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James Farm Docent Program

Project Status: Current / Annual

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 more than 25,000 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).

Learn more about the James Farm Master Plan »

What being a Docent is all about

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.

Docent Program Goals:

  • 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.

Get Involved

Interested in helping out with the 2021 Docent Program? Contact the Center’s Project Manager, Nivette Pérez-Pérez, at nperezperez@inlandbays.org and join the James Farm Docent Program mailing list.

As the 2021 season approaches, additional information will be sent to all potential volunteers regarding assignments, scheduling, and other important details. Then, you will be able to participate in the survey training, sign up, and start docenting!

On March 24, 2021, we will host a virtual training to prepare for the upcoming season. You can register for the training HERE! After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

If you would like more information about other volunteer opportunities, fill out the Center’s 2021 Volunteer Application. Another way to support the Center’s mission is by donating HERE!

Docent Resources/Documents