Aquarium Seeks Youth Volunteers

February 10, 2009

Teenagers have fun, earn college credit, work experience and make friends

The Oregon Coast Aquarium is looking for teenagers to join its youth volunteer team. Young people have an opportunity to explore the fascinating world of marine science and share their knowledge as Aquarium interpreters. Youth volunteers spend 24 hours in training learning about marine science, marine animals, and conservation. Successful completion of training can earn young people 3 transferable college credits from the Oregon Coast Community College and high school credit in some high schools as well.

“Getting involved as a youth volunteer is a great way to explore the fascinating marine world and share your curiosity and knowledge with others.” according to Tricia Ratliff, youth programs coordinator for the Aquarium. “Friendships are made as youths volunteer together and work side by side with our staff and adult volunteers. Everyone has fun learning together and some volunteers go on to pursue careers in marine science.”

Volunteer training offers an introduction to marine biology, animal husbandry and the inner workings of the Aquarium. They also study the Aquarium’s marine animal collection as well as the Oregon coast’s natural history. After completing the training, youth volunteers work with the public as interpreters. Volunteers work two 4.5-hour shifts a week during the summer, sharing their knowledge with Aquarium guests. Benefits include educational work experience, references, discounts in the Aquarium gift shop and complimentary passes for every 100 hours of volunteer service. After completing 40 hours of service youth volunteers receive an Aquarium membership.

Ratliff encourages young people who would like to join the youth volunteer team to apply for spring training, coming up in May. Enrollment is open now through March 27th for 13- to 17-year-olds for the four session youth volunteer training course, which runs Saturdays, May 9, 16, 30, and June 6th from 10 am – 4 pm. Applicants need to submit an application packet by March 27th and must attend every training session. Interested youths may pick up an application at the Aquarium, on the web at, by calling 541-867-3474 x 5312, or emailing youth programs coordinator, Tricia Ratliff at for more information.