What is a WMG Docent?
Docents are Watershed Management Group's volunteer ambassadors, both out in the community and at our urban demonstration site - the Living Lab & Learning Center. They fill a variety of vital roles throughout the organization that support our mission to develop community-based solutions to ensure the long-term prosperity of people and health of the environment. If you are passionate about restoring our rivers that used to flow year-round, advocating for water security in the Southwest and educating the public on how they can conserve our precious water resources, consider being a WMG docent! Read below for testimonials from docents on their experiences.
Duties & Responsibilities
At the end of the docent training program, we work with each docent to find regular volunteer activities that fit their skill set and interests. These activities can include, but are not limited to: giving tours of our public demonstration site, tabling at outreach events, data collection and monitoring, rain garden care, administrative tasks, Spanish translation, Latinx community engagement, and assisting visitors at our Welcome Center. Click here to read about the specific docent roles available.
We are seeking individuals with a shared passion in our mission - experience in the water conservation field is not necessary! Being a WMG docent is generally not conducive for people who work more than part-time or have other responsibilities that equate to full-time.
This program provides the opportunity to build skills and knowledge in different areas such as rain garden care, citizen science, public outreach, water harvesting and more, including free admission into our Field Studies classes. It is also an opportunity to contribute skills you may already have honed through your life's work and can now apply to the grassroots efforts of our organization. Lastly, it is an opportunity to become a member of our vibrant team here at Watershed Management Group!
- Attend all fall Friday training sessions late August - mid December from 3-5p.m. The 50-hour training also includes occasional assistance at outreach and WMG events on the evenings and weekends. You can expect both classroom instruction as well as field excursions taught by WMG staff. Docents will be learning in an inter-generational environment as part of a cohort with WMG’s University of Arizona WaterWRLD interns (Water as a platform for Workforce Readiness and Leadership Development).
- One year commitment from Jan-Dec. Upon completion of the fall training, docents are asked to commit to one year of service for a minimum of 10 hours per month, and up to 40 hours a month.
- Attend monthly docent meeting. This meeting is on the first Monday of each month at 5:30 p.m.
- Assist with WMG events and outreach opportunities. WMG hosts a variety of events throughout the year and we need your help!
- Pay $75 program fee. Scholarships available.
If you have questions about the program, please call Lisa Shipek at 520-396-3266 x2.
"If you have ever visited a botanical garden or green, lovely oasis, and admired someone answering questions about plants and growing spaces, then you may already know you want to be a WMG docent. We docents have the opportunity to learn about the Tucson basin streams and sources for growing trees and gardens. We get to learn about the power of the sun and solutions for flood reduction and protecting water quality as we collect the rain. And we engage in conversations with people of all ages and background to facilitate use of the rain. Lastly, we join other like-minded people to make new friends and contribute to our community." - Kathleen Marron, Docent since 2015
"I like taking what I learned through the Docent program to teach people at the Living Lab and apply my knowledge in my personal life. Though the monitoring work, I learned how to use ebird and nature's notebook, to track wildlife and plant growth. I'm now starting to use those programs at home and contributing as a citizen scientist. I enjoy sharing information about rainwater harvesting and native plants at outreach events in the community as well." - Amy Salvato, Docent since 2016
Meet our Docents!
Glenn is a retired engineer and has been a resident of Tucson for 35 years. He is an active member of the WMG co-op and regularly participates in rainwater and greywater harvesting workshops. His interests include passive and active solar, rainwater/greywater harvesting, and woodworking. Glenn also volunteers for the Boy Scouts of America and Habitat for Humanity.
Mark graduated from ASU in 1988 with a B.S. in biology and an M.S. in zoology. He worked for many years as a research specialist at the U of A neuroscience department. Since retiring in 2016, he has volunteered at a variety of organizations and has attended 15 of WMG’s Co-op Workshops.
Brenda relocated to Tucson from the Eastern U.S. two years ago. She loves and appreciates the beauty of the desert as well as the green of Upstate New York. She is a retired Army officer who held various management positions in the areas of logistics, administration, physical fitness training/development and casualty affairs during her 20 year career. She is grateful to have the time to volunteer, and support the highly important WMG mission of restoring the watershed in this region.
Mary is new to Tucson, having lived in New Orleans until 2017. She is a graduate from Northwestern State and pursuing graduate coursework in Conservation. Currently, she works as a preschool teacher and an Xactimate draftsman. She joined the docent program to learn about sustainability practices in a vastly different ecosystem than the one she is from. She wants to continue learning about how people from all over the world adapt to water scarcity and sustainability.
A recent transplant from Washington State, Glenda retired after 34 years of serving as the Facility Operations Manager and Security Manager to Raytheon. She has a BS degree in Criminal Justice and has been an active Master Gardener since 2002. With the move to Tucson and her love of gardening, she knew she would have to find creative ways to conserve water. Glenda began doing research prior to her move and that is where she discovered WMG. She was excited to become a part of this group, learn all she could about water conservation techniques and pass on that knowledge to other Southwest gardeners.
Art is a graduate in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Delaware. A Tucson resident since the spring of 2009, Art has travelled internationally for many years both in business and for pleasure. Since living here he has volunteered for WMG in developing on-site projects in residential and commercial properties, is a docent at the Arizona Sonora Desert Museum and Reid Park Zoo, and works for AARP as a tax preparer during the first three months of each year. In his spare time, he rests.
