Each year, over 600 volunteers contribute over 20,000 hours preserving and protecting open space lands by participating in a variety of ways such as educating and inspiring visitors, constructing and maintaining trails, and removing invasive, non-native vegetation.  These volunteers are key to the success of the District.  Their energy and dedication is immeasurable and their efforts are greatly appreciated by District Board Members and staff.  How will you help?

Please note age requirements and desirable skills as marked.

Download Volunteer Brochure

Nature Center Host | Outdoor Education Leader | Preserve Partner | Outdoor Activity Docent | Trail Patrol Volunteer


Preserve Partner

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. Sign up for as many of these projects as fit your schedule

Preserve Partners installing a fence at Sierra Azul

Duties

  • 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

Training

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

Sign-up for an Outdoor Service Project


Nature Center Host

Staff the David C. Daniels Nature Center located at Skyline Ridge Open Space Preserve. The Nature Center is open weekends April to mid-November.

Nature Center Host at Daniels Nature Center

Duties

  • 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.)

Training

  • Next training class tentatively scheduled for fall 2016, as interest warrants
  • Thursday, September 8; 6:30 - 8:30 p.m. - Orientation
  • Saturday, September 10; 9:30 a.m - 2:00 p.m. - Training

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.

Submit a Volunteer Interest Form


Outdoor Education Leader

Work as part of a team with small groups of 3rd-5th graders on a field trip to the Skyline Ridge Open Space Preserve and the David C. Daniels Nature Center. Field trips take place on Tuesdays and Thursdays during the spring and fall of each year.

Outdoor Education Leader

Duties

  • 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.

Training

  • Our next 6-session weekday training is tentatively scheduled for fall 2016, as interest warrants
  • Thursday, Sept. 29; 6:30 - 8:30 p.m. - Orientation
  • Tuesday, Oct. 4; 8:30 a.m. - 2:30 p.m. - Field trip observation (alternate date Thur., Oct. 6)
  • Wednesdays, Oct. 12, 19, 26 and Nov 2 - Field training sessions
  • November 7-17 and/or early spring 2017 - Field trip observation (minimum of 2 observations)

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.

Submit a Volunteer Interest Form


Outdoor Activity Docent

Introduce preserve users to the natural and cultural history, and ecology of the mid-peninsula region and Santa Cruz Mountains.

Outdoor Activity Docent © Jack Gescheidt

Duties

  • 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.

Training

  • 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 class will be spring-summer of 2018 training class is FULL. Interest forms submitted now will be kept on file for 2018.

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.

Submit a Volunteer Interest Form


Trail Patrol Volunteer

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.

Trail Patrol

Duties

  • Talk with visitors about trail safety and etiquette
  • Provide general information to visitors
  • Monitor trail conditions

Training

  • A mandatory training program, consisting of an interview and 2-3 scheduled training sessions.
  • 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.
  • The District is now taking interest forms for the Spring 2018 Training Class Waiting List.

Must be at least 18 years of age.

Submit a Volunteer Interest Form


Need More Information?

For further information about Outdoor Activity Docent, Outdoor Education Leader, or Nature Center Host opportunities, please email docent@openspace.org.

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