Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Happy National Volunteer Week!

National Volunteer Week, April 6–12, 2014, is about inspiring, recognizing and encouraging people to seek out imaginative ways to engage in their communities. It’s about demonstrating to the nation that by working together, we have the fortitude to meet our challenges and accomplish our goals.
National Volunteer Week is about taking action and encouraging individuals and their respective communities to be at the center of social change – discovering and actively demonstrating their collective power to make a difference. – Points Of Light

We're celebrating National Volunteer Week! First, we wanted to take a moment to highlight some of the amazing contributions of the Aquarium’s unpaid staff and highlight some opportunities for you to get involved.

In 2013, our 938 adult Aquarium volunteers and interns hit an incredible milestone by donating over 100,000 hours towards our mission of protecting the blue planet. What did that many people spend so much time doing? Most of our volunteers and interns served in one of the following top three departments: Husbandry, Rescue and Rehabilitation and Visitor Education.

Aquarist Husbandry Volunteers
  • 127 Volunteers and interns donated nearly 24,000 hours here on Central Wharf
  • Took care of tens of thousands of animals including: 
    • the nautilus in the Tropical Gallery 
    • the weedy sea dragons in the Thinking Gallery
    • the octopus in the Cold Marine Gallery
    • the anacondas in the Freshwater Gallery
    • the sharks and rays in the West Wing and 
    • the jellies in the Wet Lab

Lydia Glenn, Aquarist Intern

Rescue and Rehabilitation
When you have over 300 sea turtles to rehabilitate of in the course of a year, 192 volunteers and interns help get the work done—spending nearly 17,000 hours helping to ensure these animals can return healthy back into the wild.

Eran Hornick, Rescue & Rehabilitation Volunteer

Visitor Education
It’s certain that the last time you visited the Aquarium, one of the 106 trained volunteer interpreters helped make your experience meaningful (and they spent over 15,000 hours doing it).
[We are currently recruiting individuals with weekday availability for Spring Aquarium Guide Training! Visitor Education volunteers serve half day shifts once per week and make a six month commitment to the position after completing Aquarium Guide Training.  Interested in joining the team? Please click here for the application process.]

Maureen Trainor, Visitor Education Volunteer

These departments certainly have a lot of volunteers serving many hours, but that doesn’t mean some of our smaller departments aren’t making the same impact towards our mission. Here are some stories about our smallest two departments who engage volunteers and interns in their incredible work:

Museum Operations
Here’s where we get to talk about the Volunteer department's volunteer! Whitney Tibolt served over 100 hours assisting the Office of Volunteer Programs and Internships with the data entry, filing and other office support that is helping us provide more impact reporting.  She’s also helping us scan our files to electronic versions as we work to live blue!

Whitney Tibolt, Volunteer Programs & Internships Office Assistant Volunteer

Animal Health
Alex Shopov was named Volunteer of the Month in August 2013 and a current member of the New England Aquarium Marathon Team. As an educator, Alex brought unique skills to the position as he was not only able to assist with medical tasks, but also could inform the public when helping out with tasks like performing a whale necropsy on the beach! He’s also a former penguin volunteer and has served over 800 hours during his time as a volunteer.

Alex Shopov, Medical Center Volunteer

Each of our individual volunteers and interns plays an integral part in the 100,000 hours served last year and we thank each and every one of them for their impact on protecting the blue planet. If you currently serve, either at the New England Aquarium or elsewhere throughout our community, we would like to thank you for your incredible donations of time, energy and passion. We know that it can be hard to take time out of our daily lives for the betterment of another, but each time you do our community is indebted to you!

This April 6–12, New England Aquarium will be celebrating service by featuring some of our incredible volunteers and a variety of service opportunities. To start the week off right, we thought we would show you a few different ways you can get involved and start volunteering today:

  • Become a regular volunteer with New England Aquarium and commit to serving with our animals, guests, community programs, or administrative roles.
  • Need a more flexible commitment? Sign up to become a live blue™ Service Corp volunteer.
  • Not in Boston, or interested in working with other kinds of animals? Find another AZA institution near you that needs volunteers.
  • Consider a citizen science program like Frog Watch USA.
  • Boston Cares has a fantastic calendar of click-to-sign-up service opportunities throughout Greater Boston focused on a diverse array of impact areas from homelessness to education.
  • You can learn about national service initiatives and find a local volunteer action center by visiting HandsOn Network.

Stay tuned for more posts celebrating National Volunteer Week!

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