Hi docents and welcome to the Drakes Beach Colony!

First of all, THANK YOU for your flexibility and resilience in adjusting to this new colony amid a shutdown that saw us lose about 12 docent days. 12 days! Yet you all have made up for it with an energy and enthusiasm that would be the envy of other volunteer programs in the service. As you’ve probably seen, the park superintendent was out this past weekend and she sent me an email, which Sean forwarded to you, that speaks to the amazing job all of you are doing. When I see on social media about what an incredible experience people are having, it is, to be honest, because of the human interactions they are having as they look at the elephant seals. And those interactions are with you. So thank you again for continuing to bring your “A” game to this program and to the park.

Next bit of news. We are coming into peak mating later this week! That means the alpha and beta will be shuffling other males around as female seals respond to the mating efforts. Please continue the education but also the vigilance since SA males or even females may get chased into the parking lot. If you can’t get my attention or Sean’s, DO NOT hesitate or be shy about using your loud voice to warn the public and please do not hesitate to push them back towards the parking lot and visitor center. I would rather you be safe and preventative than a visitor get charged or trip and hurt themselves getting out of the way. Please know that you are encouraged to take charge for public safety.

We will be offering a program called Extreme Elephant Seals at 11:00am, 1:00pm, and 3:00pm Saturdays, Sundays, and federal holidays. Please tell me or Sean if you’d like to do one! It’s a lot of fun and it’s basically an Intro to Elephant Seals with a Q&A afterwards. Please focus on the seals in your talks. I have been talking to the press on the weekends and I focus on the storm surges and king tides as important causes of this colony. If you are approached by a member of the press, please direct them to me and I will determine whether to give an interview. Speaking of, I did an interview with CBS KPIX, German public radio, and Bay Nature.

I will confirm but Docent Arianne might be able to start giving her Deep Diving Mammals program at the boathouse on Sunday at 2pm. She worked tirelessly to get diving equipment donated to the program to illustrate diving adaptations.

Road and safety notice: there is a sizable pothole at the gulch between the two stop signs. The water covers it up so please be exceedingly careful as you drive through. Do not drive fast through there. It is a county road so the park does not have the authority to fix it. Anyone here work for the county? And big note, shuttles have been cancelled for the season.

Finally, please keep an eye on the news and we’ll keep our fingers crossed that there will be no shutdown. More to follow if a shutdown is likely. Onward Winter Wildlife!