San Diego County, California


Thank you for your interest in volunteering with The Escondido Creek Conservancy. As a not-for-profit organization, we rely on volunteers to help us accomplish our mission, keeping our effectiveness high and our costs low. Whether you want to help us take care of our protected lands, raise money to save more land, or educate communities about the importance of land conservation, there are many opportunities to make a difference right here in the Escondido Watershed, depending on your interest. Read on to learn more about getting involved!

Interpretive Center Docents

Docents are stationed at the Reserve’s one-of-a-kind Interpretive Center.  They provide assistance with the Center’s enriching activities, tours of the building, and general park information to visitors.  They also have the option to participate in our fun-filled school fieldtrips programs, leading groups of children through a rotation of environmental education stations.

Becoming a docent is easy!  Click here to apply, and return the completed application in person at the Elfin Forest Interpretive Center (8833 Harmony Grove Road, Escondido), or online to Ranger Jeff Anderson at:

Walter1Just make sure you meet the minimum requirements and qualifications before applying:

  • must be at least 18 years old or volunteer with an parent/guardian
  • must submit to a background check
  • must possess a valid California Driver’s license
  • ability to work effectively and cooperatively with docents, Reserve staff, and a diverse public
  • ability to work independently
  • ability to operate a telephone
  • good verbal communication skills

Below is a video of our Field Trip volunteers in action!

Trail Patrol Volunteers

Trail Patrol volunteers help maintain the trail system at the Reserve, provide information to trail users, and serve as ambassadors of our natural lands.

To become a volunteer you have to:

  • be at least 18 years old
  • submit to a background check
  • possess a valid California Driver’s license
  • complete a six-hour training course
  • contribute a one-time $40 Trail Patrol application fee (of which $20 is a refundable deposit)
  • become First Aid and CPR certified
  • sign up for at least one 3-hour shift per month
  • be able to withstand outdoor conditions and tolerate temperature fluctuations
  • be able to interact with the public, staff, and volunteers with professionalism

The Trail Patrol training course is offered every four months.  It consists of two 3-hour sessions held on back-to-back Saturdays.  New recruits must attend both sessions to become a volunteer.  Training course topics will include a thorough explanation of the program and volunteer duties, park rules & regulations, safety & security, trail maintenance techniques, nature interpretation techniques, identifying native and invasive plants, an introduction to local wildlife, and how to use the specialized communication radio.

Tanya-Hank Trail Patrol

For the uniforms, we provide a standardized hat, backpack, a short-sleeve & long-sleeve shirt, and a backpack.  When volunteers can no longer continue to participate in the program we refund $20 of the $40 application fee upon return of the uniform.  Volunteers are responsible for providing their own hiking shoes and green-colored pants/shorts of choice.

All Trail Patrol volunteers must also have up-to-date adult First Aid and CPR certification (which is separate from the regular Trail Patrol training course).  Since we do not provide the certification ourselves, recruits have to shop around the various independent certifiers in the area and sign up for the one that is most convenient for them.
Click here to apply.  Please return the completed application and $40 in person to Simon Breen at The Escondido Creek Conservancy office, located at 104 W. Grand Ave, Escondido 92025.  Checks should be made payable to the Olivenhain Municipal Water District.

For further questions about the program, please contact the volunteer coordinator, Nathan Serrato:

Education Volunteers

The Escondido Creek Conservancy has been connecting children to nature since 2009. We provide field trips for students at the Elfin Forest Recreational Reserve, and on Conservancy properties. Our fun, science-based outdoor education programs are designed to encourage curiosity, help kids understand the natural world, and develop an appreciation for nature. We believe that this approach results in students becoming caretakers of the environment.

Volunteers have always been integral to our success. Over the years the programs have been growing in popularity, from just a few hundred students in the first year, to thousands in recent years. Our goal is to eventually provide positive outdoor experiences for every school in the Escondido Creek watershed. But to achieve this goal and meet our rising demand, we need volunteers more than ever. Please join us in giving children the gift of nature.

Contact Education Manager, Simon Breen, if you would like more details or if you would like to volunteer:

Land Maintenance Work Days

A Land Maintenance Work Day is a great way to get involved with the Conservancy and to meet other people with an interest in conservation. Throughout the year, Conservancy staff and volunteers participate in Work Days at locations around the Escondido Watershed to remove invasive species, clean up trash, maintain trails, and help with a variety of other hands-on jobs in order to care for the land we protect.

The Conservancy maintains an email list to notify people about our work days and other public events – we always welcome extra hands!

For more information about Land Maintenance Work Days, email our volunteer contact.

Escondido Creek Conservancy Standing Committees

The TECC Board of Directors has established standing committees to assist with setting goals and planning projects to carry out the mission of saving land in the Escondido Creek watershed. Committee members usually have a background or involvement in the committee’s topic prior to joining a committee. If you have relevant experience or are currently involved in finance or land protection, and are interested in being considered for committee membership, please let us know. Committee subjects include:

  • Land Acquisition
  • Finance
  • Land Stewardship (Maintenance)
  • Education
  • Water Quality
  • Development
  • Enhancements to the creek through the center of Escondido (Reveal the Creek)
  • Communications, outreach and fund-raising

For more information , please email our volunteer contact

Unique Volunteer Opportunities

Outreach Volunteer – This is a great way to help raise TECC’s visibility, build our supporter base, and get out the word about TECC and the land conservation movement. There are several opportunities to volunteer for manning booths at green fairs and festivals throughout the watershed. TECC staff will train you and provide materials.

Photography – Here is an excuse to take your camera out for a nice long walk. The Conservancy can always use great photos that showcase our properties for historical documentation, for promotional materials, and for our website.

Office Support – We are always looking for people who are available to help with mailings or preparing for Conservancy events during regular business hours. If you have free time during the day, you are probably the perfect person for this volunteer job.

Expert Assistance – The Conservancy would greatly benefit from participation by grant researchers/writers, naturalists, ecologists, geologists, hydrologists, and property surveyors.

If you have a skill or applicable experience that you would like to offer please email our volunteer