Carol was born and raised in upstate NY near the Erie Canal. She came to Arizona for a college education in anthropology and stayed on as a computer jack-of-all-trades and now works in medical research. In 2007, Carol became a graduate of the Master Watershed Steward program through the Pima County Cooperative Extension Service. Carol’s graduation project was to map the entire arundo stands in the Sabino Canyon Recreation Area before it was cut down and doused with herbicide. Her goal is to interpret rainwater harvesting knowledge into mainstream practice through education and demonstration.
Kathy recently moved to Tucson with her husband, Mike. Within 8 weeks of unpacking, they hosted a co-op workshop to create basins and install filtration systems in their backyard. Before here, she was a faculty member at Miami University for 29 years teaching communication disorders and practicing Audiology. What? Always interested in gardening and nurturing growing things, she joined the Docent program to learn more about southwest landscapes and becoming involved in the future of the Tucson community.
A native Midwesterner, Amy has called Tucson home for nearly 20 years. She first volunteered with WMG in 2006 and is excited to help spread the word about the many benefits of rainwater harvesting, green infrastructure, native food forests, and more. Amy has a B.A. in History, an M.A. in Latin American Studies, and a K-8 Teaching Certificate. Among other things, she's worked for several local historical museums and as a 3rd grade teacher in an Arizona-Mexico border town. She currently works as an editor and project support planning/production manager for a local engineering consulting firm. Her hobbies include pursuing a sustainable life, playing in the dirt (building berms and basins, gardening, composting, vermicomposting, and jackhammering through caliche), and making functional crafts from recycled materials.
Marlene originated from Central Washington and attended veterinary school at Washington State University. She completed her internship at Ohio State University specializing in Equine Surgery. Marlene held positions in Florida and Memphis, Tennessee before moving to Tucson in 1989 with her husband, who is also a veterinarian. She and her husband have owned an equine hospital in Tucson since 1990. Marelene retired in 2016 and became a docent at Tohono Chul in 2017. She belongs to the Audobon Society, SEAZ Butterfly Association, Arizona Native Plant Society and Capson Succulent Society.
Sally abandoned a perfectly good graphic design career in Vermont to become a rootless nomad exploring Mother Nature's gigantic, enormously varied jigsaw puzzle. Living close to the earth has a way of teaching appreciation for things so often taken for granted . . . such as water. After 10 years of wandering all over North America, Australia and NZ, it isn't a great surprise that she fell in love with the miracle of the Sonoran Desert and settled in Tucson. Her education about the natural world has expanded as a docent at the Arizona Sonora Desert Museum since 2010. Now she can't imagine anything more rewarding than spreading the surprising news that living with a focused water consciousness is actually a bucket of fun.
Dan is a computer engineer by training, with a BS from the University of Arizona, MS from the University of New Mexico, and the Electrical Engineer degree from Utah State University. He is the Tucson Regional Manager for TEALS, a Microsoft Philanthropies program that connects industry professionals with high school teachers to bring computer science into Tucson schools. Dan was previously the Green Living Co-op Manager for WMG. Dan is also a member of WMG’s Monsoon Squad, River Run Network, and is a certified local phenology leader with the National Phenology Network. He is involved in many activities in the community, including serving on the core team for Sustainable Tucson.
Joe has lived and worked in deserts, savannas, temperate and tropical forests but has chosen to make his home here in the Sonoran Desert. He is an agronomist, pedologist (soil scientist) and epidemiologist (disease detective) by training. His work experience includes prairie restoration, water harvesting, ethnopedology, and household food security. His current interests are improving public health, household livelihoods and climate smart land use.
Hank graduated from the University of Arizona in 1975 and 1976 with bachelors and masters degrees in vocational rehabilitation. He later earned a law degree from the Santa Barbara College of Law. He is a veteran of the U.S. Air Force and U.S Navy Reserve. He was a school administrator in Santa Barbara, CA for a number of years before becoming an air traffic controller. After retiring from the Federal Aviation Administration in 2013, he pursued his love of the outdoors by becoming a docent at Tohono Chul Park in Tucson where he leads butterfly and wildflower tours. He is an active certified master gardener, certified master naturalist, a trained local phenology leader and is just completing the Watershed Management Group docent training program. He is a member of the board of directors of the University of Arizona Campus Arboretum and often leads arboretum tours on campus. He is an avid fly fisher and a woodworker who enjoys creating Shaker-inspired furniture. "I can't get enough information about flowering native Sonoran desert plants. The more I learn the more I realize how little I know and understand" Hank says, and to borrow on a phrase, "so many plants, so little time". Volunteering for WMG, Hank plans to spread its philosophy and knowledge with the public.
Katherine earned a BA in French and Spanish at the University of Oregon plus an MA in English as a Second Language and an MLS (Master of Library Science), both from the University of Arizona. Her interest in harvesting rainwater began after she completed a Permaculture Design Course in 1991. She learned about WMG while working as Editor at the Office of Arid Lands Studies at the UA, and joined WMG's co-op program shortly afterwards. Already a docent at the Tucson Botanical Gardens, she jumped at the chance to become a docent at WMG as well. She's especially excited about WMG's 50-year vision plan of having free-flowing rivers again in the Tucson Basin!
Bill earned a B.S. in Chemical Engineering from the Colorado School of Mines, plus a M.S. in Reliability Engineering from the University of Arizona, and worked for 35 years with several companies. Tucson is a special place for his family, as his wife can trace her roots back six generations in the Tucson area. With WMG, Bill sees an opportunity to help rebuild Tucson as a place where you know and help your neighbor. He volunteers teaching middle school students about engineering by having them design water harvesting systems and enjoys backpacking, swimming and cycling.