May 19, 2013 at the Fitzgerald Marine Reserve in San Mateo County. I will be leading a group as a member of the steering committe at Bay Localize, an organization inspires and supports Bay Area residents in building equitable, resilient communities. Contact me for more information or to join us!