TPERP Opportunities


Volunteers in the Tidepool Protection, Education, and Restoration Program have two basic goals:

  • Enhance visitor experience by answering questions, helping them safely observe the marine life and geology, and sharing info and stories about everything rocky intertidal
  • Protect both the critters and the environment by sharing rules about intertidal exploring, guiding visitors’ behavior, enlisting law enforcement rangers to help with violations, and enforcing the closure of Zone 3


You have opportunities to achieve these goals in several ways:

Signing up for a shift during low tide season October to May in Zone 1 or 2 and walking around in these zones interacting with visitors

Working at the education table set up near the beginning of the trail to the tidepools and talking to visitors as they come or leave the tidepool area

Roving through the rocky intertidal and coastal bluffs at high or low tides interacting with visitors you encounter

Participating in the Pinniped Monitoring — Monitoring of pinnipeds will provide estimates of pinniped use and activities at three sites at Cabrillo National Monument. Data collected on pinniped and human abundance will be used to inform management decisions.


Here is some information about each of these opportunities:

Low Tide

Description of what’s involved: Low tide volunteers are the park’s presence in the tidepools. You will sign up for shifts of approximately 4 hours to roam or stand in Zone 1 or 2, observing visitor behavior, talking with them, answering questions, helping them explore and experience the place and its inhabitants in a safe and fun manner. You will educate them on the rules and etiquette the park has put into place for tidepool visits. If any resource or visitor is in danger, you will report it to a ranger and support them if they need assistance.

Volunteers may be walking in slippery or rocky shoreline areas or through pools of water or incoming tides. You will tell stories about the critters and listen to visitors’ stories about their own experiences with the environment. You will be their guide to understanding, exploring, and protecting this unique place.

Shift Checklist: (

Video (04:30) Overview video; An introductory tour for tidepool volunteers at Cabrillo National Monument(

Low Tide Tips: (

Education Table

Description of what’s involved: Education table volunteers will sign up for 4-hour shifts during low and sometimes high tides. Your shift will have you setting up, or closing down, the table in front of the VIP Trailer at the beginning of the tidepool trail from parking Lot 1. The table and your presence are very popular with our visitors, especially the children. Using the many bio-models, props, pictures, displays, and written materials available, you will interact with visitors who stop to talk to you. They may have questions about what they might see in the tidepools or, if they are on their way out, about what they saw. You may even be asked about other parts of the park or about the gray whales during their migration January through March. You will alert a ranger if a visitor needs assistance or is uncooperative. Your main duty will be to educate our visitors about our protected and unique tidepool environment and encourage them to have fun safely.

Opening and Closing Checklist: (

Video (07:51Education Table Overview: (

Education Table  & FAQ ( tperp-education-table-2/)


Description of what’s involved: Tidepool roving volunteers will sign up for 2- or 4-hour shifts both during low and high tides. You will walk the 1-mile coastal trail between the parking areas at the tidepool entrance to those north toward the Wastewater Treatment plant and around the upper area along the tidepool trail. You will be a wandering interpreter available to answer questions from visitors you encounter along the trail or pointing out significant things they might like to see, like our coastal sage and Mediterranean chaparral. Roving is especially important during high tides as many visitors don’t know our low tides do not happen during summer daylight hours. You can explain tides to them and point out things they can enjoy during high tides. Safety is paramount so you will be observant of where and how visitors use the trail, ensuring they stay on it during their hike to the tidepools and back. The trail is wide and easy but is subject to erosion so could have some rugged spots. Since dogs are allowed on a leash on this trail, interaction with pet owners may be needed.

Coastal Trail (

Roving Tips and FAQs (

Pinniped Monitoring

Description of what’s involved: Using supplied data entry sheets and equipment, Pinniped Monitoring VIPs will station themselves at one of three sites near the tidepools, observing and recording any pinniped actions described on the data entry sheets. Habitat present in these areas include steep sandstone cliffs above short benches which transition to cobble interspersed with large boulders closer to the sea. To estimate the abundance and activities of Harbor Seals and Sea Lions, along with visitation at each site, surveyors will conduct 15-minute assessments at each site. The monitoring can be done anytime a VIP is roving or available in the tidepool area that would allow them time to reach the sites and conduct the 15-minute observations. The objectives of the monitoring program include estimating juvenile and adult pinniped abundance, documenting pinniped activities, determining haul-out site preferences, and evaluating human use of these sites.  

Pinniped SOP ( 

Video (35:02Pinniped Monitoring Overview (

Last revised 25-Jan-22