docent-led hike

Each year, nearly 1,000 Midpen and partner volunteers contribute over 20,000 hours preserving and protecting open space lands by participating in a variety of ways such as educating and inspiring visitors, constructing and maintaining trails and removing invasive, non-native vegetation.  These volunteers are key to our success.  Their energy and dedication is immeasurable and their efforts are greatly appreciated by board members and staff.  How will you help?


COVID-19 AND VOLUNTEER PROGRAMS:

Volunteer programs, training opportunities, and activities have been suspended until further notice. Please submit your interest in future training opportunities for the different programs listed below.


Please note age requirements and desirable skills as marked.

Volunteer Programs

Preserve Partner

Be on the front lines and get involved in restoring and maintaining Midpen trails and preserves. Each year we host over 70 fun, educational, and productive Outdoor Service Projects.

Advanced Resource Management Stewards

Adopt a resource management site within a preserve and work independently on a wide range of tasks to restore the complex open space preserve ecosystems.

Trail Patrol Volunteer

Hike, ride your bike, saddle up your horse, and hit the trail. Trail Patrol Volunteers provide a valuable resource to visitors to our open space preserves.

Nature Center Docent

Staff the David C. Daniels Nature Center located at Skyline Ridge Open Space Preserve. The Nature Center is open weekends April to mid-November.

Docent Naturalist

Provide year-round guided interpretive hikes and rides that engage preserve visitors with the natural and cultural history, and ecology of the mid-peninsula region and Santa Cruz Mountains.

Outdoor Education Docent

Work as part of a docent team leading small groups of 3rd - 5th graders on a field trip to the Skyline Ridge Open Space Preserve and the David C. Daniels Nature Center. Field trips take place on Tuesdays and Thursdays during the spring and fall of each year.

Download Volunteer Brochure


Preserve Partner

Be on the front lines and get involved in restoring and maintaining Midpen trails and preserves. Each year we host over 70 fun, educational, and productive outdoor service projects. Sign up for as many of these projects as fit your schedule

Preserve Partners installing a fence at Sierra Azul

Duties

  • Habitat restoration (removal of invasive, non-native vegetation, planting native vegetation, installing erosion control materials, etc.)
  • Trail restoration
  • Fence construction and repairs
  • Other important resource management activities

Training

  • No advanced training or experience necessary!
  • Midpen staff members provide all tools and on-site training and instructions.

Suspended further due to rise in COVID-19


Advanced Resource Management Stewards

Take your passion for resource management to the next level! Part hands on work in the preserves and part data management, this advanced volunteer role allows individuals to 'adopt-a-site' within a preserve and work independently on a wide range of resource management tasks to restore the complex open space preserve ecosystems..

man using weed wrench to pull weeds

Duties

  • Perform invasive, non-native vegetation management on your own
  • Site monitoring
  • Data collection and reporting using Calflora, an online data repository of plants (native and non-native) found in California
  • Regular communication with designated staff to ensure efficient execution of site plan
  • Attend scheduled training and/or meetings 

Training

  • A mandatory training program including an interview and 2-3 scheduled sessions and site visits
  • During informative training sessions, you'll learn how to identify common invasive and native plants, proper tool use, and data management in Calflora
  • All members receive enrichment and refresher training at membership meetings and other scheduled sessions. Training subjects include: District history, leadership skills, safety, and various trail and preserve maintenance tasks

Prerequisites

  • Attend 3 Outdoor Service Projects to experience the field aspect of this role - let the project lead know of your interest in the ARMS program!
  • Previous experience in restoration, botany, or land management is helpful, but not required; most important is a passion for resource management and the ability to properly learn/identify various plant species
  • Computer literacy and the ability navigate an online database

Must be at least 18 years of age
 

Submit a Volunteer Interest Form


Nature Center Docent

Staff the David C. Daniels Nature Center located at Skyline Ridge Open Space Preserve. The Nature Center is open weekends April to mid-November.

