Bouverie Preserve training docents
Sylvia Crawford/Glen Ellen Columnist
Anyone who's been reading this column for even a short time knows about my love of the Bouverie Preserve in Glen Ellen. Of all the volunteer organization I've worked with, including schools, churches, scouts, FISH and more, the Bouverie Preserve has by far been the most satisfying. FISH may well be more worthy (what can be more important than feeding the hungry?). However in terms of my own life, the Bouv (its fond moniker) has exceeded my expectations in every way. The friends I've made, the lessons I've learned, the children I've influenced, the hikes I've experienced - all rate as the best. Hyperbole? Not at all. If I were rich I'd donate oodles of money to the preserve. But I'm not, so I give time.
Formally known as the Bouverie Preserve of Audubon Canyon Ranch, the 535-acres that benefactor David Pleydell Bouverie set aside for preservation, education and research is a delightful mélange of varied environments.
The oak woodlands border Highway 12, with their annual display of wildflowers. Beyond that, into the canyon is the cool, shaded mixed evergreen forest. The corridor adjacent ripples with Stewart Creek ending in the famous falls. In the high hills, the dry and sunny chaparral offers Valley-wide views. Each environment features unique flora and fauna, from nematodes to mountain lions, fungus to Douglas firs. It's a blessed place of spiritual beauty and a terrific learning environment for the children and adults.
I began my docent training at the Bouv in the fall of 1986. Our boys were young and the one weekday of training was a world apart from my daily duties. I knew the boys would be happy with Margie Everidge watching after them and I would be free to use my mind and body in ways other than reading fairy storybooks and pushing strollers.
Even though I minored in biology in college, docent training expanded my knowledge of the natural world in ways I never anticipated. Among the lessons that I never expected to learn was how to cope with aging, illness and death of dear friends. Having a long association with the preserve, those lessons are inevitable.
As the boys grew and began school themselves, I returned to teaching. But I was still able to continue volunteer activities at the Bouv. That's one of the most important aspects of working with this organization: there is always something one can do, even when hiking is not possible.
The docents at the Bouverie range from professionals: doctors, lawyers, artists, writers and others, some retired; others are college students, just beginning their careers. Some docents are housewives, some scholars and some having their first experiences in nature. Ages? We range from young 20s to octogenarians. Ernie Smith, a former instructor at Santa Rosa Junior College, is our eldest. No one is too old, or too young. We are college graduates and high school dropouts. We are Caucasian, Asian, Native American, Hispanic. All who love nature and enjoy transmitting that delight to children are welcome.
A new docent training class begins this fall. This month, on May 25, and next month, on June 15, folks who are interested in finding out more about docent training are invited to join seasoned docents. We'll hike from 1 to 2 p.m. then return to David's old barn, for refreshments and introduction to the program.
I strongly advise you to call the preserve's administrative manager, Nancy Trbovich at 938-4554 today. Don't wait to sign up. By August, the training class may be full and you'll have to wait another two years. I promise you won't regret this move. It will add knowledge, friends and purpose to your days. Have any doubts? Call me and I can spin tale after tale of the hundreds of good days I've spent exploring those acres of paradise. If you'd like more information without talking to anyone, check out our parent organization, Audubon Canyon Ranch's website www.egret.org and click on the Bouverie Preserve.
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