National Aquarium volunteers demonstrated their passion for ocean conservation in 2015 by donating 121,677 hours to the institution. The hours came from more than 960 volunteers, ranging from docents and divers to field volunteers, interns and high school students, and represent a $3.2 million workplace value, the equivalent to approximately 60 fulltime paid positions.
The Aquarium volunteers represent a wide range of experience, skills and backgrounds including aquarists, divers, lab assistants, clinical veterinarians and more. The volunteers do everything from assisting at the information desk and diving in the Blacktip Reef exhibit to participating in grass plantings and animal rescues, and they vary as much as their job descriptions. The majority of the volunteers are from Baltimore County and Baltimore City and the surrounding counties, but some traveled from as far as California, Pennsylvania, Ohio and Texas.
“It is incredible what our team of devoted volunteers has accomplished this year and every year,” said Jeff Walstrum, manager of volunteer services at National Aquarium. “The National Aquarium would cease to exist without their hard work. They are a big part of the Aquarium family.”
Volunteer highlights from 2015 include:
- The Summer Student Program expanded to a year-round experience for National Aquarium high-schoolers: 82 students contributed 8,284 hours during the summer months and 78 students from years past continued their service of 4,942 hours for the rest of the year.
- The AquaService Volunteer Program provided Animal Health Department with four volunteers who spent 135 hours creating a scanned document archive of 20 years of pathology reports.
- The ACT! Volunteer Leadership Team supervised close to 1,300 community and corporate volunteers at multiple field events in at least seven field locations.