Last year, the Winter Wildlife Docent Program got off to a late start due to the government shutdown. This year, the program started but did not finish due to the effects of the novel coronavirus and COVID-19 locally and around the world.
As you know, we unofficially cancelled the program this past weekend and, yesterday, the park officially cancelled volunteer programs. See text below from nps.gov/pore (emphasis mine):
“Following guidance from the CDC and public health officials, and to comply with the shelter-in-place legal order in seven Bay Area counties, Point Reyes National Seashore’s visitor centers and campgrounds are temporarily closed until at least April 7, 2020. No camping or beach fire permits will be issued for the duration of the shelter-in-place order. All ranger-led programs or volunteer activities have been cancelled. Park roads, trails, beaches, and restrooms (excluding the Bear Valley Visitor Center restrooms) are otherwise open. Updates will be posted to this park website and social media channels.”
It has been an amazing season despite the abrupt end. We faced the challenge of interpreting and educating elephant seals on Drakes Beach while it was open, as opposed to last year when it was closed. We experienced over 200 whales going northbound back to their feeding ground over a three day period at the Whale Observation Deck . We got to see weaners!!! I think they are the main reason so many of you come back to this program year after year! 🙂
Thank you for sticking with this program through all the trials and tribulations. I hope that you all come back next year. If there’s an opportunity to re-schedule the DPPD (Docent Picnic Potluck Dinner) when it is safe to do, we will reach out. In the meantime, stay safe, keep your loved ones close, and keep in touch (virtually)!