Thanks to the Friends of the Elephant Seal and their dedicated docents we took time to learn more about the passion and dedication of the more than 100 volunteers who share their knowledge with visitors. Each docent attends more than 20 hours of classroom training and on-site mentoring. The docents can be seen at the rookery wearing blue jackets, and are always eager to answer all your questions.

Meet Jan Sprague

Jan Sprague has been a devote protector and admirer of elephant seals for the vast majority of her life. Her interest was sparked when she began her education focusing in marine biology in the 1970’s. As she moved to the Central Coast, her passion grew stronger as she discovered the elephant seal rookery in San Simeon before it became a protected zone. Once the rookery grew in popularity, she felt it was her duty to help safeguard the precious animals in their natural environment, so when she retired from teaching 15 years after moving to the Central Coast, she dedicated much of her time as a Friends of the Elephant Seal docent. Her dedication to the elephant seals and teaching others about the unique species is a valuable part in protecting and enhancing the quality of the Piedras Blancas rookery.

Read About Jan

Meet Lou Tornatzky

Resident of Los Osos, Lou Tornatzky has found a passion in educating local school kids and international guests in his role as a ‘Friends of the Elephant Seal’ docent. In 2013, Lou retired as a Department Chair at Cal Poly and Co-Director/Founder of the University’s Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship. Following that tenure, Lou spent a few years on the Los Osos Community Services District Board. Now, living on the Central Coast for almost 15 years, Lou is an integral component in the education and well being of the beloved elephant seals.

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Meet Lynette Harrison

I saw the elephant seals for the first time in 1997. I have been a volunteer docent at the rookery since 2012. I lived in the Fresno area and would come to the coast to do my docent shifts. I now live in Cambria full time. I love talking about the seals with the thousands of visitors we see each year. I will talk to over 100 people per day in our peak seasons.

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Meet Rusty Moore

Rusty Moore is a volunteer at the elephant seal rookery in San Simeon, CA. After moving to the central coast six years ago, he heard about the rookery and began to visit it regularly. On one occasion, a docent encouraged Rusty and his wife to become docents. Rusty strongly believes that the time and effort required to become a docent is rewarded every time he sees the gratitude of an excited visitor.

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Meet Polly Tatton

While visiting the Central Coast 12 years ago, Polly heard about the magnificent elephant seals in San Simeon. She capitalized on the opportunity to spend more time outdoors talking with visitors. Upon her retirement, she applied to be a volunteer docent. Polly has been a docent since 2008. She has lots of knowledge to share with you about the San Simeon elephant seals.

Read About Polly

Meet Abby Adams

Abby Adams has been a volunteer at the rookery for 5 years. She is a world traveler and wildlife activist. She is very involved with the Friend of the Elephant Seal non-profit organization. On your next visit to the rookery, find Abby or one her friends. They will help enrich your experience by teaching you about the elephant seals.

Read About Abby