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Volunteer applications are accepted January – March and August – October.
Contact: Katie Higgins
Do you have a passion for marine science and desire to share your enthusiasm with others? Marine Extension and Georgia Sea Grant’s service to the community is greatly enhanced by the work of our volunteers. They contribute to our core mission through opportunities in aquarium operations, phytoplankton water quality monitoring, K-12 programming, community outreach and public programs. Our volunteers share a sense of generosity, duty and a love of our coastal ecosystems. In return, we strive to provide community, support and opportunities to participate in a variety of unique experiences which allow for meaningful contribution and life-time learning.
Volunteering with Marine Extension and Georgia Sea Grant is a great opportunity to build and connect with your community, learn new skills, gain experience in marine science or education or mentorship of others. Whether early in your career and looking for experience, just moved to the area and wanting to become involved or enjoying a much-deserved retirement, volunteering with Marine Extension and Georgia Sea Grant has something for you. Your skills and experience, in-turn will lend strength and flexibility to our program.
Available Volunteer Opportunities
There are a range of volunteer opportunities at Marine Extension and Georgia Sea Grant. Volunteers are interviewed and then placed according to their interests and the unit’s needs. As the needs change, other opportunities become available. Training for each area is performed on the job and varies according to need. Please review the list of opportunities currently available to determine your area of interest and then fill in an online application.
Marine Education Center and Aquarium Volunteer
Volunteer opportunities at the Marine Education Center and Aquarium on Skidaway Island are diverse and heavily focused on welcoming students and visiting public, educating them about marine science and inspiring stewardship of our coastal ecosystems. Current opportunities include: Pre-K-4 grade education, aquarium docent, assisting with public programs and outreach events, trail maintenance and bird nest box monitoring.
Trails and Grounds Maintenance at the UGA Skidaway Marine Science Campus
Volunteers assist with grounds and upkeep at the aquarium, along the Jay Wolf Naturel Trail and, on occasion, at the Shellfish Research Lab. Monthly work parties are scheduled for the first Friday of each month and opportunities exist for independent work dates. This team is often involved in preparing and assisting in nest box placement, maintenance and monitoring for the Bird Nest Box Monitoring group in the spring and summer months.
Bird Nest Box Monitoring
This seasonal community science effort focuses on collecting data on cavity nesting birds following protocols established by NestWatch. Volunteers work with marine educators to place, maintain and monitor nesting birds in a small nest box circuit located on the UGA Skidaway Marine Science Campus. Preparation for nesting season begins in February each year and monitoring efforts continue through August.
Phytoplankton Monitoring Network
Our dedicated team of phytoplankton experts have been taking weekly water samples of the Skidaway River since 2003. They are part of a larger citizen science project designed and managed by NOAA’s National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science to monitor for Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs). A second site at the East Brunswick River is also monitored by volunteers at our Brunswick office. Annual training is required to join our PMN volunteers. Recruitment for these opportunities begins in August.
Our EcoScapes native plant demonstration garden is located at the Brunswick office and is managed by the EcoScapes program manager, Keren Giovengo. Volunteering at the garden provides a great opportunity to contribute to your community, the coastal environment, and increase knowledge and skills related to regional native plants and sustainable landscaping best management practices.