- Helena Kyle
Florida Oceanographic Society
Volunteering Series: Volunteer Your Way to Clean Water
Previously published in the Pineapple Post
By Helena Kyle, Freelance Writer
Written in memory of those who died in the attacks of 9/11/01.
In the aftermath of 9/11, thousands of individuals converged at the sites of the attacks to volunteer their help and good will. At the time, I lived in Washington State; the pastor of our faith congregation flew across the country to help in any way he was able to. In times of crisis, we Americans put aside our differences, pitch in, and do our part to help those in need. Let us continue to do so, no matter the circumstances.
There is no time like the present to prevent the polluting of our waterways from becoming a crisis. I have friends who go on annual mission trips overseas, to install water filtration systems so that the residents of impoverished areas can drink clean water, and bathe in clean water. Can you imagine what your day would be like without clean water to drink, cook with, or bathe in? I have a vivid imagination; therefore, the thought of sea life dying from polluted water, people not having access to clean water, motivates me to become active in the effort to clean our waterways. Motivated to be part of the solution to rid our waterways of pollution? If so, volunteer opportunities abound at the Florida Oceanographic Society.
Rosemary Badger, Volunteer Coordinator, “got hooked” on her career as environmental educator by volunteering. You never know where volunteering will lead you. On the journey to combining her passion with employment, she earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Mathematics, Bachelor’s degree in German Language, and Bachelor of Science in Environmental Education. Yes, Rosemary is one smart woman who knows her stuff! Additionally, she is endearingly friendly and welcoming.
The Florida Oceanographic Society offers a myriad of interesting volunteer opportunities to match with your area of interest. Prefer a solitary environment? The sea grass restoration project offers serenity and solitude. Seasonal, nighttime sea turtle walks may prove calming as well. Do you like a high energy crowd? Young children and school groups visiting the Oceanographic Society have the uncanny ability to express their enthusiasm, overtly.
I met a few dedicated volunteers during a recent visit. Are you interested in guiding exhibit tours? Doug, a volunteer of seven years, thus far, conducts an informative exhibit tour of the native fish residing in one of the outdoor ponds. He enjoys learning and keeping up on current information, and sharing his knowledge with visitors. Monica, a college student studying marine biology, currently interns at the Oceanographic Society; she began volunteering at the age of sixteen as a high school intern. Her sea turtle exhibit tour was fascinating, from under the massive gazebo overlooking the sea turtle habitat, where three enormous sea turtles reside; they are unable to live in their natural environment due to injury from boat propellers. Enjoy retail? Jan enjoyed volunteering in the gift shop for four years – now, she enjoys working in the gift shop as an employee. By the way, the gift shop has much to offer, for the very young, to the young at heart, and for those of us who do not like to shop; I spotted an irresistible cap to purchase while chatting with Jan. The gift shop proceeds go to operation expenses of the Oceanographic Society.
Volunteers interested in water testing, are trained to test/monitor water in selected waterways. Clear communication is foundational to Florida Oceanographic Society’s volunteer training. Volunteers are given orientation, on-the-job training in their respective field of interest by an experienced, mentor volunteer, and updated with current information through the Oceanographic Society’s monthly newsletter for volunteers.
A common theme among volunteers, is the lasting friendships made. They volunteer for various reasons, along with passion to keep the Treasure Coast clean and beautiful. Ready to volunteer your way to clean water? Get set, go!
The Florida Oceanographic Society:
Volunteer Coordinator: 772 225.0505 Ext. 109
www.floridaocean.org (From the website) Florida Oceanographic Society is a non-profit organization founded in 1964 with the mission to inspire environmental stewardship of Florida’s coastal ecosystems through education, research and advocacy.