Outdoorsy types: Interested in becoming part of an award-winning nature education program in a world-renowned nature preserve? In the mood for a road trip to the Marin County coast? Audubon Canyon Ranch, a system of wildlife sanctuaries on the Pacific shoreline near Stinson Beach, is offering a volunteer docent training program for its Bolinas Lagoon Preserve. That’s right, Bolinas. Located in the vicinity of the notoriously reclusive artists’ colony/hippie ghetto of Bolinas on the leeward side of Highway 1 (the town is on the windward side, and is famous for tearing down road signs that mention it), the preserve is a thousand-acre wildlife sanctuary in which great blue herons and great and snowy egrets nest amid redwoods and Douglas firs. The lagoon area is also home to black-tail deer, bobcats, gray foxes, badgers, raccoons (bigger than the ones in your attic), rabbits, and assorted reptiles and amphibians — along with some sixty species of shorebirds, including pelicans, ospreys, and sandpipers.
Preserve docents go through a 22-week training course, meeting on Wednesdays and covering everything from birds and insects to Native American culture. If this sounds like fun, attend a volunteer orientation session, taking place today (July 21) or August 25 at the preserve. Full training begins in September. To find out more, visit Egret.org or call 415-868-9244. — Kelly Vance
Take the Aqua Challenge
There’s nothing in the world as invigorating as taking a cold plunge in a lake on a summer morning. Now try to imagine yourself racing a mile, or even two, in that cold lake against determined competitors. That’s why they call it the Lake Del Valle Aqua Challenge. The sixth annual swim competition, happening this Saturday at Lake Del Valle outside Livermore, is sponsored by On Your Mark Events and comes in half-mile, mile, and two-mile increments. The sponsors claim the water is 72 degrees F or warmer, and the mandatory color-coded swim caps are provided. There are wetsuit and nonwetsuit divisions, as well as awards divisions for male and female, open, and masters age groups. The half-mile event starts at 8:30 a.m. Entry fees are $25 in advance (register at OnYourMarkEvents.com) or $30 on race day. Note: Del Valle Regional Park imposes a $5 parking fee. — Kelly Vance