Docent Experience

What does it mean to me to be a docent at the Reserve?

The best day in months! Lots of stories and smiling people. 23 people came in! A few dogs. Cool!
– Saturday, August 8, 2009

That’s what I wrote in my personal journal after my first shift as a docent at the Interpretive Center Honoring Susan J. Varty. Years later, the feeling remains, but on a much deeper level. I always look forward to my shift, and I always leave happier than when I arrived. In fact, if I could live and work there 24/7, I would.



As a nature lover, there are few places so close to my home that fill so many of my life’s ‘buckets.’ What makes the Reserve so special to me?

  • I am proud to be a part of a team of caring people that balance the use of the Reserve with the need to protect it for future generations.
  • The center is very kid-friendly. I LOVE to watch a child enter the building and make a beeline to the microscope. I’m all for more kids having an interest in science…especially girls!
  • I meet all types of interesting people and enjoy listening to their stories. There are those training for a Mt. Whitney hike, families that visit because it’s their children’s #1 choice, gals that meet up for a monthly fun hike, mountain bikers that want a challenge, and first-time visitors that accidentally stumble upon the Reserve. What a nice surprise!
  • The building itself is special to me. A Hubbell fan since cycling past his Sea Ranch Chapel in 1986, I am thrilled to have direct access to a piece of Hubbell’s artistry and spirituality.
  • As a highly creative person, I am quite cozy in the center. The inside is FULL of custom art – on the walls, the ceiling, the floor, and on the columns (I challenge you to find the little frog!). The metal work around the property is amazing an the new totems by the creek are very cool. And it doesn’t stop, there is always something new in the plans. Kudos to Escondido Creek Conservancy and OMWD park rangers!
  • I get to watch awesome nature movies on the mega screen!
  • Though not a teacher, it’s fun to relay helpful info about animals and plants to others. There is always TONS more for me to learn, too.
  • Each docent brings unique skills to the Reserve. It’s nice when my skills are a match for one of the many special projects. Fun for me. Helpful to the Reserve.

The best thing…when a visitor walks up to me before leaving and says “thank you” for volunteering.

Warm fuzzies for free.
Can’t beat that.

Debbie Walden
EFRR Docent
Hike. Ride. Respect. Protect.

Are you interested in volunteering as an interpretive center docent? Please see the position description and application.

Elfin Forest Recreational Reserve

8833 Harmony Grove Road
Escondido, CA 92029

Mailing Address
1966 Olivenhain Road
Encinitas, CA 92024


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