Starting in October, Sheldrake Environmental Center once again will offer its popular Volunteer Environmental Educator Training Program, a combination of ecology and teaching techniques that has changed the lives of many children as well as the adult volunteers who teach them on outdoor explorations. Jenny Geer of Larchmont is one of the trained volunteers:
“For years I’ve been leading children on our local trails, and I never get tired of it. What could be better than to see the look of wonder on a child’s face as she is invited to have a daddy-long-legs crawl up her arm! . . . Or to cup our ears to listen for the red-bellied woodpecker’s screeching call…”
Like Jenny, the volunteers aren’t necessarily naturalists by profession. They come from a variety of backgrounds –lawyers, artists, business executives– but all share a love of being outdoors and learning about the natural world.
Training provided (no experience necessary)
The free twelve-session course will be taught by Mary B. Davis, Director of Environmental Programs at Sheldrake, as well as guest instructors. Volunteers taking the course will be trained by participating in hands-on activities and outdoor explorations, as well as observing veteran naturalists in the field. The free program is made possible by support from Con Edison.
Classes meet on Thursday mornings from 9:30 to 11:30 am. (They include modest fees for materials.) Upon completion of the course, graduates will lead pre-trips in the local elementary schools and field trips at the Larchmont Reservoir, the Sheldrake River Trail and at Dog Beach. Trained volunteers are expected to volunteer at least one day a week while school is in session.
Photos courtesy Town of Mamaroneck Recreation Department and Sheldrake Environmental Center.