“Volunteers are seldom paid, not because they are worthless, but because they are priceless.” – Anon
The volunteers of the Marine Discovery Center are the backbone of our organization. Their enthusiasm and energy helps keep us focused and motivated. If you would like to join this friendly team, please review the Volunteer Opportunities and Checklist that follow and attend our next Volunteer Orientation and Training Session (see calendar of events page). For more details contact our Volunteer Coordinator: Traci Gardellis – firstname.lastname@example.org
Welcome Desk Volunteers
If you like working with the general public, this is the place for you! Duties include greeting arriving visitors, answering phones, booking passengers on our boat and kayak Eco tours, answering general questions about the Marine Discovery Center, and assisting visitors in our gift shop. Only basic computer skills are needed. Job shadowing and training provided. For those volunteers who are also interested in acting as docents, cross-training will be provided. Our volunteers commit to 4-hour shifts one day per week. Office is open 7 days a week.
If you love the creatures in our tanks, perhaps you’d enjoy sharing information about them with our visitors! Our docents introduce guests to the tanks and other displays in our exhibit area as well as assist guests in handling animals in our touch tanks. Docents may also take guests on short tours of the facility and discuss MDC’s history, mission, and goals. Docents are needed the hour before and after our boat tours depart; generally a 2 hour shift. Training and information will be provided. Additional training in exhibit maintenance can be provided if desired.
Marine Discovery Outreach Team
If you can’t commit to a regular schedule, our Outreach volunteer team might work better for you. MDC is often invited to participate as in special events taking place in our community – volunteers act as environmental ambassadors for MDC. All outreach materials will be provided. Volunteers usually work half-day shifts in teams of 2-4. Many of these events occur over weekends. You are given advance notice of upcoming events by email and then select the assignment that suits your schedule. You are not expected to attend every event. Training is provided. Much help is needed in this area.
Education Department Volunteers
Do you enjoy working with children and adults and sharing your knowledge of nature? We provide Marine Science learning opportunities for over 4000 students and adults each year. These programs require a team of dedicated staff and volunteers especially during the spring and summer months. Volunteers assist with setting up and delivering our Hands On/Feet Wet educational programs, which take place at various Marine Discovery Center facilities including the lab, classroom, boat, dock or kayaks. The Marine Discovery Center is serving as a Wild Outdoor Hub as part of the Florida Youth Conservation Centers Network. Adult volunteers are needed to educate and assist youth with outdoor recreational programs.
Fund Raising Event Volunteers
If you can only volunteer a few times a year this may be of interest to you. During the year MDC hosts several fund raising events & assists at others when the proceeds are earmarked for us. A lot of advance planning is involved and on the day of the event we need an energetic team of helpers willing to turn their hand to anything that needs doing.
Kayak Tour Sweeps
Are you an experienced Kayaker who could help us occasionally? Our guided kayak tours go out several times a week led by a Florida Master Naturalist guide. Groups are usually limited to 12 people and if the trips are full we need the help of volunteer sweeps to assist the tour guide in keeping the group together. Kayaking experience is required and the need for a volunteer sweep can usually be established the day before the trip.
Marketing & Brochure Distribution
Would you like to help but want to set your own schedule? With only a small number of full time employees, we always need help to get the word out about our services. Volunteers help by distributing our brochures to local businesses, condominiums, etc. We will provide a list of locations and materials. Schedule this for a few hours a week at your convenience.
Facility Maintenance (PHYSICAL PLANT)
We need volunteers to help us maintain our buildings, aquaria, and grounds, such as painting, gardening, cleaning tanks, janitorial duties, carpentry, etc. We are also going to need help with trail maintenance and landscaping. At the boat dock area (former MDC site), help is needed to keep the area tidy and free of refuse, especially on the dock itself and around the Chikee hut area. The Discovery boat and kayak fleet also need cleaning, maintenance and repair.
Volunteers are needed to clean, feed and maintain our live exhibits.These are located in our foyer, classroom and lab. Schedule this according to your availability. Generally 2 hours per week.
Do you like to be outdoors and get involved in hands-on projects? Our oyster recycling and restoration program, Shuck and Share, needs volunteers to help with lots of different jobs! In addition, there are occasional opportunities for other lagoon habitat restoration projects, species surveys, citizen-scientist programs, planting, and development of our site, including trail building and maintenance.
Checklist for Marine Discovery Center Volunteers
In order to become a Marine Discovery Center volunteer, the following items need to be completed:
1. Attend one of the Volunteer Orientation and Training sessions – 1st Wednesday of every month at 3:30 pm
2. Complete an MDC Volunteer application. DOWNLOAD APPLICATION
3. Complete a Child abuse and Workplace Sexual Harassment Agreement. DOWNLOAD AGREEMENT
4. Age 18 and older: Purchase and complete a Criminal Background Check for $17.50 DOWNLOAD BACKGROUND CHECK 5. Under 18: Submit a letter of recommendation from a teacher, employer, or other supervisor