Nature Center Host at Daniels Nature Center

Duties

  • Greet visitors and share information about Midpen preserves.
  • Share environmental and natural history information; engage visitors with interactive exhibits.
  • Conduct hands-on discoveries (pond ecology, wildlife viewing, etc.)

Upcoming Training

  • Due to the COVID-19 health crisis, scheduling of a training date is uncertain.  Please submit an interest form to be notified of next available training.

Must be at least 18 years of age. Previous experience working with the public, youth, and involving nature/environment is desirable but not required. Midpen provides all necessary training and ongoing enrichment opportunities.

Submit a Volunteer Interest Form


Outdoor Education Docent

Work as part of a docent team leading small groups of 3rd-5th graders on a field trip to the Skyline Ridge Open Space Preserve and the David C. Daniels Nature Center. Field trips take place on Tuesdays and Thursdays during the spring and fall of each year.

Outdoor Education Leader

Duties

  • Using Midpen's unique "Spaces & Species" curriculum, teach children about the natural world, providing opportunities for environmental learning (including a 1-mile easy-to-moderate hike) while fostering a fun atmosphere for discovery and exploration.

Training

  • A 2021 training is planned - date yet to be determined. Please submit an interest form to receive future notifications.

Must be at least 18 years of age. Previous experience working with the public, youth, and involving nature/environment is desirable but not required. Midpen provides all necessary training and ongoing enrichment opportunities.

Submit a Volunteer Interest Form


Docent Naturalist

Provide year-round guided interpretive hikes and rides that engage preserve visitors with the natural and cultural history, and ecology of the mid-peninsula region and Santa Cruz Mountains.

Outdoor Activity Docent © Jack Gescheidt

Duties

  • Design and lead (or assist with) activities on preserves such as hikes, mountain bike excursions, and horseback rides.
  • Using interpretive techniques and an understanding of ecology, natural resource management, and local history, encourage appreciation and stewardship of open space and wildland habitat areas.

Training

  • A 12- to 14-week (one evening and one Saturday per week) training and orientation program is required. The training is usually offered every even numbered year from April through June. This training incorporates the UC California Naturalist certification.
  • Thank you for your interest in this program. The 2020 Docent Naturalist training course has been postponed due to the COVID-19 health crisis. NOTE: All currently accepted applicant-trainees will be the first to be notified of the rescheduled training (possibly fall 2020 or likely spring 2021). In the event that any trainees decline the training offer/withdraw from the course others from a list of interested individuals will be contacted (in date order of interest form received). Please submit an interest form to be placed on 2020/2021 waitlist and/or for the interested list for a future training

Must be at least 18 years of age. Previous experience working with the public, youth, and involving nature/environment is desirable but not required. Midpen provides all necessary training and ongoing enrichment opportunities.

Submit a Volunteer Interest Form


Trail Patrol Volunteer

Hike, ride your bike, saddle up your horse, and hit the trail. Trail Patrol Volunteers provide a valuable resource to visitors to our open space preserves.

Trail Patrol

Duties

  • Talk with visitors about trail safety and etiquette
  • Provide general information to visitors
  • Monitor trail conditions

Training

  • A mandatory training program, consisting of an interview and 2-3 scheduled training sessions.
  • During informative training sessions, you will learn how to handle emergencies and identify potential trail hazards. We ask for a commitment of at least once a month for one year.
  • Due to COVID-19, the spring/summer 2020 training class has been cancelled and will be rescheduled once we resume normal operating functions and have had time to evaluate available staff time and resources for various Midpen projects and programs.

Must be at least 18 years of age.

Submit a Volunteer Interest Form


Need More Information?

For further information about Docent Naturalist, Outdoor Education Docent, or Nature Center Host opportunities, please email docent@openspace.org.

For more information about Preserve Partners or Trail Patrol, email volunteer@openspace.org or call 650-691-1200. For group projects, please refer to the information on our Group Volunteer Project page.