Oklahoma’s Tallgrass Prairie Preserve seeks docent volunteers

BY BETTY B. TURNERSPECIAL TO THE J-C
Oklahoma’s Tallgrass Prairie Preserve seeks docent volunteers

Those who enjoy sharing information about the tallgrass ecosystem to visitors from all over the world at the Tallgrass Prairie Preserve, north of Pawhuska, are invited to join a class of new docent volunteers on April 26 or at an alternate session on May 10. For specific information about this once-a-year docent training, please contact the preserve office at 918-855-7189 or email kkrebbs@tnc.org or ams.springer@gmail.com about your interest, by no later than April 14.

The Volunteer Program promotes The Nature Conservancy’s mission of scientific conservation through tallgrass prairie ecosystem restoration at the Tallgrass Prairie Preserve. A primary function of the volunteers is to interact with Preserve visitors, from all 50 states and over 100 other countries. The Conservancy’s employees focus on activities directly related to the scientific mission; the public relations with visitors falls mainly on the volunteers’ shoulders. Volunteers explain the Conservancy and Preserve missions, provide information about the preserve history, status, bison herd, tall grasses, answer visitor questions, and staff the visitors’ center gift shop. In order to conduct these activities effectively, volunteers receive training in Preserve policies, history and visitors’ center procedures. Trained volunteers are called docents. The training will take place on April 26 from 10 a.m. to about 4 p.m. at the Tallgrass Prairie Preserve Ecological Research Station located on the Preserve. May 10 is an alternate training day at the same time and location.

Docents also have limited opportunities to participate in special, docents only, activities such as field classes on wildflower and plant identification, butterfly and bird identification, geology, and at least one annual guided hike into non-public areas of the Preserve. These experiences give docents the opportunity to provide more in-depth information about the preserve’s grasses, flowers, wildlife, bison, terrain, etc.

More information may be found on the Tallgrass Prairie Volunteer website: www.oklanature.com/docent.

Those interested in learning about non-docent volunteer activities should contact the Preserve at 918-855-7189, anytime of the year.