What's the best thing about volunteering at the Seattle Aquarium?

What's the best thing about volunteering at the Seattle Aquarium?


As part of National Volunteer Appreciation Week, April 6–12, we’re sharing thoughts from some of the volunteers who participated in a recent internal survey about their volunteer experience. Below, find some of our favorite responses to the question, “What’s your favorite thing about volunteering at the Seattle Aquarium?”

“When I can turn someone's fear of the unknown marine environment into a fun learning experience. And they leave with a more positive outlook towards marine ecosystems which may increase their interest in conserving them.”

“Everything! My volunteer day is my favorite day of the week. The people are friendly and knowledgeable. I get to help put smiles on people's faces when I tell them a neat fact. Most importantly: it's just fun.”

“At the Aquarium every shift gives me a chance to teach a bit. It's wonderful to see children come alive, become excited, and ask better and better questions...until they stump me and I have to find a supervisor or a biologist. Of course feeding the octopus is one of the high points of my month. How many people get to feed an octopus?”

“Seeing the smile of a small child who has just high-fived me through a foot of Plexiglas in the Window on Washington Waters exhibit. My second favorite thing is interacting with the exceptional dive staff, biologists and interpreters. They rock.”

“I really love to see how our guests make personal connections between what they see and learn at the Aquarium and their own experiences—I've had great conversations that have started with a guest asking a question related to something they had seen on a beach walk, or while snorkeling in Hawaii, or from a TV show or movie. When one of our exhibits jogs that memory, it's a great opportunity to talk about conservation, or water quality, or animal protection in a way that's really personal to them. And it can be really enjoyable to talk with interesting people from all over the place.”

“Assignments are meaningful and relevant. There are many types of assignments available to choose from. We are given wide latitude in using our own style and creativity in interacting and interpreting to our visitors. There is ongoing education and training to keep us engaged, challenged, always learning and to keep focused on our mission and consistent with good Aquarium practices. It is exciting to be part of a community of many knowledgeable, interested and enthusiastic volunteers and staff. There is energy there for participating in and promoting the conservation to protect and renew our incredibly beautiful and diverse environment in the Pacific Northwest, and I am proud to be part of it.”

“My favorite thing about volunteering is getting to share information about the wealth of truly amazing animals we have here in the Puget Sound. There is nothing better than turning someone on—child or adult—to the beautiful world under the water right beneath our feet!”

“I love the animals, but I also like sharing what I know with visitors when they have questions. What I hadn't counted on was how much I like being outdoors. This has become so important to me. I work in an office the rest of the week so being outside with the otters and the seals, even if it is just cleaning the windows, is a great benefit. Being able to stop what I'm doing for a moment and look out at the Sound on a sunny day is priceless.”

“When a guest goes, ‘Wait, you mean *it's alive!* that's not a plant?!’ and I can say, ‘Plants are also alive. But yes, the anemone is an animal," and then I get to demonstrate how they move through some interpretive dance. I love that moment where you watch their mind get blown. I love it.”

“My favorite thing about volunteering is helping cultivate an appreciation for the amazing life in our oceans.  Seeing a child discover the animals in the touch tanks for the first time hasn't gotten old after five years, and I don't think it ever will!  Having the kind of impactful conversations with visitors that follow those exchanges makes me feel like I'm working toward a future where the world’s oceans are more valued, and where their health is taken into account. That means a lot to me.”

“I love to learn something new, and every day I go to the Aquarium, whether I am volunteering or just visiting, I learn something I've never learned before.”

Thank you again to our wonderful team of volunteers. Check back tomorrow to read about the impacts of volunteering at the Aquarium. Interested in becoming a Seattle Aquarium volunteer yourself? Visit our website for details.

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