College of Science

Habitat Stewardship Project, Monterey Bay Volunteer

Service Learning

RON works with the Service Learning department at Cal State Monterey Bay to provide meaningful opportunities to help achieve RON's goal of "bringing people closer to nature and nature closer to people" and encourage CSUMB students to a take a leadership role and while exercising the skills and ideas that they have been learning in their classes.


Service Learner’s (SL's) are invited to join Return of the Natives in support of a variety of educational and outdoor experiences for community members of all ages! SL's will choose a program area in which at least 22 hours of service will be completed - Education, Community Events or Green Thumbs programs. The rest of SL hours may be completed within their focus area, or with supplementary events, such as tabling or representing Return of the Natives in the community, nursery assistance and a variety of other events!

Interested in joining the Service Learner Team for Spring 2021? Contact Volunteer and Outreach Fellow Lindsey Ochoa at

Service Learning Interpretive Projects

  • Creating a Watershed Institute Geocache with information about RON, WI, and native plants
  • Coming up with 15 - 30 minute activities for Public Events
  • Creating a H Chart survey to monitor different sites

Community Events Focus

Service learners will assist in leading community events at local restoration sites, including Monterey State Beach, Fort Ord National Monument and parks in Salinas. SL’s will help load our supplies, setup at the restoration site, complete projects and cleanup. These events are critical in completing large scale habitat restoration projects.

  • Saturdays, meet at the Watershed Institute at 7:30 or 8:30 a.m. Events typically last until 1:30-2:30 p.m. Learners earn approximately 5 hours at each event- see the Calendar for a full listing of days.

Green Thumbs/ Nursery Focus

Work along side, and get to know, the Green Thumbs while growing the thousands of plants needed for habitat restoration at the RON greenhouse on the CSUMB campus. The Green Thumbs are a group of developmentally disable adults that come from all over Monterey County to volunteer to help the environment and gain new skills. This is a fun opportunity to learn more about how to grow plants and get to know the Green Thumbs!

  • Sessions are available Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays. Each session is typically 1-2 hours.

Education Focus

Service Learners can be involved in a variety of Return of the Natives Educational programs. In class experiences include topics such as plastic in the ocean, native plants and animals and watershed science. SL’s may also be support during field trip experiences, during which students will complete a service project as well as educational components. Activities include bird watching, trash cleanup and planting.

  • Programs run most days of the week, and can range from half to full days, starting at 7:30am or 8am.

Get started

Lindsey Ochoa, Americorps VIP Fellow, will be the main contact for service learners for Fall 2020 - Spring 2021. Please e-mail to get started.