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A Day in Brittany’s Life

Education | Volunteering

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Brittany

Or Why a Teen Would Enjoy Volunteering at an Aquarium

Hi everyone! My name is Brittany and I am a volunteer in the Education Department at the Aquarium of the Pacific. Education staff/volunteers are the people who primarily have the most interactions with the guests. We are regularly at the touch labs, the ray pool, shark lagoon…basically anywhere where we can be helpful in answering questions and reminding people to use the “two-finger-touch.” I’m so used to enforcing this rule that when I went to Sea World a few months ago, I was touching the dolphins with two fingers out of habit.

Now, you might be wondering, “Why in the world would this girl want to work at an aquarium…for free?” Well, the answer is quite simple really: I just can’t get enough of anything that has to do with the ocean. I figured this out when I was quite young. The ocean is just so majestic and mysterious. I love it for reasons I can’t even explain, and I believe that volunteering at the Aquarium is a good way to harness my enthusiasm and share it with others.

Another reason that I volunteer at the Aquarium is because I eventually would like to work at Sea World in San Diego as a killer whale trainer. I have dreamed (literally-I often have dreams about orcas/training orcas) of doing this ever since I was around seven. After doing some research, I noticed many resources emphasized that experience working in zoos, aquariums, or shelters is very important. Being an Education Volunteer, I do not yet have the privilege to work with mammals such as the seals, sea lions, otters, or pademelons. However, by just being at the Aquarium, I am getting my foot in the door and have had so many benefits from it. I have been given the opportunity to target feed the bat rays from time to time, and have had a special encounter (thanks to the Husbandry staff) with an otter named Summer, which included feeding and performing a behavior with her. Small steps, but steps nevertheless in the direction of my desired career.

I cannot stress enough how much I love volunteering at the Aquarium of the Pacific. I mean, I’m a teenager and I am at the Aquarium every other Saturday from 9:30 a.m.-6:00 p.m. It’s pretty much the only thing I will get out of bed (without complaint) on a Saturday for. So, in my blog, I will generally be writing about my volunteering experiences at the Aquarium. Sometimes I will talk about what I did during my day, if I got any interesting questions, how great my fellow co-volunteers are, if I learned anything new (which happens just about every time I step foot in the Aquarium), and maybe a few other things I’ll think up randomly.

I am really looking forward to hearing what you all have to say about my blog and reading your comments. I truly hope that I help in answering any questions you may have, and giving you good insight on what it’s like to volunteer at the Aquarium. Take care, and I hope you enjoy!

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Anitza's avatar

Anitza

Friday, August 24, 2007 01:09 PM

Who got you into loving the ocean? I remember it being Jacques Cousteau for most of my generation. As far back as I can remember, he is what opened my heart up to the ocean.

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Brittany

Saturday, August 25, 2007 01:34 PM

Anitza, I don’t really remember there being any one person who got me into loving the ocean as much as I do. As strange as this is going to sound, I would probably have to say that Keiko, the whale who played Willy in Free Willy, was my biggest inspiration. I saw that movie when I was really young and it got me extremely interested in killer whales and I wanted to know more about the ocean. Once I realized that there were other amazing things in the ocean, not just killer whales, I was hooked.

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Darryl

Thursday, August 30, 2007 10:51 AM

Brittany, the Orca is also know as a killer whale.  What makes you interested in an animial with that reputation?

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Brittany

Thursday, August 30, 2007 06:49 PM

Well, Darryl, I know that the name “killer whale” doesn’t really create the most comforting feeling. Their original name was “whale killer” but it was eventually flipped. Orcas are even known to ambush blue whales! See, orcas are just extremelly skilled hunters, which earned them their name. And from what I have studied, there is no record of an orca attacking a human in the wild. I guess orcas have a bad reputation with some people because they are so good at hunting, kind of like sharks have a bad rep too. I’m so used to loving them, I’ve just gotten used to it I guess! :]

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