Showing posts tagged as "volunteers"
Volunteers: We couldn’t do it without them! If you love the Aquarium, share the love by becoming one of our volunteer guides. Attend an informational meeting March 25 at 7 pm, or March 29 at 9 am, in our auditorium.
Can volunteering at the Aquarium help keep you young? Amazing 94-year-old Paul Croonquist receives 8,000-hour award from Executive Director Julie Packard, in the company of his daughters and wife Phoebe. Thank you Paul, and all our volunteers. We couldn’t do it without you!
Hey, where’d you come from? Volunteer diver Ken Ehrhart gets a surprise from a friendly mola mola in our Open Sea exhibit.
(Charlene Boarts photo)
Ever wonder what it’s like to be a volunteer at the Aquarium—and swim with sharks? Great photo essay and profile from The Chronicle.
(Photo: Russell Yip, The Chronicle)
By Jim Covel, Director of Guest Experience & Interpretation
David and Lucile Packard intended the Monterey Bay Aquarium to be a gift to the community. However, I’m not sure even the Packards would have envisioned the reach and significance of that gift today. The Aquarium recently released a report detailing some of the indicators of our contribution to the community, including:
- Adding over $385 million to the local economy each year
- Educating 2.1-million school children that have visited the Aquarium free of charge over the past 29 years, plus 20,000 teachers that have participated in free professional development workshops to help bring marine science alive in the classroom
- Inviting 700,000 guests to the Aquarium free of charge since 2002 through our annual “Community Week” and special programs with community organizations and local libraries
- Employing over 500 full- and part-time staff members
Animal Rescue and Rehabilitation
Beyond the impact on humans, we could also consider our work with animals, with over more than 650 injured or orphaned sea otters that have come to the Aquarium; or the dozens of hatchling or injured shorebirds and seabirds that have come our way.
These metrics would certainly be one way to describe how extensive this Aquarium gift has become to the community. However, I also see this gift reflected in the smiles, the inquisitive looks on the thousands of faces—young and old alike—that we greet each day. Perhaps the real meaning of the Aquarium is written on those faces. A generation has grown up in the Aquarium and now brings their children to marvel at the marine life that enchanted their parents. Over 52 million visitors know more about the ocean—and care more—by virtue of their exposure to our exhibits and programs.
Volunteers: We Couldn’t Do It Without Them
While the Packard family certainly deserves credit for launching the Aquarium, a multitude of others have contributed to our enduring success. Over 5,000 volunteers have contributed hundreds of thousands of hours over the past 30 years. Over 60,000 member households, along with donors and sponsors at all levels help underwrite our education and conservation programs. Since that original gift in 1984, a growing community has formed to support the Aquarium’s mission to inspire conservation of the oceans. That community of ocean stewards now stretches across multiple generations, and may ultimately be the greatest and most enduring gift of the Monterey Bay Aquarium.
If you are reading this, you are most likely part of that community that connects with the Aquarium. You are part of that gift that David and Lucile Packard set in motion in 1984, and your interest in taking care of our oceans is a gift in itself. Thank you for being a part of our growing success. Thank you for ensuring the Monterey Bay Aquarium remains an enduring gift for future generations.
Ever wonder what things look like from INSIDE the Kelp Forest exhibit? Our divers get a seldom-seen view, including the cool #selfie you see here. Thanks to longtime volunteer Chad King for the great shots!
Were you there? Our teen groups were joined by other enthusiastic volunteers for the 29th Annual Coastal #CleanupDay and collected 260 pounds of trash and 53 pounds of recycling at Casa Verde Beach, and 200 pounds of trash and 175 pounds of recycling in Watsonville. Statewide, 51,000 volunteers collected 51 tons of material. Our beaches thank you!
Do you love to share the Aquarium with family and friends? Become a part of our volunteer family and share your love with new friends from around the world. Attend an informational meeting August 15 at 7 p.m. at the Aquarium.
Goodbye to our 2013 Teen Conservation Leaders
What did you do during your summer vacation? 110 active and ambitious teens participated in our 2013 Teen Conservation Leaders (TCL) program, which wraps this week. The teens worked throughout the Aquarium as visitor guides, as well as mentors to younger teens in other educational programs.
The TCL program emphasizes service learning and youth development, encouraging students to grow in their knowledge of the ocean while learning communication and social skills. As the core of the teen programs at the Aquarium, TCL inspires students to cultivate their love of the ocean and take action on its behalf. The students also gain community service hours, professional skills, self-confidence, and new friends.
As we say goodbye, here’s a glimpse of what they learned this year, in their own words.
— Story and pictures by Emily Long (with help from some Teen Conservation Leaders!)
Meet Virginia Russell: Guide, Diver, Mentor—and Recipient of the Lucile S. Packard Memorial Award
What does it take to be an outstanding volunteer? A lot of heart, a love for our oceans—and about 4,000 hours of service! Meet Virginia Russell of Pacific Grove, recipient of this year’s Lucile S. Packard Memorial Award for outstanding service. She began volunteering in the fall of 2005 and has contributed 4,045 hours as a guide, tour leader, husbandry volunteer, diver and mentor.
“Her smile, warmth, and enthusiasm for the Aquarium and ocean conservation are at the core of every tour that Virginia leads,” said one Aquarium employee. “She truly knows how to make an emotional connection with her audience and inspires them to care for the oceans.”
Virginia has performed many popular Kelp Forest narrations, having learned to present this program from the “wet side” as a volunteer diver. While Russell serves as a mentor herself, she frequently seeks feedback from staff so that her programs are continually connecting to and resonating with guests. Additionally, she is one of the Aquarium’s most active divers, participating on three separate volunteer dive teams and logging over 300 dives during her nearly nine years of service.
“Virginia epitomizes the spirit of the Lucile Packard Award,” says Jim Covel, senior manager of guest experience. “She would be the first to say the smiles on the faces of the guests she works with are the best reward for her efforts.”
Won’t you offer Virginia your congratulations if you see her during your next visit?
Mrs. Packard, along with her husband David Packard, made the initial gift to build the Aquarium. She was the driving force behind creation of the Aquarium’s internationally acclaimed volunteer program. More than 1,200 individuals are currently active volunteers at the Aquarium. Collectively, they donated 13,339 hours every month in 2012, for an annual total of 160,059 hours.