Docent Program

Watershed Management Group's Docent Program 2021-2022 has begun! 

Fall 2021 docent training will be conducted in-person at the Living Lab and Learning Center following CDC’s and local health guidelines regarding COVID-19. 
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 connecting people with nature, stewarding our rivers and the Sonoran Desert, and engaging with our diverse community on water conservation and environmental justice issues, consider being a WMG docent! Read below for testimonials from docents on their experiences.

Docent Amy Salvato helps with outreach at WMG's mesquite pancake breakfast event - at Edible Shade in 2017. Five hundred members of the community came out to celebrate the bounty of the Sonoran Desert together! Former docent and board member Sandra Bernal (far left) prepared a chiles en nogada dinner for our Food Forest Fiesta at the Living Lab in 2018 with the help of two other docents: her daughter Ana Quintana Bernal (2nd from left) and Fran Brazell (far right). Our docents and kids clean-up crew ensured a successful Flow and Feast event along Tanque Verde Creek. River Run Network members came out to enjoy creeks walks, a feast of tamales, and evening storytelling.

 
Docent Training Program

The docent training program will begin the end of August and will end Mid-December. These trainings are conducted by WMG staff every Friday from 3p.m. - 5p.m., and the docent cohort will be learning alongside WMG’s intern cohort. Through this training, you’ll build understanding of our local Santa Cruz River watershed, foster opportunities for personal conservation actions, and build relationships with other WMG staff, volunteers, and our diverse community.  You must be available to attend Friday sessions consistently.

Duties & Responsibilities

At the end of the docent training program, we work with each docent to structure 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, assisting with family and neighborhood educational events, data collection and monitoring, rain garden care, Spanish translation, Latinx community engagement, and assisting visitors at our Welcome Center.

Qualifications

We are seeking individuals with a shared passion for 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.

Benefits

This program provides the opportunity to build skills and knowledge in different areas such as  community science, environmental education, environmental justice, Sonoran Desert ecology, water harvesting, and river restoration. 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!

Requirements
  • 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 meetings. 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.

Applications Have Closed for the 2021-2022 Docent Cohort 

Questions?

If you have questions about the program, please contact our Docent Program Manager, Lauren Monheim, at lmonheim@watershedmg.org 


Docent Testimonials

"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 backgrounds 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. Through 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!
 

Christian Aguilar Murrieta Christian Aguilar Murrieta

Christian comes from La Paz, Baja California Sur, Mexico. Upon her arrival to Tucson, seven years ago, she discovered WMG and has been a volunteer in different projects. Her enthusiasm with water harvesting techniques led her to develop a productive home with passive and active systems, composting toilet, outdoor shower, chickens, pollinator and vegetable garden. She's been part of the Homescape Harvest Tour four years in a row. Inspired with the Sonoran Desert landscapes in Tucson, this Fall she joined the Graduate Program of Landscape Architecture at the University of Arizona.

Sara Birtalan Sara Birtalan

A native of Santa Barbara, CA, Sara and her family have lived along Tanque Verde Creek since 2018 after calling Charlotte, NC home for several years. She earned a B.S. in Biochemistry from the University of California at Santa Barbara and a Ph.D. from the University of California at San Diego, also in Biochemistry. Wherever she lives, Sara persistently tries to grow food in her backyard. Edible plants require water, which led her to WMG and she’s enjoyed every program they offer about sustainable living! Her goal is to bring the Tanque Verde community together to help the creek become a perennially flowing beauty. When she is not supporting her two children in their academic and extracurricular activities, you can find Sara running in the foothills and mountains of Tucson’s northeast corner.

Samantha De La Fuente Samantha De La Fuente

Born and raised in midtown Tucson, Samantha studied Anthropology at the University of Arizona and then lived in many cities in the Southwest for her work in the non-profit sector. Coming home to Tucson, purchasing her first home, and installing her first rank water harvesting tank has led her to falling more and more in love with the natural beauty and power of the Sonoran Desert. She is excited to be part of the Watershed Management Group to learn more about native plants, rain water harvesting, and doing less harm to our planet.

Glenn DunnGlenn Dunn

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.

 

Quinton FitzpatrickQuinton Fitzpatrick

A Tucson native, Quinton graduated from the University of Arizona in 2020 with a Bachelor’s in Sustainable Built Environments and a Master of Science in Urban Planning from the School of Architecture. He is interested in Planning issues related to urban transportation and sustainability and is a fan of bicycle planning and advocacy for urban spaces. Wanting to learn more about the work the WMG is doing in the community and the state of water in the Tucson area, Quinton found the docent program to be a great opportunity to expand his interests and knowledge in sustainability.

