People walking along rocky shore adjacent to sandstone cliffs

My First Day As A TPERP

New TPERP Mayra Hernandez had an exciting first day in the tidepools. Below is her story. Her enthusiasm is exactly what makes the TPERP program so rewarding for both volunteers and visitors.

My first day as a TPERP in the tidepools was an exciting one. Maybe it was just my being new at it, but it all felt so awesome and worth sharing with others. I would like to tell you about a few experiences I had with visitors.

A little girl rummaging through the seaweed saw and upturned a critter and left it uncovered. I saw it from a distance but then got busy with someone else. Then a little boy found it and started poking it with a stick. I walked to him and started talking to him about the critter. 

He became very interested in the fate of the critter and asked me to follow up with him—his mom gave me her number and asked me to text her. Here is their response to my text:

“Thank you so much for the quick response Mayra. I read your message to my son. He was so delighted to hear from you. He kept asking me if you texted him. He understood your explanation about the critter. Thanks again for returning the critter to its home at sea. My son felt so important that he was a part of the process. You are an asset to your volunteer position. Thank you again and best wishes to you!”

The next time Mayra was at the tidepools, a visitor pointed out a critter she couldn’t identify. But she said they still had a ball looking at other things, including an octopus someone discovered. 

When a woman showed Mayra a Black Sea Hare that she and her husband had found, Mayra was prepared and handed her a sticker that she was thrilled to receive.

Another visitor showed Mayra footage on her phone of the above-mentioned octopus moving about, and Mayra gave her a sticker as well, to squeals of delight.

Mayra said she regularly reads the VIP Voice, and there are always notes about the things that happen at the tidepools. She added that the facts are great, but they don’t quite capture all the stuff that goes on. In Mayra’s own words:

It’s quite interesting being out there. I run into the most interesting people! I met a man who trains sniffer dogs for law enforcement (explosives, etc.) and takes the dogs (one at a time) to train at the tidepools. I’ve met tourists, locals who can tell how erosion is changing the landscape, young, old, and everything in between! I’ve spoken to visitors in English, Spanish, and French! I love both discovering and learning together, and how quickly our day can change through the eyes of another and how the shared experience can inspire us.

Thank you, Mayra, for helping to make the tidepool experience meaningful for visitors and safe for the critters!

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