Comments from fellow Monterey Bay Aquarium Guides

Our shift captain, Lowell Battcher, wrote:
I was curious after our last shift captain’s meeting why the volunteers on our shift continue to participate, so I asked the question… Give me one or two reasons you volunteer at the Aquarium… These were the responses I got back.

I was excited about the Aquarium because I am a school teacher and the mother of four. When I found out that David Packard was going to pay for the whole thing I wanted to pay him back. I have been volunteering for different organizations since I was 17 years old so I thought I could manage one more thing in my schedule. One day at the Aquarium a couple wanted to know if David Packard was ever there. They had a mutual friend and wanted to meet him. I said, "Sometimes I see him walking around. As a matter of fact there he is and he is coming right over to us." He walked right up, introduced himself to me, shook my hand and thanked me for volunteering. I was so flattered. I told him I was there because of his generosity and I thanked him. I introduced him to the people I had been talking to and walked on to my next station. I love to come to the Aquarium because I meet so many nice people from all over the world. I love to learn new things. Wally Bennett made a big impression on me. He encouraged me to do the Kelp Forest narration and tours.

In this stressful, busy world, volunteering at the aquarium is my gift to myself, my sanity- it enables me to relax and enjoy the beauty of the natural world, the friendship of the other guides on shift, and the fun of interacting with an interested public. What a joy to share a hermit crab with an astonished child. What is more relaxing than watching the kelp forest rise and fall at the same pace as our heartbeats? Volunteering at the aquarium is cheaper than a psychiatrist's couch.

  1. Originally: Find single men
  2. I love helping people explore the Monterey Bay and the local area
  3. I enjoy interacting with such a variety of visitors.
  4. I love to harass our shiftmates and Dan.
  5. Parties are a plus

Visitor questions are definitely a great part of the guide experience...like the one from the visitor who wanted to know about real mermaid anatomy and another who asked which species of whale ate Jonah. Let's not forget the "robins" in the aviary. I love that we can always expect the unexpected on any given day and that our visitors are as passionate about the aquarium as we are!

I started volunteering because I love the ocean and its critters. I loved them more when I went to guide class and learned more specifics about the cool critters and the effects of the ocean's currents. I continue as a docent because of three things - the visitor who asked me if sea stars eat human muscles, the "enrichments" where we continue to learn about the ocean and the amazing quality (and sense of humor) of my fellow guides.

I keep on going back because

  1. I love the excitement of interaction with the guides (all of you!), and the public
  2. I learn something new every time I go - and then I go tell everyone else
  3. John goes and I like to go with him 'cause he buys lunch!

Because the fish are awesome! (Especially the sunfish) and the aquarium is the happiest place on earth!

First and foremost, the Aquarium is making a positive difference in how we treat our oceans and environment; especially by the way it presents itself to the visitors. Our visitors can't leave the aquarium without gaining more knowledge about the marine environment and how each one of us can make a difference.

I love our shift and I love doing the Kelp Forest feeding.

  • My wife volunteered me our first day in Monterey 10 years ago.
  • The free root beer
  • While the root beer is still good, the camaraderie, all the natural history I learn, and opportunities to get behind the scenes at the Aquarium and MBARI keep me interested.
  • And those occasional excellent exchanges with visitors where I think I’ve made a connection and may have enlightened someone, and learned something myself in the process.
  1. All my fellow guides!
  2. ...and the great visitors...(like the gentleman I met last shift who is a distant relative of Doc Rickets!)
  3. The opportunity to participate in the activities of a world-class educational facility and make a difference on a global level

I volunteer at the aquarium because I believe in what it stands for and I learn so much from it. If one person can take away something I have told them and start applying it to their lives I'm happy. That's why the OADS [Ocean Action Discovery Station] cart is my favorite station; some people really had no idea and are amazed at what you are telling them. I know that they may just be amazed and never do anything about it, but at least they have that knowledge and aren't left in the dark about the things that are going on in our ocean and our planet. I know that that sounds like a cheesy typical answer but it's true. Plus being a student guide has given me the confidence to talk to strangers and be friendly and have conversation with them. It also kind of helps you to have faith in yourself and the things you know (-: what can i say i love working at the aquarium! (-;

Ocean Quotes: