Sign Up for Docent Naturalist Training

Topanga Canyon Docents (TCD) begin Naturalist training in Topanga State Park (TSP ) on Saturday, September 8.

This highly regarded series of workshops and lectures is offered once a year with classes held in the historic Skeet Lodge, now the Visitor Center at Trippet Ranch, in Topanga State Park. TCD is accepting sign-ups now.

Trainees learn about the remarkable ecosystem and the natural history of the Santa Monica Mountains, explore the Native American cultures that have thrived here for centuries, and enjoy field presentations led by highly respected professional educators from local universities, museums, and parks.

The Topanga Canyon Docents is a non-profit, all volunteer organization dedicated to sharing knowledge of the natural world with park visitors since 1974. The group sponsors public nature walks from January through June. They provide free outdoor education for school children, often providing transportation to the park from urban elementary schools.

Docent Susan Nissman gingerly handles a large king snake. Photo: Topanga Canyon Docents
Docent Susan Nissman gingerly handles a large king snake. Photo: Topanga Canyon Docents

Dedicated naturalists host the visitor center in TSP and share its remarkable contents, animal specimens, artifacts, collections and displays with the public. The TCD also provides maps and advice about the trails, act as trail ambassadors, while sharing and expanding public knowledge of the natural sciences.

Six classroom sessions and field ecology workshops are held on alternate Saturdays, 9/8, 9/22, 10/6, 10/20, 11/3, and 11/17 from 9:30 a.m.- 3:30 p.m. As part of the training, there will be five interpretive walks with experienced docents held on alternate Sundays, 9/16, 9/30, 10/14, 10/28, and 11/11, from 9:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.

Benefits include outings, field trips, and camping opportunities only open to TCD members. Active members enjoy free attendance for future training sessions and a Topanga State Park yearly parking pass. Volunteer time qualifies active volunteers for district and statewide parking passes.

For those who have ever hiked the hills and canyons and longed to learn more, this training will last a lifetime, as will the joy of sharing your knowledge as a docent volunteer.

Space is limited so register early. Tuition fee of $100 includes one first-year membership through December 2019.

To download registration form: For more information:

-By Megan Williams

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