Terwilliger Nature Guide Volunteers

Being a Terwilliger Nature Guide is one of the most engaging and fulfilling volunteer experiences in the Bay Area!

"While the primary role of a Terwilliger Nature Guide is designed to lead students through the
wonder of the natural world around us, it's the children's curiosity, enthusiasm, and joy during our hikes
that makes the natural world come alive for me! One of the greatest gifts we can give each other is
sharing and deepening our respect for nature. I've yet to guide a WildCare group and not experience
something truly special in the great outdoors!"

- Suzanne Egan (Terwilliger Nature Guide, 5 years)

Volunteer as a Terwilliger Nature Guide

"I really enjoy the energy, enthusiasm and interaction with the children I have given hikes to."-Jeff G, Terwilliger Nature Guide

WildCare Terwilliger Nature Guides lead nature discovery walks for school children, and receive specialized training on local wildlife, plant identification and outdoor teaching methods.

Nature Guide Training will be provided by experienced and enthusiastic naturalists. Our multifaceted training will teach you how to help children open their eyes to the wonderful world of wildlife. A background in science is not necessary — we will teach you everything you need to know to help elementary school-aged-children connect with nature in a fun and engaging way.

Terwilliger Nature Guide Training

Nature Guide training sessions will familiarize trainees with WildCare’s hike locations and the plants and animals you may find on trail.

Topics will include fascinating facts about local plants and animals, Coast Miwok culture, as well as basic redwood forest, grassland and oak woodland ecology. Just bring your interest and enthusiasm for sharing nature with children and we will guide you through the rest!

Why be a Terwilliger Nature Guide?

“Hiking with kids in nature is truly a natural resource for joy and fun. They are so observant with keen eyesight and hearing. I learn a lot from being with them and I enjoy watching them find their happiness and freedom outdoors.” – Chloe S, Terwilliger Nature Guide for 10 years.

In addition to gaining great satisfaction from successfully stimulating a child's interest in nature and the environment, you will:

- meet other nature lovers and cultivate new friendships
- expand your knowledge of local wildlife
- experience personal and professional growth
- participate in continued learning
- be invited to special WildCare events

Commitment Requirements

- must be 18 or older
- must complete all required training sessions
- must be able to commit to lead nature hikes three times per month on weekday mornings for one year while schools are in session (September - June). All hikes take place on weekday mornings during the school year and will be scheduled in advance.
-must be amenable to regular email communication


Nature Guide Orientation and Training

Fall 2024 Schedule:

Saturday, September 21st from 9:00am-3:30pm

Teaching Methods in Action and The Terwilliger Teaching Method

Saturday, October 5th from 8:30am-3:30pm 

The Wonders of the Redwood Forest and Sharing Nature with Children

Saturday, October 12th from 9:00am-3:30pm 

Ring Mountain Ecology and Coast Miwok Culture and Program Logistics

Saturday, October 19th from 9:00am-3:30pm

Interpreting the Unknown and Learning Styles and Nature Awareness Activities

Wednesday, October 23rd from 6:00pm-8:30pm

"Something Special" - Refining Your Toolbox (Dinner Provided)

For a detailed schedule of Nature Guide Training including the potential observation sessions, please click here!

Selection process

All those interested will need to complete the Nature Guide Volunteer Application Questionnaire.

Candidates that are a good match for the program will be invited to attend an Orientation in order to learn more.

Trainees selected after Orientation will need to attend Nature Guide Training.

The 2024 Orientation for new Terwilliger Nature Guides will be held in mid-September.

Terwilliger Nature Guide Training sessions are held once a year. The orientation is free.

Those selected to participate in Nature Guide Training will be asked to pay a $50 fee which offsets the cost of the training sessions, live scan background check, training manual, official Terwilliger Nature Guide vest, and teaching tools for the trail. WildCare membership is included with the fee.

Scholarships are available, so please don't let the fee discourage you from applying.

Nature Guide Training takes place on four Saturdays and one Wednesday evening from late September through October. Three observation dates to watch our veteran Nature Guides in action teaching children on trail will also be scheduled on weekdays,  and are required as part of the training.

Being a Nature Guide is a great opportunity to share your joy, knowledge and enthusiasm for nature with children!

Questions? Please email Eileen Jones, Director of Education at eileen@discoverwildcare.org or call 415-453-1000 x120.

Terwilliger Nature Guide in Action!

Get inspired! Watch one of our Terwilliger Nature Guides engage her students by exploring the holes woodpeckers make in trees!