Volunteers are the key to the National Marine Life Center’s success! Every hour of service is avalued contribution to NMLC’s mission of rehabilitating and releasing stranded marine mammals and sea turtles, advancing science, and educating about marine wildlife health and conservation. There is a volunteer experience for everyone!


  1. Volunteers must fill out a volunteer application and attend a New Volunteer Orientation.
  2. Before proceeding with training and scheduling, volunteers must pay a Volunteer Training Fee of $35.00.
  3. Time requirements vary depending on role.

Roles & Departments

Animal Care (minimum age requirement 18): Joining our Animal Care Team is perfect for people who are interested in learning more about the rehabilitation of sea turtle and seal patients. Assist with the overall care of our marine animal patients, including: cleaning enclosures, preparing feeds, and maintaining our life support system. Assist in routine husbandry procedures including restraining, tube feedings, and wound care. Work alongside our professional staff and gain knowledge about our local marine animals and marine conservation.

Additional Requirements: Must commit to at least six months of service, volunteer at least one shift (typically 4-5 hours or 1/2 day) weekly, and attend two animal care team meetings per year to remain an active volunteer.

Native Turtle Care (minimum age requirement 14): Are you interested in working with animals but are not yet 18 years old? You can still help! Our native turtle care volunteers are responsible for daily husbandry of our Northern Red-Bellied Cooter and Diamondback Terrapin head start animals, and our Eastern Box Turtle ambassador animals. Responsibilities include cleaning, feeding, record keeping.

Additional Requirements: Must commit to at least six months of service and volunteer at least one shift (typically 1-2 hours) weekly to remain an active volunteer.

Administrative (minimum age requirement 18): Are you interested in helping our mission and looking for non-profit and/or administrative experience? We are looking for office help to assist with projects like updating our donor database, donor relations, filing, answering the phone, inputting data, and helping to maintain our gift shop. Some tasks may include assisting with event organization and fundraising.

Additional Requirements: Must commit to at least six months of service and volunteer at least one shift (minimum of 2 hours) weekly.

Education (minimum age requirement 14): Do you love teaching and sharing information about marine animals and ocean conservation? We are always looking for volunteers who are passionate about leaving an environmental and conservation impact on our current and future generations. We are looking for volunteers to help with onsite and offsite educational programs. Offsite programs could include school visits, fairs, and festivals. Our busiest time of year comes during the summer and school vacation weeks, so this is when most help is needed. During the rest of the year, volunteers may be tasked with creating and updating educational programs for the busy seasons.

Additional Requirements: Must commit to at least six months of service and volunteer at least one shift a week. Hourly commitments will vary depending on time of year and what kind of help is needed.

Facilities: Facilities Volunteers are the unsung heroes of the National Marine Life Center, helping to keep our operations running smoothly. From helping with yard work like weeding and landscaping, to shoveling snow, to helping maintain our physical plant and life support system, to any number of special projects, these Jacks and Jills of all trade are indispensable! Other tasks may include weekly chores and cleaning.

Additional Requirements: Commit to at least six months of service and prefer at least one shift per week to consistently maintain buildings and grounds. Age requirements vary based on task and volunteer’s interest.

Fundraising (minimum age requirement 18): If you are interested in helping us raise much-needed funds to continue to carry out our mission, we are always in need of fundraising volunteers. We plan several in-person and virtual events each year. These require a lot of organizing, planning, and outreach prior to the event. We also need volunteers present at each event to run smoothly. Other tasks may include helping us with grant writing, gift processing, and other fundraising.

Additional Requirements: Must commit to at least six months of service. One shift per week is preferred and hours will vary depending on workload. Staff will coordinate with volunteers based on need.

We are also open to having groups do independent fundraisers on our behalf – if you would like to do this, please contact staff at nmlc@nmlc.org. There is no age requirement for this.


How to Become a Volunteer

Step 1: Complete a Volunteer Application and email it to volunteer@nmlc.org.

Volunteer Application Form

Applications are accepted all year round.

Step 2: Attend a New Volunteer Orientation, where you can learn more about the National Marine Life Center and our current volunteer opportunities.


Next orientation date: Tuesday May 14th 6-7 pm

Register here:https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZAtd-CprzMsGN2RxiMhM8zSaBB4ZihIjHj5

Step 3: Once orientation is complete, decide on the department you are interested in and contact volunteer@nmlc.org to discuss the next steps. We will work with you to schedule the necessary training sessions for your area of interest.

Step 4: Pay a $35.00 volunteer training fee.

Step 5:
Complete training – including VIRTUAL reading materials with  quizzes and on-site “shadow shift” training.

Step 6: Once you have completed the following steps, it’s time to be added to the volunteer schedule. We ask that volunteers commit to at least six months of service, with minimum hourly requirements depending on your volunteer position.

Note: Our Animal Care Department receives an abundance of applications for a limited number of spaces. Please be patient as we process these applications. Accepted volunteers may be put on a wait-list until a space becomes available.

For more information, contact Leah VanderMeer, Research Lab & Volunteer Coordinator, at 508-743-9888 or volunteer@nmlc.org.