James Farm Docent Program
The James Farm Ecological Preserve (Preserve) is a 150-acre property on the Indian River Bay, owned by Sussex County and managed by the Center. Its diverse habitats, including maritime forest, salt marsh, and meadows, and a variety of outdoor recreation areas (e.g., over 3 miles of trails, 3 wildlife viewing stations, a boardwalk beach crossing) attract approximately 10,000 people annually. In response to the growing number of visitations each year, the James Farm Master Plan was developed to provide a holistic approach to protecting the Preserve’s valuable ecosystems while enhancing environmental education and outdoor experiences for its visitors. The James Farm Docent Program started as an initiative of the Master Plan to help maintain and increase visitor engagement during the peak visitation season (May-August).
What’s it like to be a Docent?
The James Farm Docent Program plays a key role in helping to encourage visitors of the Preserve to immerse themselves in its beautiful habitats. Stationed at information tables, Docents will greet visitors, answer questions, and offer resources to the public. Docents will also share the history and mission of the James family’s farm.
- Encourage visitors to engage with the habitats, wildlife, and Bays at the Preserve
- Raise public awareness of the unique partnership between Sussex County and the Center
- Share the history and mission of the James family Farm and Preserve
- Raise donor funds for Preserve maintenance and Master Plan
- Explain the purpose and changes due to the James Farm Master Plan
- Promote visitor engagement with the Bays and the Center
By recording interactions with visitors, Docents also provide valuable information that is used to help meet the Center’s annual outreach and education goals and plan future efforts.
Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the Center is launching a virtual James Farm Docent Program Training to kick-start preparations for this season*. If you would like to participate, we invite you to follow the easy steps below. Even if the James Farm Docent Program is not currently underway, you will be added to the mailing list and receive additional information prior to the next season.Thank you for your interest and support. We hope to see you soon!
*All Center survey activities are postponed until at least June 1st or until health and safety risks related to COVID-19 are resolved.
STEP 1: Watch the Virtual James Farm Docent Program Training (Coming Soon!)
STEP 2: Review the Frequently Ask Questions for the James Farm Docent Program
When do I fill the docent sign-in sheet?
When do I turn-in the docent sign-in sheet?
Are dogs allowed in the Preserve?
What do I need to bring?
How should I handle difficult questions?
How should I handle difficult situations?
What happens if inclement weather occurs?
What should I do if I can't make a shift?
Who should I call in case of an emergency?
STEP 3: Determine which days and shifts work best for you
Monday to Sunday from:
8:00 am – 10:30 am
10:30 am – 1:00 pm
STEP 4: Complete the sign-up form
STEP 5: Fill the 2020 Volunteer Liability Waiver*
*Required for each participating individual. It should be completed prior to your first shift date. Please note: Individuals under the age of 18 must have an adult chaperone on-hand at all times.
STEP 6: Let’s Explore the James Farm Ecological Preserve!
Thank you for your support. If you would like more information about other Center volunteer opportunities, please complete our Volunteer Application. Another way to support our mission is by donating HERE!
- Docent Binder
- Additional Resources Online