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Volunteer Programs

Volunteers pulling broom on the watershed

Volunteers play a critical role in maintaining the scenic beauty and biological richness of the Mt. Tamalpais Watershed. From improving trails, restoring habitat, and protecting endangered species, Marin Water has a variety of volunteer opportunities available to match your skills, interests, and available time.

To address health concerns about group gatherings during COVID-19, many of our volunteer programs on the watershed are on hold.

We are currently offering the following programs:

Watershed Cleanup

Ready to get some fresh air and contribute to keeping the watershed clean? Join us for a watershed cleanup: We are looking for volunteers to remove trash from high-use areas, along waterways and trails. This work protects critical habitats and waterways—clean areas promote responsible behavior. We will provide trash bags and sanitized trash-grabber tools.

This activity is suitable for individuals or small groups from the same household or social bubble. All participants must follow strict safety precautions and social distancing guidelines.

Please email us at VolunteerProgram@MarinWater.org or call 415.945.1169 to sign-up. Contact us to schedule an orientation, and to pick up sanitized gear. Once you have completed the orientation, you may hunt for litter whenever you are out on the watershed.

Watershed Greeters

Marin Water is collaborating with One Tam and partners like Slow & Say Hello in our new Watershed Greeters program. Staff and volunteer greeters are stationed at various locations on the mountain, sharing updates about park programs and events. They are a great presence and resource on the watershed, serving and engaging our community.

Volunteer Permission Slip

Please review our Volunteer Permission Slip for additional details about volunteering with Marin Water.

Spend time outdoors and take meaningful action to protect a species of special concern by becoming a frog docent.

Marin Water trains frog docents to monitor habitat conditions and to educate hikers at Little Carson Falls, a popular hiking destination located about five miles outside of Fairfax, and an important breeding habitat for the foothill yellow-legged frog, a federal and state species of special concern. 

Docents provide education to visitors during the spring when the eggs and tadpoles are at their most vulnerable of being disturbed by visitors. The frog populations are threatened and are easily damaged if park visitors or their dogs go into the waters around the falls. We will be holding a two-part virtual orientation through Zoom.

Part 1: Educational Session, Saturday, March 13, 9 - 10:30 a.m. The educational session will cover the importance of wildlife conservation, the biology of the species, and how to identify these amphibians.
 
Part 2: Docent Technical Training, Saturday, March 20 from 9 - 10:30 a.m. This will be a technical training for those who are intent on becoming a docent. We will cover new safety protocols, how to interact with visitors, where to find our docent equipment, how to record observational data, and everything else you need to know before a frog docent shift.  

Docents should be 18 years of age or older. If you are younger, or have limited mobility, please reach out to us and we may be able to accommodate. We hope that all docents will work at least three 3-hour shifts this spring, between March and June.

Please contact us at volunteerprogram@marinwater.org or 415.945.1128 to register for training. 

Marin Water is enlisting the help of Turtle Observer volunteers to protect the western pond turtle by monitoring habitat conditions, recording their behavior, and educating the public during the spring when they are most visible. Volunteers will collect valuable data on native and non-native turtles that will help determine the management of these species.

Turtle Observers visit the watershed to observe the turtles between the months of February and May. Volunteers that have not previously participated in the program are required to attend trainings.

We will teach volunteers how to identify the different species of turtles known to inhabit the lakes, get instructions on observation and data recording protocols, and practice strategies for communicating with the public.

Our Turtle Observer training is two parts. The first meeting is an educational session that is open to anyone who wants to learn more about the western pond turtles and what is being done to protect them and the natural systems on Mt. Tamalpais. The second session is mandatory for anyone who wants to be a Turtle Observer volunteer this spring.

  • Part I: Turtle Observer Educational Session will discuss the importance of wildlife conservation, the kinds of turtles on Mt. Tam, and why you should become a community scientist. This first meeting will be held via Zoom on Saturday, February 27, 2021, from 9:00 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.
  • Part II: Turtle Observer Technical Training will cover monitoring protocols, turtle ID, and COVID safety precautions. This will take place on Saturday, March 6, from 9:00 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. on Zoom. 

This is a great family activity! Once you have completed the two trainings you may visit the watershed at any time to view the turtles. There are several locations where the turtles swim and they are most visible on nice, sunny days. An hour is usually enough time to search for, observe, and record a population of turtles. We hope that all Observers will conduct at least three observational visits this spring.

Please contact us at volunteerprogram@marinwater.org or 415.945.1128 to register for the Zoom trainings. 

Throughout the year, we have opportunities to learn about Mt. Tamalpais' unique plant and animal life while contributing to their continued survival. Generally, on the third Saturday of each month, we lead volunteer habitat restoration events from 9 a.m. to noon. Individuals, groups, non-profit organizations, and families are all invited and encouraged to attend. This program focuses on invasive species control with a special emphasis on French Broom and Douglas-fir. We always try to select sites that are both scenic and accessible.

Once the rains come and have a chance to loosen the soil, we will resume our broom pulls. We are modifying our volunteer activities to comply with physical distancing guidelines and to help protect our community. This fall we will offer independent and small group habitat restoration activities with limited Marin Water staff onsite support. Stay tuned for updates. 

Habitat restoration events are suitable for ages eight and up. Volunteers under 16 must be accompanied by an adult, and all volunteers under age 18 must bring a permission form signed by a parent or guardian.

Trail Crew programs are currently on hold dur to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Join our skilled volunteers and staff as we:

  • Maintain and repair our trail system
  • Build bridges
  • Install fencing and erosion control structures
  • Cut back brush
  • Repair stairs

Trail events are generally suitable for ages 13 and up. Volunteers under 16 must be accompanied by an adult and volunteers under age 18 must bring a permission form signed by a parent or guardian.