Volunteer Naturalist Training Starts Thursday, January 31
By Jennifer Robins

The Amigos de Bolsa Chica is happy to announce a brand-new Volunteer Naturalist Training Class (formerly known as Docent Training Class) to start on Thursday, January 31, 2019 at 7:00 p.m. at the Bolsa Chica State Beach Visitor Center, and run for eight weeks on Thursday evenings through March 21. Cost of the class is $75.00 which includes a unique Training Manual, a binder of photos to use on the tour, an official name tag and upon completion of the classes, certification as a Volunteer Naturalist.

The topics to be covered are Birds, Endangered Species, Ecology, History, Restoration, Wetland Native Plants, Vertebrates and Invertebrates, the Gabrieleno Band of Mission Indians and Teaching Tips for New Naturalists.The presenters include experienced Naturalists, a retired teacher, the California Dept. of Fish & Wildlife Manager of the Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve, and a Tribe Biologist of the Gabrieleno Indians.

Not only are we welcoming new faces who want to lead informative tours of the Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve, we are strongly encouraging all experienced Amigos volunteers to sit in on the new classes at no cost as we have revised the scope of the training – and all of our educational material – so that Amigos tours of the BCER meet the Next Generation Science Standards.

The Next Generation Science Standards is a multi-state effort in the United States to create new education standards that are “rich in content and practice, arranged in a coherent manner across disciplines and grades to provide all students an internationally benchmarked science education.” The Amigos’ Docent Training has always been in-depth and has encompassed the material in the new standards; to an extent, it is nothing new. But by revising both the Naturalist (Docent) Training class and the Training Manual to focus clearly on the standards, the Amigos Docent-led tour can more directly assist teachers in their studies by presenting material to students and groups that is aligned with the new standards.

Not only will this effort encourage teachers and schools to schedule Amigos wetland tours, we feel this vastly simplifies the information Naturalists will have to present. For instance, rather than emphasizing bird species identification, which may be overwhelming to a first-time volunteer (or visitor) to Bolsa Chica, the Standards instead focus on birds’ adaptations to different habitats and different food sources with different bills and different feet. In revising the Training Manual, the Amigos Education Committee has created a bullet pointed syllabus that assists both new and returning volunteers in hitting the main topics students need to know.

We look forward to meeting new people who are interested in learning about more about wetlands and who want to share their knowledge with students, scouts and adults. Please email info@amigosdebolsachica.org or call 714-840-1575 to sign up for Amigos de Bolsa Chica Naturalist training.
Download and print the 2019 Naturalist Training flyer.