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2019 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Marine Life Studies

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Biological & Life Sciences, Environment, Environmental Education, Marine Science & Oceanography, Technology

Mission: Marine Life Studies is a nonprofit organization committed to protecting our ocean, whales, dolphins, and other marine wildlife. Our mission is to acquire and share knowledge and inspire the next generation of whale, dolphin and ocean conservationists. We acquire knowledge through on-going research, share and utilize that knowledge to encourage conservation, and inspire the public, especially children, with our education programs.

Target demographics: inspiring the public to protect our ocean, whales and dolphins through research, education and conservation.

Geographic areas served: the Monterey Bay area including Monterey and Santa Cruz Counties

Programs: Take It To The Streets trash cleanups, Research Scientist training program, Whale Entanglement Team (WET)® providing whale disentanglement education and training

Community Stories

73 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Connie S.3

Volunteer

Rating: 5

In 2013-2015, I had the privilege of volunteering for Marine Life Studies and their Whale Entanglement Team (WET). In my opinion, this is one, of only a few organizations, that really are doing something to protect the whales and marine wildlife. The organization, is an NGO, and the money they collect from donations goes right back into research and saving whales from deadly entanglements. It was truly an honor to be a part of this organization. Bravo to Peggy Stap and her team!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Since I started volunteering with MLS, I have continued to love it more and more. Peggy is someone who has contagious enthusiasm and seems to love bringing people into the fold, finding their skillset, and allowing those skills to be developed. Marine Life Studies provides a unique opportunity for people without a marine biology degree to directly contribute the the study and protection of marine mammals. A day out on the water with MLS looking for whales is a day well spent, and might just make you consider a career change.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Another volunteer characterized working with MLS as the most selfish volunteering she's ever done. I have to agree wholeheartedly! Having the opportunity to work with Peggy and Stephanie is truly a privilege as they share their experience and knowledge effortlessly so that volunteering means constant learning and inclusion in the MLS mission.
I have rarely done volunteer work that has changed my perspective and increased my appreciation for our impact on the environment more that working with MLS has. I can't wait to get back out and volunteer again (and again, and again) with MLS in 2019 and beyond.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I was introduced to Marine Life Studies through a colleague at work, and found them to be one of the most impressive and humble non-profit organisations that I've ever had the chance to interact with. Their work is both important and meaningful, and they are driven by safety and excellence.

I highly recommend them!

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have spent my work career helping people as a mediator, social worker and upon retiring I wanted to find something else that touches my spirit. I have had the good fortune to volunteer with Marine Life Studies. Peggy and Stephanie...their passion for the planet's wellness is inspirational. Volunteering with them gives me hope for my grandchildren's future.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I've always loved Monterey Bay and its denizens and started being a regular on whale-watching trips. Finally, the captain of the whale-watching boat said to me, "You need to call Peggy Stap and volunteer with Marine Life Studies."

So I did!

I started volunteering a few months ago and I've loved every minute I've been on the water with Peggy, Stephanie, Whale-Spotter Whiskey the dog, and all of the volunteers I've met. I've learned how to record data of our sightings and even learned some boating skills. Probably the best thing, though, is sitting by Peggy and soaking up her knowledge of the humpback whales, Orca, and other mammals we study in the Bay.

Peggy and Stephanie are both great teachers and they make volunteering with MLS both educational and super fun. I can't wait to go out again!

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My experience with Marine Life Studies was beyond my expectations - it was filled with enthusiast volunteers, a friendly and education atmosphere, and best of all...the opportunity to save WHALES. I felt very safe while aboard and left with the desire to return for another volunteer shift. I highly recommend the MLS non-profit as a great way to give your time. You walk inspired and give our sea creatures a fighting chance, a real win-win!

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Marine Life Studies is an amazing organization. Running on a shoestring, MLS is able to provide ongoing dedicated services to marine life, especially whales. The operation of the group is top notch, and they are nothing but truly inspirational with regards to their knowledge, expertise and passion. Peggy and Stephanie are true "citizen scientists" and are able to clearly communicate their commitment and passion to their volunteers, thus inspiring many others to get involved with this essential operation. They are an example of the best of the best when it comes to non-profits.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I had an amazing trip with the Marine Life Studies group. First of all, the crew was fantastic. They helped onboard a team of us who knew almost nothing, but quickly gave us a fun educational orientation. The boat was also great. I love how there were so many ways to pitch in and help this worthy cause. I'm an amateur photographer, and I love that I was able to lend those skills to help save the whales. On top of that, we had incredible close encounters with dolphins, whales, and even orcas! We also went out of our way to help pick up florating trash, doing our best to leave the place better than how we found it. I highly recommend everybody take a trip out with the Marine Life Studies group, of course so you can save entangled whales and help document and clean up our oceans, but also so you can see our amazing sea life!

1 Susan K.3

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Working with Marine Life Studies (MLS) was truly a transformative experience. I had the opportunity to intern at MLS over the month of June and July; during my time with them, not only did I discover a passion for the marine life, I made some incredible friends. Working with Peggy and Stephanie was a lot of fun, they are both warm and welcoming but most importantly, they are great leaders. They are dedicated towards the work they do and are constantly looking for ways to improve their work.

MLS is also one of the fastest whale entanglement responders in the Monterey Bay National Marine Life Sanctuary. I was lucky enough to participate in one of their Whale Disentanglement Trainings. MLS’s WET team consists of a highly trained group of individuals devoted towards the conservation of marine life. In addition to the training, I was also part of their awareness program in collaboration with the Boys and Girls club. Peggy and Stephanie created a very unique and informational program to keep the children interested and excited about the marine life. They introduced some hands on activities, which the kids enjoyed a lot and capped it off with an actual whale watch!

