Docent Responsibilities

Emerald Necklace Conservancy Docents are volunteers trained to lead interpretive programs (visitor activities) at the Shattuck Emerald Necklace Visitor Center and to lead tours through the Back Bay Fens for the general public and private groups. Tours are usually 90 minutes in length and begin and end at the Shattuck Emerald Necklace Visitor Center.

Responsibilities and Time Commitment


  • Attend the six 2-hour classes as scheduled and complete homework assignments.
  • Complete a class evaluation after each class.
  • Attend at least one tour led by Conservancy staff, docent or Park Ranger during training.
  • Lead a “practice” tour through the Back Bay Fens.
  • Craft your tour and choose a tour “theme” if appropriate.
  • Recommended: Attend other docent-led tours at area museums, parks, libraries, or historical sites.

As an Emerald Necklace Docent:

  • Lead a minimum of one 90-minute tour and one visitor activity per month between May and October. Tours are scheduled on weekdays as well as weekends. Visitor activities are held at the Shattuck Emerald Necklace Visitor Center.
  • Arrive at least 15 minutes before a tour or visitor activity for preparation and to pick up/assemble materials at the Shattuck Visitor Center.
  • Log your hours and tour details in the Docent Log Book at the Shattuck Visitor Center after every tour and activity.
  • Commit to at least one “season” of volunteering with the goal of making a multi-year investment. (Season runs from May to October).
  • Notify the Conservancy as soon as possible (minimum of 24 hours) if you are unable to lead your scheduled tour. Please make every effort to find a replacement using your docent contact list.
  • Attend monthly docent meetings at the Shattuck Visitor Center.
  • Continue to expand your knowledge of the Emerald Necklace by attending Conservancy events and tours and through independent study.
Required Skills and Interests
  • Able to meet the responsibilities and time commitment as outlined above
  • Interest in learning about the Emerald Necklace and the work of the Conservancy
  • Excellent communication and interpersonal skills; ability to interact with people of all ages and backgrounds; and fluency in English
  • Dependability and punctuality
  • Ability to lead tours outdoors for up to 90 minutes in length and in less than ideal weather conditions

Docents play an important role at the Emerald Necklace Conservancy and are valued members of the organization. Serving as Conservancy “ambassadors,” docents interact with park visitors and welcome the public to the Emerald Necklace. As an Emerald Necklace Docent you will:

  • Foster a greater appreciation and understanding of the Emerald Necklace by providing interpretative tours and programming.
  • Enrich the visitor’s experience by sharing your knowledge of both park history and current restoration and renewal projects.
  • Be provided with a docent training manual and educational materials.
  • Have an opportunity to “customize” your tour and programming according to your interests.
  • Have the opportunity for self-growth and continued learning.
  • Receive invitations to attend enrichment programs and special programs.
  • Be provided with an Emerald Necklace Conservancy docent identification card.
  • Receive Conservancy-logo apparel.
  • Attend monthly docent meetings at the Shattuck Visitor Center.
  • Have access to resources and special borrowing privileges at the library at the Shattuck Visitor Center.

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