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Become a Sea Ranger

Do you love the sea, being outside and sharing your ocean-passion with others? If your answer is yes, then our Sea Ranger program is the perfect volunteer opportunity for you.

“Sea Rangers assist staff in the Education Department with a variety of outdoor activities that the Aquarium hosts on a regular basis,” said Aquarium Educator Carl Carranza. “They help us interpret and explain aspects of the Coastal Park to visitors. It’s a truly unique program because volunteers don’t spend time at the Aquarium talking about fish in a tank; instead they are out talking to people about why mudflats are important or chatting with anglers about fish contamination.”

During five weeks of training, new volunteers learn about each habitat in the Coastal Park including the tidepools, salt marsh, beaches and native garden and many of the animals found in each area. Volunteers also learn about issues facing our coastal environment, such as the potential risks of eating fish contaminated with DDT, the need to protect wetland areas for wildlife and the impacts of pollution.

After training is completed, volunteers are asked to help CMA staff by sharing the information they’ve learned with visitors during specific events. The following activities are a few examples:
  • Pier Education and Survey – Talk to anglers on the fishing pier about DDT fish contamination and choices they can make to lower their health risks.
  • Public Tidepool Walks – Help lead visitors on walks of the local tidepools, talk to them about the unique characteristics and adaptations of tidepool animals and answer questions.
  • Native Garden and Beach Clean-Up – Work with Education staff maintaining the native garden and/or help other volunteers pick up trash on the beach.
  • Salt Marsh Open House – Guide and educate visitors about the salt marsh and wetlands by pointing out native plants and wildlife and explaining how their health and well-being is intertwined with the local community.
“Volunteers also have the chance to be citizen scientists and collect data,” said Carranza. “Birds spotted at the Salt Marsh Open House are noted and then entered on the internet to track local sightings. Sea Rangers also help collect data for an ongoing research project about sand crabs along Southern California’s shore.”

The program accepts volunteers in 5th grade through adults who are willing to donate six hours a month of their time. However, according to Carranza, the amount of time is a bit flexible. “My preference is for volunteers to try as many of the different activities as they can and then come to the ones that they really enjoy doing and sharing.”

Sea Rangers are essentially Aquarium ambassadors protecting the environment by helping people understand more about the ocean, our effects on the ocean and the animals that live in the ocean. If you are interested in becoming a Sea Ranger, please check our calendar for the next training session; trainings typically start in April and September each year.

Post Date: Friday, June 14, 2013

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