The Cobbs Creek Community Environmental Center holds many nature programs for members of the community including the Junior Docent Program, which is set to start March 2.
“Docents are highly trained guides. The guides that take you on tour of the art museum or zoo are docents. The Junior Docent Program here trains students from West Philadelphia to become community educators and naturalist guides,” said Dan Kobza, who helps to run the program along with Tony Croasdale.
Croasdale, who has been with the program since its inception in 2010, said he believes the program has been successful both in terms of turnout and setting up the junior docents for future success. “We’ve had about 20 graduates of the program,” he said enthusiastically, “they’re all going on to do crazy things all over, literally all over in places like England and the West Coast,” he added. “It’s a great program, it empowers them, they get to lead people around and learn a variety of skills hands-on.”
Saturday begins three months of student training, both in the classroom inside the center as well as outside in the field. After the training period is complete the students, who come from Cobbs Creek as well as other parts of West and Southwest Philadelphia, lead tours along the five trails in Cobbs Creek Park.
Kobza said he believes the program, as well as the park itself provides numerous benefits to the community by bringing them into the park. “It has all sorts of benefits in terms of people’s health physically and psychologically and also having a well-maintained park is good for the community economically.
For more information about Cobbs Creek Community Environmental Education center, visit cobbscreekcenter.org.