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New Docent Training Course


2019 Training Dates:

Basic Training in San Simeon: 
Spring - Saturday March 30 or 
Fall - Saturday September 21

Advanced Training in San Simeon:
Saturday, October 5
Saturday, October 19


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What Is A Docent?


elephant seal docent

A docent is a person who acts as a guide or interpreter, typically on a voluntary basis, in a museum, art gallery, zoo or other natural area.


As a docent with the Friends of the Elephant Seal you will join a team of volunteers who share the fascinating life story of the Northern elephant seal with visitors from around the world. Docent Application Form


Our 20-hour classroom training, delivered over 4 Saturdays, provides information on the elephant seal life cycle and other aspects of the marine ecosystem. Training is continued with on-site mentoring at the Piedras Blancas viewing area. Once you have completed your training you will join a group of 100 dedicated volunteers who enjoy sharing their knowledge of our remarkable wildlife with our visitors.


Meet The Docent Class of 2017


docent jacketCOMMITMENT:

Docents commit to volunteering for four 3-hour shifts each month. Friends of the Elephant Seal docents receive continuing education through annual review programs, docent appreciation events, docent newsletter and special programs.


To apply and receive more information about training use our on-line docent application (CLICK HERE). We can be contacted at (805) 924-1628 should you have any questions.



What is a Winter Guide?


Every winter large male elephant seals lose fights for dominance on other beaches and haul their battered bodies out onto the sand at San Simeon. They are looking a place to heal their battle wounds. Beachgoers at this popular sandy cove are often surprised by this, don’t expect to share the beach with these remarkable critters, and would like to learn more. That’s where Winter Guides can help. Winter Guide Application


California State Parks and Friends of the Elephant Seal (FES) have started a new Winter Guide program to help the public learn about these seals and to protect the seals as they show up on beaches used by the public. 


Winter Guides are needed Friday through Sunday and holidays, from mid-December to mid-March, to help guide beachgoers around the seals and share facts about their amazing lives.  If you have a job or are a student, you can fit this into your schedule. One day of training and on-the-job mentoring with experienced FES guides, and you will be good to go. Expect to spend two shifts a month at San Simeon, from mid-December through mid-March.  Morning shifts 9 am to 1 pm and afternoon shifts 12:30 to 4:30 pm are available.  Volunteers are asked to make a commitment for the entire winter season. 


Want to be part of this new effort to help people enjoy wildlife and learn about the Central Coast’s amazing creatures?  Fill out an application, and come to a public information meeting to learn more.  One meeting will be held November 13 at 5:30 at the Morro Bay Museum of Natural History, 20 State Park Road, Morro Bay; the second is November 16 at 10 am at the Plaza del Cavalier, 250 San Simeon Ave., San Simeon. Training will be held on December 7 in San Simeon and is required. Contact FES at 805-924-1628 or fes@elephantseal.org with questions. Winter Guide Application


california state parksFriends of the Elephant Seal is a cooperating association with California State Parks.


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Photo contributions by Phil Adams, Joan Crowder, Peter Hemming, Brandt Kehoe, Tim Postiff & Nancy McKarney