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Docent TrainingCoastal Discovery Center

The Coastal Discovery Center is open to the public Fridays through Sundays and is staffed by docents. These trained volunteers provide information to some of the 6 million tourists who travel north or south along this National Scenic Byway section of Highway 1 each year. Docents answer questions about local activities such as visiting the historic Hearst Castle, observing northern elephant seals during their pupping and breeding season, visiting the Piedras Blancas Light Station, and viewing wildlife on offshore rocks and in lush kelp forests.

Docents go through a comprehensive training program to learn about local history as well as the natural and cultural resources in the area. Docent activities include greeting visitors in the Coastal Discovery Center, leading history walks along San Simeon Pier, participating in our annual fair and/or becoming involved in educational programs for school groups during the week days.

Docent at Front DeskDocents are asked to make a one-year commitment to fill at least 8 hours per month at the Coastal Discovery Center. Docents are ambassadors for both Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary and California State Parks. They are also registered as volunteers with California State Parks, qualifying them for special privileges and programs.

Become A Volunteer!

Representing California State Parks and Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary, volunteers at the Coastal Discovery Center interpret local natural history to visitors world-wide, assist with field trips, host public outreach events and participate in citizen science programs. No experience necessary! Training is provided.

  • please call (805) 801-0773, or
  • talk to a docent at the Coastal Discovery Center, Fri - Sun from 11am-5pm


Citizen Monitoring Programs

Volunteers provide a critical link between Sanctuary users and Sanctuary managers through interaction, data collection and interpretation. Volunteers work to support the activities and management of the 6,094 square statute mile (4,601 nmi2) Sanctuary by collecting water samples (Snapshot Day), weekly plankton monitoring (Department of Health Services), monitoring rocky tidepools (LiMPETS), and monthly counts of beach cast marine mammals and seabirds (Beach COMBERS).


Water Quality TestsVolunteers Conducting Water Quality Tests
Beach COMBERSBeach COMBERS Documenting Findings


Reviewed: April 11, 2024
Web Site Owner: National Ocean Service

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