Friday, June 07, 2013

What Does a Nature Docent Do?

The word docent comes from a Latin word for “to teach.” It is defined in Merriam-Webster online as “a person who leads guided tours, especially through a museum or art gallery.” In my case, I lead guided tours through Tohono Chul Park, the beautiful nature preserve where I volunteer.

CHS Trail 9-10-2011 9-30-22 AM 3230x2255KL (me) leading a tour of members of my high school graduating class.

I also “rove” in the Park once a week—three hours at a time in the cool weather, two hours in the summer. My job as a rover is to help visitors, if any, and to get to know the Park and its wonders better, for the benefit of visitors and myself.

North Trail after rain 11-14-2011 8-14-25 AM 3616x2712The Park features many natural desert trails…this one is the Desert View Trail.

Some docents find roving boring, but I usually love every minute of it. Unless it is too hot, I usually try to cover all the major trails on each rove. There is always something beautiful to see, and I always learn something new.

Sundial Plaza 6-13-2012 8-29-00 AM 3616x2712The Sundial Plaza, in the center of the Park, is beautiful all year round.

I’ve written about roving often in this blog. A typical rove last year at this time featured the inside of a saguaro, a hawk nest, and a preview of our famous Queen of the Night, the night-blooming cereus that only blooms once a year.

In addition to roving, I also lead bird tours four times a month, lead scheduled tours for adults and children, and participate in our reptile show, Reptile Ramble, in the warm months. I’ll have more to say about each of these activities in future posts.


  1. That's quite a challenging schedule you keep! But it's clearly worth it. The place looks very inviting, especially that Sundial Plaza.

    1. Most of it is very beautiful most of the time, especially the Sundial area.