Spring 2011 Docent of the Quarter


Kris and her pal, Murphy

KRIS VENSAND

Since graduating from docent training slightly more than a year ago, Kris Vensand has regularly participated in the school program and more recently signed up as the lead docent for guided walks. Although teaching through the Conservancy is new to her, using the lagoon as an outdoor classroom is not.

“When I homeschooled my daughter several years ago, I would take her to the lagoon to introduce her to nature and use the watershed model to teach her about our local water resources,” recalls Kris.

Interacting with children comes very naturally to Kris, as she spent 18 years as a pediatric occupational therapist working with disabled and physically challenged infants and children. When asked why she decided to get actively involved in the Conservancy, she noted that she wanted to gain a greater understanding and appreciation for the scrubby flora and fauna of the region.

“Although I grew up in this area, I spent most of my adult years in Northern California where I became accustomed to tall trees. When we moved back here to be closer to family, I realized I knew very little about the local vegetation.”

"Being a docent allows me to get out and explore nature, and you get the added benefit of the students’ spontaneous reactions to nature…you never quite know what they are going to say or how they are going to react, which is what makes it so interesting,” says Kris.

Although Kris accepts the fact that she will always be competing with lizards when it comes to an elementary school walk, she still believes she has something to offer. “I think when students, or your own kids, see that you are truly passionate about something, it naturally rubs off on them, and it is one way to help kids make that important connection to nature.”

Kris lives near the reserve with her husband and daughter. When not volunteering at the reserve, she enjoys walking her terrier-mix, Murphy, playing the piano, sewing, scrapbooking, and chauffering her daughter to synchronized swim lessons and meets. 

Thank you, Kris, for joining the SELC docent family, and for sharing your leadership talents.

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  Photo: R. Waggoner