Tips for Chaperones

We are delighted that you will accompany your child’s class and share the excitement of their visit to the Fitzgerald Marine Reserve intertidal reef—a rich, unusual and world-renowned environment.

By following these suggestions, you can do a lot to help your volunteer naturalist turn your two hours on the reef into a fun, safe and educational field trip. Thank you in advance for your help!

Wear pants and sturdy shoes with non-skid soles, and bring a warm, wind-proof jacket. It can be cold, foggy and windy on the coast even when hot inland. Extra shoes and socks are nice for the car ride home.

Be prepared to walk a short distance along the sandy beach and scramble among rocks that can be wet and slippery. You’ll cross a stream by stepping on rocks, and climb small boulders as you navigate from one tide pool to the next. Help your students with these as needed. Watch for high surf as the tide rises, and call the students back from the edge of the reef if they approach the ocean too closely.

Keep your hands free as much as possible. Secure cameras (or binoculars, cell phones, or other delicate instruments) in pockets or daypacks.

Please keep track of the 4-5 students assigned to you. They should never be more than a few steps away. Help keep them close to your group’s naturalist. If you or the naturalist need to shout to get their attention, they are too far away!

Remind students as needed that FOR THEIR OWN SAFETY they must not:

  • Run on the reef
  • Climb on the cliffs (landslides are common)
  • Get into or even too close to the water

Help protect the animals by looking only. Ask the Naturalist to help if your students would like to touch an animal or look under a rock.

Keep a safe distance from the harbor seals. Stay on the beach side of the cones and ropes. This will help the seals feel safe and continue returning to raise their pups.

Discourage any throwing of rocks, shells, sticks and other objects.

Leave all plants, animals, rocks, sticks and other parts of the reef as you find them. The reserve is a special place where the plants, animals and non-living things are safe. Collecting or even carrying nets, pails and shovels is not allowed.

Encourage students to ask questions and share their observations. Remind students to listen carefully to one another and to the naturalist.

Focus on the students and the trip as much as possible. If you must take cell phone calls, please keep them short. Save chatting with the other chaperones until your group is back at the parking lot.

We hope you enjoy your visit!