Audubon Canyon Ranch Ranch Guide Training Program is so comprehensive and engaging it makes one feel a part of the beautiful surroundings.The Ranch is famous as a sanctuary for the beautiful and graceful egrets and herons that nest in the Redwood trees, but the training which includes geology, aquatic ecology, botany and ornithology is so holistic that when I had completed it I felt a part of the whole wondrous landscape of the Ranch. Being a Ranch Guide made feel the a strong desire to share this knowledge and this love of place with visitors.The staff's enthusiasm and interest in natural processes is contagious. My first day as a Ranch Guide it was raining, but the energy and connection was there and shared with each visitor.
I've wandered a bit on my own and have been taken on private tours by Cassie G. They have an incredibly loyal, engaged community and do an amazing job of conveying how important it is to preserve areas of great natural beauty and vital wildlife. I love being able to hike and visit viewing platforms, to watch the egrets nest.
ACR fills a unique place in the education both scietific and in connecting with "nature" for both adults and school children. The staff provides solid scientific information for the docents for their own intellectual growth and to pass on to the children they accompany to the Ranch. It is unique because the emphasis is on the children's bonding with the natural world and becoming joyful amateur naturalists. Many of the children who come to the Ranch have very minimal exposure to natural settings. The place is a revelation to them. A not infrequent response is, "I want to live here."
Shortly after becoming a docent at ACR's Bouverie Preserve, I volunteered to help staff their outreach table at an event. As people approached, I would ask if they knew about Bouverie. When more than 90% of the responses were in the affirmative, I realized that Bouverie touches the entire county via its mission of working with 3rd and 4th graders. We are reaching children and families with our message of preservation. I'm so grateful to be a part of such a caring, powerful organization.
When I first started volunteering at Audubon Canyon Ranch about 16 years ago, Ray Peterson was the biologist at the Bolinas Lagoon Preserve. When Ray saw a particularly exciting display of nature, which to his eyes occurred about every 5 minutes, Ray would exclaim "Five Star!!". Well, that sums up my experience with ACR, where my wife has been a docent for almost 30 years. ACR has an expansive mission (Preservation, Education, Research), a talented and enthusiastic staff, and a system of preserves in Marin and Sonoma that will knock your socks off. Five Star indeed!