Do you have a passion for learning about the
marine environment and want to collaborate with others who have the same interests, and
share your knowledge with children and adults? Then join the University of New Hampshire’s
Marine Docents! Since it began as a modest tour program for
the University’s Jackson Estuarine Lab in 1977, the docent program has grown into a
full-scale marine science education organization with nearly 200 volunteers.
To prepare for your role as a marine docent, you’ll learn local history and marine science
from UNH faculty and staff, as well as other experts in the marine fields. After you complete your docent training, you’ll
decide what aspect of marine education you want to specialize in. Perhaps you’ll team
up with a group of docents and present educational programs in local schools, teach visitors
about ocean wildlife while volunteering at marine education centers, or give visiting
residents tours of the University of New Hampshire’s marine labs. As a docent, you’ll provide a link between
the University’s marine research faculty and the public by promoting the understanding,
wise use and conservation of our coastal resources through educational programs such as Discovery
Cruises, where you’ll test your sea legs while sailing with other docents and the crew of
the University’s research vessel, the Gulf Challenger. You’ll get your hands wet as you
test the waters and educate eager local residents and visitors about what they can do to keep
the bay healthy. You may cruise out to the Isles of Shoals
and hike across Appledore Island while teaching a group of marine enthusiasts about the natural
and cultural history of the nine isles. Or you can cruise into Great Bay, New Hampshire’s
largest estuary, and get a unique view of the N.H. seacoast, while studying water conditions,
and the plants and animals that make Great Bay their home.
Through Coastal Floating Labs, SeaTrek programs and other outreach efforts, you may assist
with teaching marine science to students by engaging them with hands-on activities and
projects in schools and summer camps, as well as adults in community groups and organizations,
and audiences at public events like UNH’s Ocean Discovery Day, and the New Hampshire
Fish and Lobster Festival. Step aboard as a docent this year, and experience
the adventure, collaboration and camaraderie that make UNH marine docents the leaders in
providing marine education for the Granite State region. No prior experience is necessary to volunteer.
All you need is your sense of stewardship for the marine world, a passion for learning,
and a wish to share your discoveries with adults and children – one sea star at a time.