Thoughts from a New(ish) Volunteer

by Laurie Cesati | Volunteer

Time flies when you are having fun!  At this time last year, I had just begun my volunteer adventures with SSC. In March 2019, I wrote a blog post sharing my feelings about it.

I am happy to report that I am just as excited about it now as I was then and wanted to share my “year in review” about the activities and events I’ve been able to be a part of. I hope it just might inspire others to join.

February – April: The Calm Before the Storm
Ahhh ….  the quiet calm time of year at SSC when visitors trickle in a few at a time. I was grateful for this as it allowed me time to get my bearings, learn about the inhabitants of the Touch Tank and quietly spend one-on-one time with young excited visitors who were eager to hold and learn about the main attractions in the tank.

May – June: Field Trip Crazy!
I had been warned …. and it was true! SSC comes to life with days filled with school buses delivering students (SO.MANY.STUDENTS.) of all ages from towns in NH, MA and ME. This brought a whole new level of excitement to the center. It was not unusual to have 600-800 students come through SSC on any given day; a tiring but exhilarating shift for sure on those days!

June also brought two great events: World Ocean Day Family Festival and Sippin’ for Seals.
The World Ocean Day Family Festival offered perfect summer weather to host hundreds of visitors. Indoor activities included crafting reusable wax paper snack pouches and outdoors, there was a costumed March for the Ocean parade, tide pooling, face painting and more. The day was filled with food, fun and learning as we celebrated the role the ocean plays in our lives and ways to protect it.

As kind as Mother Nature was to us for World Ocean Day, she could not have been more cruel for Sippin’ for Seals. The show must go on, however, and we persevered through cold storm-force winds and pouring rain! Our guests ate, drank, danced and donated. As a “blinkie seller,” I greeted guests upon arrival. Along with staffer Nikki and volunteers Mary and Meghan, we sold lighted flashing pins that identified participants for a fun game of “Heads-or-Tails” that contributed to the monies raised to support Marine Mammal Rescue’s mission.

July: Movin’ and Groovin’
Thursday evenings at SSC will find hundreds and hundreds of people attending Atlantic Grill Music by the Sea concerts. There’s no better way to spend a summer evening than relaxing seaside and enjoying the sounds of local bands’ musical entertainment. Guests were all smiles those evenings at both my Touch Tank shift and in front of my camera as I captured images at the event.

September: Science Lovers Delight!
BioBlitz! WOW!! From sunrise bird watching to tide pooling, insect nature walk, beach cleanup and squid dissection (just to name a few of the activities offered), there was something for everyone in the family to enjoy. 550 species were identified that day, 90 of which were new to SSC’s list! Photo ops galore for this photographer to document the day.

November: A Day of Remembrance and Learning
School may be closed on Veteran’s Day but it does not mean the learning needs to stop. Dive into Science! is a fun day with STEM marine science activities and programs for all. And in honor of Veteran’s Day, there was free admission to the Center for all active duty and veteran military families. This is another very fulfilling day at SSC.

WHEW!! And here we are in 2020! In true learning and evolving fashion, SSC debuted two new exhibits to kick off the new year. Restoring Reefs and NH Beaches opened to the public on January 25. These exhibits open up whole new areas of learning and volunteer needs to assist and educate our visitors – I look forward to doing more training in these new spots.

This is just a sampling of activities and events that occur throughout the year. There are many more opportunities to volunteer in a variety of ways. If none of what I just described appeals to you, ask another volunteer about what his/her activities entail here and you will likely get a completely different story!

I encourage you to visit SSC’s website for a more complete description of upcoming events in 2020. Or, better yet, reach out to Laura Bahl at [email protected] (our fearless Volunteer Coordinator) to discuss how your skills, talents and interests align with SSC’s needs.

The Seacoast Science Center’s mission is real, it’s sincere and it is welcoming to all. I can’t wait to see what 2020 brings! Hope to see you here!

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