How we began…

The Topanga Canyon Docents was started in 1974 by a group of friends and activists who wanted to share their love of nature and the Santa Monica Mountains.

Topanga Canyon Docents - Santa Monica Mountains - Topanga State Park - Fall Training Graduates 2013Who we are now:

The Topanga Canyon Docents are volunteer naturalists who have received in depth training in natural history as it applies to Topanga State Park and the Santa Monica Mountains from specialists and college level educators. We enthusiastically share our knowledge about the wildlife, plants and history of Topanga State Park with school groups and the public on our docent led walks and at the Visitor Center.

Handsome fellowOur Mission:

Topanga State Park is considered the largest wildlands park in the world that lies within an urban border (the City of Los Angeles). Its 25 square mile spread provides a unique wilderness experience close to home. Our mission is to share our knowledge of the flora, fauna and history by exploring the trails and historic Visitorʼs Center with park visitors.

Our Training:

To become a docent we offer a Docent Training course given each fall at the Trippet Ranch in Topanga State Park. Upon completion of the 45 hours of classroom and field training, we earn the Topanga Canyon Docent certificate, name badge and Topanga State Park parking pass which are presented at a picnic to celebrate the new docent trainees. You can learn more about this course by going to the Docent Training page.

Meet Our Board:

We are a group of 12 volunteer docents that meet regularly to discuss and plan our programs and upcoming events. Any docent is welcome to attend our meetings. We hold annual elections for board member positions.

Board Members:

Grainne Ward, President
Megan Williams Lee, Vice President
Lola Cumiford, Treasurer
Patricia Hill, Secretary
Doug Allan
Karin Benson
Don Frampton
Read Howarth
Lucinda Mittleman
Wakako Rollinger

Board Members Alternates:

Peter Rice
Veronica Winston


Visitor Center and Nature Station Scheduling: Grainne Ward
Sunday Walks Scheduling / Website: Veronica Winston
School Walks: Karin Benson
Newsletter: Susan Markowitz, Lucinda Mittleman
Publicity: Megan Williams Lee

Board Emeritus:

Harvey Bjornlie
Sheila Bjornlie
Gene Cheltenham
Lynne Haigh
Don Murchie
Marva Semet
Beverly Weil

Topanga Sate Park Liasons:

State Park Ranger, Topanga Sector, Danny Duarte

Topanga State Park Interpreter, Mike Deagon

Volunteer Opportunities:

Our docents staff the Visitor Center, lead School Walks for children and lead Sunday Walks for the public. Docents organize and help out at enrichment activities for our members such as our Field Ecology WeekendDocent Training, Full Moon Hikes and Field Trips. There are other volunteer opportunities, too, such as newsletter publishing or managing our website and social media pages. We rely on docent participation to run these successful programs.

Questions? Contact Us