Docent In the Spotlight: Spring 2013

Debbie Hanna with 3rd graders from Escondido


It has been just over a year since Debbie Hanna completed docent training, but in a short time Debbie has become an integral part of the Environmental Education program, leading walks weekly, serving on committees, and helping develop educational programs and props. She has gained the reputation as “the unflappable docent”, always able to reign in the kids, no matter how fidgety they might be, without raising her voice or showing signs of frustration.

There’s no doubt that Debbie’s 20 years of teaching 3rd grade in the Del Mar Union School District prepared her well for the docent program, especially since nearly half the elementary students who come to the lagoon are 3rd graders. In fact, Debbie used to bring her own students to the lagoon, and continues to encourage her former colleagues to do the same.

“When I was teaching third grade, I always enjoyed and got excited about teaching the wetlands unit. So long before retirement, I already had a seed planted in my head that one day I would become a docent,” recalled Debbie. “Docent training was fabulous, but with little background in biology, it was at times challenging,” noted Debbie, “but many people welcomed and encouraged me along the way and that made all the difference.”

An active resident of Encinitas, Debbie gives back to her community by fostering environmental stewardship among young people and helping them understand the importance of caring for and protecting our natural resources. A long-time member of the Conservancy and avid hiker, Debbie has always appreciated the outdoors. She is a certified SCUBA diver, and also enjoys reading, gardening, and cooking in her free time.

Thank you, Debbie, for becoming a leader among our docents in such a short period of time and for helping us all better understand the art of field trip management.


Monthly Meetings

 Cattails sway in the breeze at San Elijo Lagoon.