Training Class

Volunteer Naturalist Training

Volunteer naturalist training is offered once a year, usually from January-March.  While the 2013 training class is now underway, plans for the 2014 class will be available in September. Please check back in September to find the details for the 2014 training class.

2013 FFMR Class Topics

Here are the topics for the current training class:

  • Class Overview; FFMR; History of FMR; Phyla Overview; Tides and Zonation; Class trip to FMR
  • Cnidarians; Echinoderms; trip to FMR
  • Sponges; Bryozoans; Tunicates; Marine Worms; trip to Pillar Pt. Harbor
  • Arthropods; trip to FMR
  • Marine Mammals; Chordates
  • Algae; trip to FMR
  • Mollusks; trip to FMR
  • Interpretive Techniques; Teaching Strategies
  • Mar 9: Tidepool Ecosystems; trip to FMR

What do Volunteer Naturalists Do?

FFMR volunteers in training

Volunteers in training enjoy a warm day on the docks in Pillar Point Harbor. Photo by Julie Walters.

Volunteer naturalists share the wonders of Fitzgerald Marine Reserve with school groups and the general public. As a volunteer, you will be helping to protect our rich, unique intertidal environment and inspiring our visitors’ imaginations and understanding. Being a volunteer naturalist is an exciting and rewarding experience.

Instruction covers marine biology, ecology and interpretive strategies and will prepare you to become a tide pool docent. Training typically consists of nine Saturday afternoon classes from January – March,  plus six additional hours spent at the Reserve with a mentor.  The classes will be held on the Coastside near the Reserve and at the Reserve.

There are many different ways to volunteer at Fitzgerald Marine Reserve. Coverage is most needed for conducting guided tours for school groups on weekdays, but there are some other ways you can help:

  • Help Visitors on Weekends: roving volunteers are needed on weekends to answer questions and help educate our visitors on the best way to observe the diverse marine life of the tide pools.
  • Help Harbor Seals: at our Harbor Seal Station, educate visitors about the harbor seals that live at the Reserve.
  • Answer Questions: field questions as visitors arrive, by staffing the Ranger’s Station.

Volunteers are required to volunteer a minimum of 6 hours per month January through June, and 4 hours per month July through December.

Linda Ciotti

Linda Ciotti, Volunteer Coordinator

For more information, contact Volunteer Coordinator Linda Ciotti at, or telephone  (650) 728-0129.   Demo tours are available to find out what it’s like to be a docent.  Docents must be physically capable of navigating the rocks and reef, and must be over 17 years old.

Volunteer Class On Docks

Our class for new volunteers includes exploring the tidepools at FMR and the floating docks in nearby Pillar Point Harbor.

A Day in the Life of the Reserve

The Half Moon Bay Review Magazine featured the Friends of Fitzgerald Marine Reserve volunteer program in its November 2009 issue about local nonprofit organizations. View a PDF of the article.