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Male elephant seals headed to San Simeon for the winter 

friends of the elephant seals presentation paso roblesVolunteer guides wanted

–Every winter large male elephant seals lose fights for dominance on other beaches and haul their battered bodies out onto the sand at San Simeon. They are looking for a place to heal their battle wounds. Beachgoers at this popular sandy cove are often surprised to discover they get to share the beach with these remarkable critters, and would like to learn more. That is where volunteer guides can help.

California State Parks and Friends of the Elephant Seal (FES) have started a new Winter Guide program to help the public learn about these seals and to protect the seals as they show up on beaches used by the public. Guides are needed Friday through Sunday and holidays, from mid-December to mid-March, to help guide beachgoers around the seals and share facts about their amazing lives. Flexible scheduling is available. One day of training and on-the-job mentoring with experienced FES guides, and you will be good to go.

“Service as a Winter Guide presents a great opportunity for persons who are still working or are in school,” said Tim Bridwell, president of Friends of the Elephant Seal. “Guides will enjoy the experience of working with nature and interacting with visitors to our area.” District Superintendent Dan Falat said, “This is a great opportunity for members of our community to be part of the continued protection, education, and interpretation of these unique and magnificent animals.

Want to be part of this new effort to help people enjoy wildlife and learn about the Central Coast’s amazing creatures? Contact Friends of the Elephant Seal at, fill out an application and come to a public information meeting to learn more. The first meeting will be held Nov. 13 at 5:30 p.m. at the Morro Bay Museum of Natural History, 20 State Park Road, Morro Bay; the second is Nov. 16 at 10 a.m. at the Cavalier Plaza, 250 San Simeon Ave. in San Simeon. A required one-day training will be held on Dec. 7. Contact FES at (805) 924-1628 with questions.

Expect to spend two shifts a month at San Simeon, from mid-December through mid-March. Morning shifts, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., and afternoon shifts, 12:30 to 4:30 p.m., are available. Volunteers are asked to make a commitment for the entire winter season.

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