Docent in the Spotlight Winter 2014-2015


Gail is pictured on the observation deck of San Elijo Lagoon Nature Center

GAIL SMITH

Gail had her eye on becoming a docent-naturalist since 2007 when she met an enthusiastic docent while birding in the lagoon. It was five years before she was able to sign up for training, after she retired from a long career (38 years!) teaching elementary school. “As long as I can remember, I always wanted to be a teacher. My favorite childhood game was playing school, so all I ever really needed was a chalkboard and I was happy,” reflects Gail.

A native of Rhode Island, Gail was drawn to San Diego by the weather years ago and has especially enjoyed camping and exploring throughout the West Coast. With her extensive teaching experience, Gail has been a big asset to the education school programs. “I especially enjoy the Aha moments when students experience something for the first time, like a mullet jumping or an Osprey flying overhead,” notes Gail. In addition to leading school programs, Gail volunteers for Family Fun Days and Family Discovery Days, and served on an advisory committee to help write supporting materials for school program stations.

Gail also volunteers through her church in an elderly shut-in program, visiting seniors who are either unwilling or unable to leave their houses. “As visitors of the elderly, our role is really to help brighten their day, and give them that contact to the outside world,” says Gail. “I enjoy listening to their stories, and simply taking the time to be with people who don’t have an extensive supportive network of their own.” When not volunteering, Gail tries to fit in a weekly bird walk with the Palomar Audubon Society.

Thank you, Gail, for sharing your time and expertise with the conservancy. We greatly appreciate it.