talking points for nature guides
index to talking points for nature guides
For nature guides: role of a guide
updated Apr 2020
Are you ready for a safe trip on the shores?

Try this quiz!

Preparations BEFORE the day of the walk
  • Do a recce of the area a few weeks before the walk: to work out
    • The walk route (this should avoid trampling sensitive areas and soft areas which will give visitors difficulties).
    • Determine evacuation route and procedures for bad weather and for injuries.
    • Identify interesting key features to develop the walk around.
    • Update on changes on the site.
  • During sign up for the walk, send visitors a list of what to wear and bring along for their safety and comfort. Here's some tips for a shore trip.
  • Prepare a simple first aid kit, get updated contact numbers of emergency services.

Before walk starts: The pre-walk portion is the most important part of the walk. Spend time and effort to connect with your visitors and half your job is done.

Find out more about the visitors

  • Why did you come? How did you hear about the walk?
  • What can I show you?
  • What do you expect?
  • Have you been to a seashore before?

Introduce yourself

  • Why you are volunteering to be a guide
  • What you hope to achieve FOR THE VISITORS during the walk (don't start your messages yet)
  • Introduce the group that you are volunteering with

Tell them what to expect during the tour

  • How long (check that this fits their schedule)
  • Some of the special sights

Make sure visitors are prepared: have gone to the loo, proper footwear, drinking water, hat, spray insect repellent away from the shore and other people.

Care for the visitors during the walk

  • Remind visitors to wear hat, drink water, have a stop to drink, look at the view, take group photo.
  • When talking to visitors, the guide should talking FACING the sun so visitors don't have to do so.
  • Don't make visitors stop for a long time in the sun or unsafe places, e.g., slippery.

Guiding is a group effort

  • Be aware of the group in front of you and behind you.
  • Don't block the flow of people by taking too long at one location. This forces the group behind you to 'over take' your group and thus widens the area of damage to the shore.

Safety briefing before the walk starts

  • Do NOT touch anything. "You can point things out to me, but don't touch unless I say it's OK for you to touch it"
  • Check footwear.
  • Don't take off your shoes.
  • Tell me if you are not feeling well, especially if you had touched something.
  • If the weather looks chancy: explain evacuation processes in case of bad weather.
  • A good safety briefing avoids medical emergencies.

Starting the walk

  • Lead the way, bringing them through a safe and comfortable route that was decided upon by the group before hand. Don't wander everywhere.
  • If there isn't a second guide, appoint a responsible adult to be last man.

ALWAYS begin with a 'sensing station' to emphasise that every inch of the shores is alive! "We should watch where we step".

  • Emphasise this just before the walk begins.
  • Once this is internalised, guides do not have to spend the rest of the walk yelling at visitors not to wander off.
  • Here's some tips on how to do a first station.

Set a good example as a gentle visitor to the shore
be a good guide and don't be a bad guide.

At the end of the walk

  • Give a round up of exciting, interesting finds so they feel the had a special walk. "This is the first time I have seen...", "Today we sure saw a lot of ...", "Wasn't it lucky that Mr X spotted ..."
  • Highlight things they can do as ordinary people.
    • Focus on 1-2 simple things ordinary people can do.
    • Don't over-lecture. Don't give a long list.
    • Don't be depressing.
  • Point out web resources for those who want to find out more.
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