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 (scroll down for details). You must be at least 13 to volunteer.
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 tours, answering general questions about MDC, and assisting visitors in our gift shop. Only basic computer skills are needed. Our volunteers commit to 4-hour shifts one day per 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. Regular trainings will help you learn all you need!
Do you enjoy working with children and adults and sharing your knowledge of nature? We provide 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 MDC facilities including the lab, classroom, boat, dock or kayaks.
Restoration & Citizen Science
Do you like to be outdoors and get involved in hands-on projects? Our oyster recycling and restoration program needs volunteers to help with lots of different jobs! In addition, there are many opportunities for citizen science including wildlife and plant surveys, water quality testing, microplastics testing, and more. (learn more …)
Outreach & Fund Raising Events
Outreach volunteers act as environmental ambassadors for MDC at community events. Volunteers usually work half-day shifts in teams of 2-4. Many of these events occur over weekends. During the year, MDC also hosts several fund-raising events. 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? We have daily guided kayak tours that 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. Sweeps must be at least 16 years old. This area rarely has openings as it is a popular area with limited need.
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 a few hours a week at your convenience.
Maintenance and Live Exhibits
We need volunteers to help us maintain our buildings, aquaria, vessels, and grounds with duties such as painting, gardening, cleaning tanks, janitorial duties, carpentry, etc. Volunteers are also needed to clean, feed and maintain our live exhibits. These are located in our foyer, classroom and lab. Schedule this according to your availability.
We often have a variety of internships available to college students (and occasionally high school students). Please visit our Jobs and Internships Page for more information.
Checklist for Marine Discovery Center Volunteers
In order to become a Marine Discovery Center volunteer, the following items need to be completed:
- Attend one of the Volunteer Orientation and Training sessions typically held on the 1st Wednesday* of each month from 3:30-4:45 p.m. (dates subject to change – please call us to confirm or visit our online calendar) *Our April orientation has been canceled due to concerns over COVID-19.
- Complete an MDC Volunteer application
- Read and sign our policy against Child abuse and Workplace Sexual Harrassment
- Age 18 and over: Purchase and complete a Criminal Background Check for $17.50
- Under 18: Submit a letter of recommendation from a teacher, employer, or other supervisor
For more details contact our Volunteer Coordinator, Traci Trusler: email@example.com
"To protect and restore the Florida coastal and Indian River Lagoon ecosystems
through education, research and community stewardship."