After five months of training, on May 18, 2014 Carrieanna graduated from the Docent Training Program at Point Lobos State Natural Reserve.
Laura DeVault, docent, park aide and a member of the docent training team, shared this poem.
You lovers of music, come listen to me;
To you I will speak of a Symphony Grand.
The instruments played, with consummate skill,
Are the Sun, and the Sky with the Clouds scudding by;
The Wind, and the Sea with its blanket of Fog;
The Trees, and the Birds with their delicate Songs;
The Flowers and Shrubs, all in color profuse;
The Animals on land, and those in the Sea.
Oh, come with me now to a place called Point Lobos.
Oh, come and be thrilled, by the sounds not alone,
For each sense you possess, haunting rhythms abound,
And harmonies fulfill the desires of your Soul.
Anytime we may go, for the concert never ceases.
And oft we must go, for the concert ever changes.
(David Covell, 1996)
Carrieanna answered a few questions:
I would have to say I first became interested in becoming a docent after I experienced the Easy Access program at Bird Island in September of 2012.
(Upon learning that Point Lobos had just opened an accessible trail to China Cove, we went to experience it for ourselves. You can read about that experience here.)
I became seriously interested in looking into the docent training program later that summer when Jeri’s photos [Images by RJM] were used on the flyer for the Easy Access Program, and even more serious when her photos were used in creating the outreach presentation for Easy Access.
With the excited, enthusiastic and supportive encouragement of docents Barbara Grace and Lorna Clearbout, I registered to attend the Docent Trainee Recruitment meeting. Once I found out that a good friend of mine – who is a seasoned docent, and who knows me and my MS – was allowed to be my mentor, I was determined to be selected for this year’s training class.
2) Tell me a little about the training (how long it was, what you had to do, any challenges or “ah ha!” moments).
The training was from January through May and included the commitment of attending four of the five monthly training meetings (which began at 8:30 a.m. Not an easy feat! With the help and support of my boyfriend I was able to attend all five meetings).
Additionally, I was required to attend at least three of the five monthly Docent meetings, along with completing a host of other requirements pertaining to learning, experiencing, and interpreting the flora, fauna, geology, cultural history, economic history, and historical preservation of this beautiful State Natural Reserve.
One challenge was traversing the ADA trails independently using my manual wheelchair. With practice, determination and will I am now able to independently navigate the Sea Lion Point trail, even though it takes some time and effort; however it’s a really good workout, and tends to make the views that much more rewarding!
The other challenge is getting into and out of the Whaler’s Cabin with the bark outside. Inquiries and suggestions have been submitted to management regarding implementing a decomposed granite path from the road to the back door to allow individuals with limited mobility to enter the cabin without attempting to traverse the granite steps in the front.
One “ah ha” moment was having docents experience Point Lobos with a wheelchair, and practice pushing and being pushed in a wheelchair on each of the three ADA trails. With this experience I hope to facilitate a better understanding of wheelchair perspective, ability of navigation on trails, and overall appreciation of the interpretation program through Easy Access.
3) What do you hope to accomplish as a docent?
My main goal as a Docent at Point Lobos is to be able to share this magnificent State Natural Reserve with those visitors who venture out to experience and enjoy the wonder, beauty, and history of the natural coastal gem that is Point Lobos.
Tied in with that is my goal to reach out to visitors of every age and any background who use a wheelchair, walker, crutches, cane(s), or simply move slower than those not living with mobility challenges.
With the three ADA trails at Point Lobos, visitors with varying degrees of mobility have the opportunity to experience three different sides of this State Natural Reserve on the Carmelo Meadow and Granite Point trails, the Sea Lion Point trail and the newest, Bird Island trail.
Additionally I hope to inspire individuals living with Multiple Sclerosis to get outside and back to nature, despite being differently-abled. I hope to inspire others living with disabilities to come out to the reserve with the mentality “Don’t say it can’t be done, until you try it first.” You may surprise yourself! And even if it is difficult, or you’re unable to participate with complete independence, this is one place on earth you don’t want to miss, no matter what your limitations or difficulties may be.
Not to mention that I learn something new every time I am out at the reserve, and experience something different with each visit!
And most especially to Carrieanna. Her knowledge about the Reserve, her enthusiasm for sharing, and her “anything is possible” attitude will inspire many who visit Point Lobos!
Carrieanna leads her first group as a docent