Brenda Hughey

Brenda Hughey

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.

 

Marie Lincoln

Marie Lincoln

Marie is a Tucson Native and married her high school sweetheart. She followed him throughout his Army career. Some of the places they were stationed at were New York, Hawaii and Georgia just to name a few. When they retired they decided to come back to Arizona. She recently graduated from Glendale Community college in Glendale, AZ with an Associate in Arts and a Certificate of Sustainability. Since moving back to the desert, she is very much invested in learning about water conservation and living responsible in the desert. Now that she has raised 4 kids she is moving on to a new stage in her life. She is very excited to be involved with WMG and looking forward to learning ways to be a responsible with the resources we have. Outside of WMG she enjoys rock collecting/hunting, getting out in nature, doing jigsaw puzzles, bowling and learning new things.

Art MacDonaldArt MacDonald

Art is a graduate in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Delaware. A Tucson resident since the spring of 2009, Art has traveled 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 MargolisCarol Margolis

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 MarronKathleen Marron

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.

 

Ruth OttleyRuth Ottley

Ruth has lived in Tucson 46 years & has an MEd in Bilingual/Multi-Cultural Education from UA. A retired elementary school teacher and principal, she enjoys hiking, yard work, traveling, bird-watching and cooking. Recently, Ruth helped out at several WMG Co-Op workshops. Her experience of community during these gatherings led her to commit more to WMG by training to become a docent.

 

Laurel PollardLaurel Pollard

Laurel lives in Stone Curves, a co-housing community of 48 households in Tucson. They cooperate in maintaining our six-acre permaculture landscape, and I co-lead our ‘Green Team’. She's not a trained permaculturist, so she wants to learn more as a WMG docent. Laurel has taught classes in Recycling and in Reducing Consumerism; she has fun seeing how close she can get to zero waste. She is a kayaker and last year paddled the mighty Rillito. (It was a few inches deep at the time, so there was a lot of portaging.) She wants to be part of reviving our rivers and is eager to meet fellow environmental enthusiasts. Laurel is single, a mother of a son and daughter who both live in Tucson (lucky her!) And last December she welcomed a granddaughter, the joy of her life.

 

Graciela Robinson Graciela Robinson

Born and raised in Morelia, Michoacán, Mexico, Graciela was always interested in humanities, social sciences, and natural history. She studied French, pedagogy, translation and interpretation, and lived in France and largely traveled in Europe before she moved to Mexico City, where she taught French as a second language, studied Ethnology, and completed a Fellowship on Environment and Sustainable Development at El Colegio de Mexico. Eventually she moved to the Sonoran desert in 1993, where she worked as Cultural Resources Liaison for the Tohono O’odham Nation Legislative Council in support of the O’odham in Mexico and other for Indigenous organizations and Native American Tribes. She earned her B.A. in Latin American Studies, and a Master’s in Information Resources from the University of Arizona. She has experience as an educator, community outreach, librarian, translator and interpreter, as well as collaborating with diverse community organizations actively involved in culture preservation, history and the protection of the environment. Currently she works for Clinica Amistad, and recently completed the docent program at Watershed Management Group.

Amy Salvato

Amy Salvato

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.

Sally Sherman

Sally Sherman

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 Stormont

Dan Stormont

Dan is a computer engineer by training, with a BS from the University of Arizona, MS from the University of New Mexico, and an 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.

Amber Volmering

Amber was born and raised in the Sonoran Desert, and after a sabbatical in California working at Google, she has returned to her homeland. An avid hiker, novice desert gardener, and zero-waste advocate, working on helping other live their most sustainable life is her passion. She is very excited to work as a part of WMG in restoring and preserving our watershed.

Katherine Waser

Katherine Waser

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 an Editor at the Office of Arid Lands Studies at the UA, and joined WMG's co-op program shortly afterward. 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 WilkeningBill Wilkening

Bill earned a B.S. in Chemical Engineering from the Colorado School of Mines, plus an 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.

Barbara Woolford

A graduate of Arizona State University, Barbara saw the error of her ways and moved to Tucson after retiring from NASA in 2012. Her love of the desert led her first to become a docent at Tohono Chul, and now with the WMG. She is also an active member of Club Camera Tucson. She has become an advocate for native plants and is eager to support redevelopment of our watershed.