The Whale Watch Program was started in 1986 by our Whale Mother, Bea Brunn, to educate the public about the amazing gray whale. The whales begin their journey at their summer feeding grounds off Arctic waters of the Bering, Chukchi and Beaufort Seas, to their winter calving lagoons off Baja California, Mexico, traveling south along the coast. They return after breeding or with their young via the same route, usually closer to shore with the mothers on the outside and the calves closer inland for protection.
Tasks: Whale Watch volunteers help visitors spot whales off the Sonoma Coast, with the help of scopes and binoculars. Volunteers interpret the northern grey whale migration and natural history, and provide additional park information to visitors. Read the Whale Watch duty statement for a complete description.
Meeting times: State Parks Volunteer Docents are stationed at Bodega Head on weekends from 12 PM - 4 PM, January through May.
Training and requirements: No prior knowledge is necessary! New volunteers should attend and register for a Whale Watch training. Volunteers will then shadow experienced volunteers until they feel comfortable manning a shift on their own. New volunteers are required to attend one General Orientation, and encouraged to attend our affordable seminars to further their education. All new volunteers are required to complete and turn in a hard copy of the CA State Parks DPR 208 paperwork. Read our Volunteer Handbook for more information about becoming a volunteer.
Covid-19 Updates for 2021
New Protocols - DRAFT
Other Whale Watch Resources
Whale Watch Resource List
Whale Watch Info Card
W hale Watch Training Presentation
2020 Emergency Checklist - Ranger Tim Murphy
Training Agenda - 11/14/20
Training Evaluation - 11/14/20
Whale Watch Schedule