Become a Volunteer

We need your help! There are many opportunities for you as an Open Space Volunteer. What's your specialty?

Please note age requirements and desirable skills as marked.

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

Nature Center Host- [Submit Interest Form]

A Nature Center Host staffs the David C. Daniels Nature Center (open weekends April to mid-November) located at Skyline Ridge Open Space Preserve.

  • Greet visitors and orient them to the District and preserves.
  • Provide environmental and natural history information.
  • Conduct hands-on discoveries (pond ecology, wildlife viewing, etc.)
  • A two-session training is required, consisting of an evening orientation and ½ day Saturday/Sunday, and is offered once or twice per year.
  • A training for this progam was recently completed in spring 2015; the next training is TBD. Interested parties will be placed on a contact list for future opportunities.

Outdoor Education Leader- [Submit Interest Form] - please refer to below listed training dates

An Outdoor Education Leader works as part of a team with small groups of 3rd-5th graders on a field trip (offered to schools on Tuesdays and Thursdays during the spring and fall of each year) to the Skyline Ridge Open Space Preserve and the David C. Daniels Nature Center.

  • Using the District's unique "Spaces & Species" curriculum, teach children about the natural world, providing opportunities for experiential learning (including a one mile easy-to-moderate hike) while fostering a fun atmosphere for discovery and exploration.
  • A 6-session weekday training is generally offered twice per year as interest is generated.
  • A training for this progam was recently completed in spring 2015; the next training is TBD. Interested parties will be placed on a contact list for future opportunities.

Preserve Partner- [Submit Interest Form] [calendar] [video gallery]

Be on the front lines and get involved in restoring and maintaining District trails and preserves. Each year the District hosts over 65 fun, educational, and productive outdoor service projects. You can sign up for as many of these projects as you like by contacting the District’s Volunteer Program Manager.

  • 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
  • No experience necessary
  • District staff members provide all tools and on-site training and instructions.

Outdoor Activity Docent- [Submit Interest Form]

Outdoor Activity Docents introduce preserve users to the natural and cultural history, and ecology of the mid-peninsula region and Santa Cruz Mountains.

  • 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.
  • A 10-week (one evening and one Saturday per week) training and orientation program is required. The training is offered every even numbered year.
  • The next training for this program will be in spring 2016; interested parties will be placed on a contact list for that training.

Trail Patrol Volunteer- [Submit Interest Form]

Our next training class will be in 2016. We are currently accepting interest forms for this class.

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.

  • Talk with visitors about trail safety and etiquette
  • Provide general information to visitors
  • Monitor trail conditions
  • A weekday training followed by two Saturday trainings
  • 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.

Need More Information? For further information about Outdoor Activity Docent, Outdoor Education Leader, or Nature Center Host opportunities, please email

For more information about Preserve Partners or Trail Patrol, email or call (650) 691-1200.

  Additional Information

Volunteer with Open Space

Outdoor Service Projects Calendar

Volunteer Handbook

Sign Up Now!


Curious kids at the Nature Center
Photo by P.Dentinger

Docent-led hike
Photo by D.Vehkter

Docent-led ride
Photo by C. Kortman

Guided school group
Photo by S. Gale

Native seed planting

Fence construction

Trail patrol

Video Gallery