Guest Post by Rus Higley, MaST Center Manager and Instructor
In 2017, the MaST Center had a record-breaking year with over 19,000 visitors. That represents a 50 percent increase in just one year.
The only way we succeed is with our volunteers who cumulatively donated approximately 9,000 hours of their time. This is equivalent to 4.5 full-time employees. Despite all of their amazingness, however, I’d like to formally identify just two.
Recently, the MaST Center recognized the 2017 Volunteers of the Year, and I’d like to share their awesomeness with you.
Since our volunteer programs have been growing, this is the first year we are recognizing the two distinct areas of volunteerism.
Citizen Scientists are working often behind the scenes with one of our several citizen science projects. These include our Marine Mammal Stranding Team, our Jellyfish Aquaculture Team and our Nudibranch Survey Team.
Discovery Day volunteers are the ones you meet on Saturday and are responsible for cleaning the tanks and working with the public. Learn more about visiting the MaST Center.
Citizen Scientist Volunteer of the Year
April Stout is a member of both the Jelly Team and the Marine Mammal Stranding Team.
She is an extremely dependable volunteer and has trained countless jelly team volunteers and interns. She always goes the extra mile to make sure the jellies look spectacular.
Stout also stepped up as the temporary Stranding Coordinator for August and September, where she answered stranding calls and led volunteer responses.
In 2017, she donated more than 200 hours of service to the MaST Center.
She is a resident of Graham.
I’ll share with you some words of praise from Stout’s supervisors:
“April quickly became my go-to volunteer! She proved that she was not only responsible but also took pride in her work and inspired others to care as well. I looked forward to working with April and finding opportunities for her to shine!” — Katy
“April has proven to be one of the most skilled and dependable Jelly Team members since her return in the spring of 2017. She is always willing to learn more and often goes beyond what is required of her to ensure the jellies always look spectacular.” — Bri
Discover Day Volunteer of the Year
Joseph Clift joined the MaST Center team in 2015. Since then he has volunteered more than 600 hours of service, including over 200 hours in 2017.
He always brings a positive attitude to the MaST Center.
His supervisors often rely on him to lead job shadows and mentor new volunteers.
Clift has also assisted in MaST Center outreach at the Des Moines Farmers Market this past summer. At the market, he shared his knowledge and enthusiasm for the center.
He is a resident of Federal Way.
I’ll share with you some words of praise from Clift’s supervisors:
“Joseph is great — he always comes to the MaST Center with a smile on his face and has such a positive attitude about everything. He’s wonderful with our guests and has all of the MaST Center procedures down to a science. Joseph does a fantastic job of helping to train our new volunteers and I find that I usually learn something new about our marine animals in my conversations with him.” — Adrienne
“Joseph continues to be a great example of a committed volunteer. He has contributed many hours to the MaST Center and to his learning. He was a great asset to our Des Moines Farmers Market display, always engaging with folks at the market, showing enthusiasm for the MaST Center and sharing his knowledge. Joseph continues to learn more about the animals on exhibit, always eager to continue his knowledge and to share it with the MaST Center guests. I always look forward to working with Joseph, and rely on him to lead a job shadow because I know that the new volunteer will be well trained by him.” — Cori
Thank you to both of these incredible volunteers and all the amazing other volunteers that make the MaST Center such a success.
Rus Higley: firstname.lastname@example.org.