UNH Marine Docent Program
The UNH Marine Docent Program is a volunteer-based effort that presents educational programs that provide a link between the University's research community and the public. Docents teach marine science to students in schools and camps, adults in community groups and organizations, and at public events in a variety of settings.
Through our SeaTrek in-school programs or our Coastal Floating Lab programs aboard boats, Day of the Coast events at schools and numerous educator workshops, Docents are leading the way in marine education for the Granite State.
What Is a Marine Docent?
A UNH Marine Docent is a volunteer in a marine education program run jointly by NH Sea Grant and UNH Cooperative Extension at the University of New Hampshire (UNH). The mission of the UNH Marine Docent Program is to "provide a lens through which the marine and associated environments can be viewed, understood, and appreciated by people of all ages." Docents also provide a link between the University's research community and the public, through their educational programs.
What Do Docents Do?
Docents learn, and share what they learn, with students in schools and camps, adults in community clubs and organizations, and the general public in a variety of settings through
- SeaTrek outreach programs
- Educator workshops
- Global Climate Change education programs
- Family Boat Building
- Floating Lab programs aboard boats
- Teaching at the Seacoast Science Center at Odiorne Point in Rye and the Great Bay Discovery Center on Great Bay in Greenland, and other programs.
Docents who prefer not to present programs can help support the program in many different ways, including creating and maintaining program materials and resources.
Benefits of Becoming a Docent
There are a lot of great reasons to join the UNH Marine Docent program! In addition to knowledge, friendships, and adventures, you'll be entitled to use the university library, attend lectures, and audit classes.
Veteran Docents would be happy to share their experiences with you if you would like to speak to one – just call the office!
Entering the Docent Program
Call the NH Sea Grant office at 603.862.6700! We'll answer your questions and send you some literature and an application form (or you can fill out an application online here). If you're interested, send in the application and call to arrange an interview with Dari Christenson, our Marine Docent program manager. If you both decide that this is a good opportunity, and your references check out, you'll be provided with:
- A Docent Handbook
- A list of recommended books
- A Docent Education Schedule
You will be asked to purchase one required textbook (about $38). Once you successfully complete the training, you will be admitted as a member of the program at the Docent Recognition Ceremony in April.
How much commitment is expected?
Attend 90% of our Tuesday and Thursday classes, held from September through April (with a December/January break). Training takes place at the Sea Grant office in Lee , NH from 9:00am – 11:30am, with several full day field trips. Choose one or more extended programs in which you will specialize; and also be willing to "go that extra mile" when needed on other projects.
Make a two-year commitment to the program, including the six months of free education that you receive. Be a reliable and responsible member of the UNH Marine Docent program. This means attending all meetings possible, handing in monthly Docent services records, and be willing to volunteer as needed.