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Josie’s Day, Captaining Her Team

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Animal Updates | Fish | Education

Tuesday, August 21, 2007


Being a volunteer at the Aquarium of the Pacific is like owning about 12,500 of some of the world’s most glorious and exotic pets!

Even though working as an Exhibit Interpreter and Day Captain for the Education Department can be exhausting, it is a most enjoyable way to tire out; the hours fly by because the pace often is quite hectic.

As day captain, a job I perform every other month, I create Tuesday volunteer schedules, usually on Mondays.

When I am an exhibit interpreter, I work at a station for 30 minutes at a time and then rush off to staff another spot, trading with fellow volunteers.

During each half-hour period, I explain facts about our animals and some of their interesting behaviors and/or adaptations, regularly telling guests why we ask them to use only two fingers when they touch our animals: nearly everyone has a tendency, though unintentional, of poking with one finger and grabbing with more than two.

When doing gallery interpreting, I really have fun talking to our visitors about some of my favorite animals, too many to list them all.

“Did you know that he used to be a she?” always elicits amazed looks from people, most of whom have never heard of such a thing. These fish include the beautiful California sheephead and the Napoleon wrasse.

Another amazing concept for most – myself included, for that matter—involves our Catch a Wave exhibit. Ocean water doesn’t actually move; instead, it’s only the wave’s energy that moves. You’ll have to come to visit us so I can show you our wave machine, where you can observe this for yourself!

Also loads of fun is the laughter I get when I tell people about fish like the sarcastic fringehead and the Garibaldi (our California State marine fish) and their territorial habits. Guests really get a kick out of learning that these relatively small fish will even try to chase divers away from their homes when they swim too near.

Every day at the Aquarium of the Pacific is filled with great co-workers (volunteers and paid staff) and animal-loving visitors of all ages and backgrounds. Besides our animals, I most enjoy the children, their questions and the way they answer mine when I ask them about things they know – or think they know. I find myself smiling, if not giggling, at their entertaining responses and am always amazed at the extensive knowledge of some.

I also enjoy meeting people visiting from Italy because I get to speak to them in their language, in which I am fluent; while I was born in the United States, I have spoken Italian since childhood.

So, have I convinced any of you animal lovers to volunteer with us? I guarantee you’ll enjoy it!

Josie’s Day, Captaining Her Team
This is not where you can find the California sheephead, but it is where you can find many fish that change from male to female, or vis a versa! It is our "Sex Change Exhibit" in our Tropical Gallery.  | © Photo by Flickr user jonsphotos

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Wednesday, August 22, 2007 11:23 AM

Hi Josie!
  You have absolutely convinced me to join the fun at AoP and I can hardly wait to ‘dive in’ and join you and all the others. I have been very fortunate to have worked at jobs that most people only dream of having and this is yet another of those great jobs where you hate to see your shift end. I am especially impressed with the enthusiasm everyone shows for what they do and look eagerly forward to being a part of the AoP.

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Joan Katz

Thursday, August 23, 2007 04:24 PM

Dear Josie:
Enjoyed reading your first BLOG (as funny as that name may be). You tell it like it is and mirror the enthusiasm that all of us feel as we go through our paces as Education Volunteers. I tell everyone I meet what a fantastic job we have and to come and join us doing what we love to do and meeting all our favorite fish and animals doing what they love to do - some strange -  some wacky - but all beautiful creatures of our great ocean, the Pacific.

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Thursday, August 23, 2007 07:21 PM

Hey, Bill, thanks for your comments!  I’m glad I could convince you to join us, and I’m sure you’re going to be a great addition to our volunteer team at the Aquarium of the Pacific.  You’re certain to find this “job” as wonderful as, if not even better than, the others that you’ve had in your life!  (You can see that by what Joan says in her comments below yours!)

Hi Joan.  I enjoyed reading your comment; it is so nice to have enthusiastic volunteers like you with whom to work!  You’re one of the reasons that I have such a good time when I’m at the Aquarium!  Thanks so much for all you do!

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Elia Mrvos

Thursday, August 23, 2007 07:47 PM

Love the comments of the people working for love.  I think that’s what it is that I feel when I visit the Aquarium:  the positive energy of the volunteers. Their enthusiasm about working with so many magnificent creatures of the sea is contagious; it spills over to us who visit.

Keep it up Josie….the Aquarium is lucky to have you.

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Friday, August 24, 2007 09:27 AM

Elia,I’d say that I’m lucky to have the Aquarium! Yes, the enthusiasm of all my co-volunteers and the employees here is contagious, to be sure! Thanks for your kind words.

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Friday, August 31, 2007 12:41 AM

Zia, I am so proud of you! Everyone, this is my aunt here! Am I not the luckiest girl alive?! hehe.

Your enthusiasm, compassion as well as passion for what you do, volunteering at the Aquarium, really shines through. It only makes individuals like myself appreciate what you do more and more and have so much respect for the person you are. I am so happy to know there are genuine, kind-hearted people out there who are working in the Aquarium to make this world a better place, not just for the beautiful animals in it but also for us. I can’t imagine our precious oceans without the Aquarium of the Pacific and the people who volunteer and work there!

Thank you so much for all of your dedication, passion, and most of all, your empathy!!!

I love you Zia! :)

Increase the Peace!

Chi Chi~*

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Friday, August 31, 2007 09:54 AM

Chiara, as always, you are the sweetest kid! We here at the Aquarium do appreciate people like you, who really care about our enviornment as well as for the animals that live here, so thank you for your caring as well. The staff and volunteers here truly are dedicated, and I’m very fortunate to be able to be a part of this wonderful group! I love you, too, Chi Chi (pronounced kee kee)!

All blogs and comments represent the views of the individual authors and not necessarily those of the Aquarium.

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