Snowy Plover
Paul Wellman (file)

Next week is the time to sign up and make a difference. The Snowy Plover Docent Program (SPDP) is searching for volunteer and intern docents to help protect the western snowy plover around the Coal Oil Point Reserve (COPR).

SPDP is holding its next docent training session on Saturday, June 5, from 9 a.m. until 12:30 p.m. The orientation will be held on UCSB’s campus at the Cliff House on Slough Road, located next to the COPR. The program is open to anyone who is willing to dedicate a few hours a week to protecting the snowy plover.

Docents, say program organizers, are a friendly contact at public beaches who promote public awareness of the snowy plover and its nesting habits. Because the plover create nests on open sand, their eggs and chicks are often trampled by unsuspecting beach-goers and dogs. A docent can make a difference just by giving two hours of their week to the cause.

“I became a docent in January of this year, and it’s one of the best things I’ve ever done for myself … and nature,” Maureen McFadden, president of McFadden and McFadden PR, said in a press release.

The SPDP was created in 2001 to assist with the protection of the snowy plovers at Coal Oil Point Reserve and raise awareness of the importance of the preservation of the species. According to the Audubon Society, the entrance to COPR is one of the top 10 birding sites in the U.S. The docent program is credited with being the most important aspect of the species re-habitation of Sands Beach.

Anyone seeking to register or find more information can contact Program Coordinator Jennifer Stroh through her email,, or by phone, (805) 893-3703. More information can also be found here.


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