The organization is supported by an inspirational group of volunteers. It was amazing to hear all the stories they had to share from their experiences! MLS is a true advocate for the environment encouraging everyone to do the same. Being out in the ocean with whales and dolphins was definitely a humbling experience. I learned so much from the short period of time I spent with them and would work for them anytime. I would highly recommend anyone visiting or living in the area to get involved with the organization.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Marine Life Studies is full of inspirational and passionate people, dedicated to saving the future of the oceans! I volunteered as an intern here, and I learnt more in 1 month with Marine Life Studies than I have in a year at an aquarium! Nothing can replace learning hands-on in the field. This non-profit organisation dedicate their time to training individuals to the best of their ability. I learnt so much in a short space of time and can’t thank the team enough for it. The effort that Marine Life Studies put in daily with the Whale Entanglement Team (WET) and the boat surveys, is second to none. Great people and great enthusiasm for the ocean. Love and gratitude.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have only been with Marine Life Studies for a few months this year, but it has been an incredible experience thus far. The rotating crew is always willing to teach me anything I need to learn whether its out on the boat, tabling an event, entering data, etc. The fearless leader, Peggy Stap, welcomed me with open arms (literally) and is always eager to let me experience as many roles as I can to get as much out of my experience with research and data as I possibly can. Being out on the boat participating in data collection and research has by far been the most rewarding part of my experiences thus far, and I am looking forward to continuing to help Marine Life Studies in all their education and research in the future. This is an amazing organization full of great people!

Melissa E V.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Volunteering with Peggy and team is one of the most selfish things I've ever done. She brings her joy of marine life to every volunteer - empowering, educating, and welcoming every person to the teams she assembles for each research and disentanglement outing. She's an inclusive leader who sees the talents of everyone she meets.

Peggy's loving and approachable nature make volunteering fun, but what makes her really special is how adept she is at building teams and empowering them to not only act, but to empower others. Peggy is a leader in the truest sense of the word.

As someone who works in tech, I'm in awe of Peggy's fearlessness in implementing and using technology to its fullest in order to achieve the objectives of her organization. She's open to new ideas, and demonstrates a comfort with leading through ambiguity that is a model anyone can learn from.

The work Marine Life Studies and the Whale Entanglement Team under Peggy's leadership is doing today will save animals in the present, and will inform our interactions with marine life for generations to come. 

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have volunteered for this organization for a few years now. I enjoy going out on the research vessel for their research boat surveys in the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. I've been fortunate to witness and help out when there was an entangled whale response. It's great to know and be part of a group of people that are trying to protect the animals that inhabit the Bay where I live.

1 Yesenia O.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I started volunteering with Marine Life Studies in September of 2017. It has been such an amazing and humbling experience since I've started! I love that everybody on this team is dedicated to preserving our ocean and the marine wildlife within it. Through MLS, I have met many inspiring individuals who share the same passion for the ocean. I feel proud to be a part of this team! This organization is truly amazing

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I started volunteering with Marine Life Studies in September 2017 as a marine biology student and this organization not only provided me with amazing hands on experience, but also the opportunity to meet so many inspiring individuals with the same passion for ocean stewardship. Everyone at MLS shares a love for ocean conservation and strives to share their knowledge with the public, as well as do critical research on local ecosystem health. I loved my time with Peggy and the rest of the crew and would recommend getting involved with this organization (and their mission) to anyone.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

After a lifetime of ocean oriented activities I was inspired by an article I read about Marine life Studies and their Whale Entanglement Team and was fortunate to to be able to meet Peggy and other volunteers at Whalefest 2016. I have been a volunteer since that time and It continues to be a great and rewarding experience. Whether identifying different marine mammals for a national data base, helping to locate and rescue whales entangled in fishing gear, plucking floating Mylar balloons from the bay or scraping barnacles off the bottom of the boat in dry dock, the dedication and commitment to excellence I have witnessed from Peggy and the other volunteers is awesome. There is more marine life concentrated in the Monterey Bay than in any other location that I can think of. Marine Life Studies is doing important work and I am proud to volunteer with them.
Tim

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My interest in marine studies led me to volunteer with Marine Life Studies in September of 2016. My contributions have included many activities; boat maintenance, data recording, photography, marine mammal disentanglement training, helmsman duties, dinghy operation, drone pilot certification, and helping with a couple of PR events. I have learned a lot. Peggy, her staff and volunteers are very knowledgeable, experts really in marine mammals and birds. The entire organization is great, low key and very helpful to all participants. I have never had a bad day on the water with Marine Life Studies.
I have found the organization to be responsible both to the environment and to the animals we are researching. Most of my time has been spent as crew on survey trips into Monterey bay. We locate and document marine mammal activity, mostly dolphins and whales.
Marine Life Studies appears to be effectively and efficiently run. The staff work hard not only on the research but on the other duties required for the organization to function. They have been straight forward in fund raising and the use of their resources. They are really committed to being as effective as possible.
It has been a pleasure to be involved with Marine Life Studies. Hopefully my small contribution is helping their conversation efforts.

Keith

1 Rosie C.1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been volunteering with Marine Life Studies since September 2017. I have been out on several boat surveys and recently volunteered at Whalefest in Monterey. I am always impressed with how dedicated everyone is to the organization, most of whom don't take home any paycheck. Everyone there is driven by a passion for their work on the water, and protecting our local marine wildlife. It's an amazing group of people doing crucial work on the bay. I'm proud to be a part of the effort!

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been working with Marine Life Studies for the last few years, doing the "Take it to the Streets" program. I am so impressed with the passion and determination of the group and their work- especially with the Whale Entanglement Team! Peggy and her team are helpful and professional and I look forward to working with them in the future!