As a child, I grew up in Southern California and remember well my visits to the beaches in the area as well as our school field-trips to (what was then) the Scripps Institute of Oceanography. On the weekends, my best friend and I would spend hours at a time combing the strand for fishing net floats (a very popular decorating item back then!) and picking up interesting sea shells to string into bracelets and necklaces. Because I was born with deformed legs, I often wore heavy shoes and cumbersome braces, and wasn't allowed to swim with the other kids like I wanted to. To help me pass the time, Melissa and I would sit and watch the seals, sea lions and other sea creatures play in the water. After a few years, I outgrew the need for braces...but I never outgrew my love of the ocean.
My life has now returned full circles and due to the advance of a progressive degenerative disease I must once again rely on appliances of various types to help me navigate the world about me. Although I live far from the sea of my youth, I still remember the important lesson I learned from watching the seals at the beach; even though something may appear ungainly and clumsy in one situation, (much like the seals are on the beach), if you put that same creature in a different environment (like the seals in the ocean) then they prove themselves to be beautiful, elegant and powerful creatures.
This lessons I learned from the seals about adapting to one's environment has served me well over the years; and on Giving Tuesday I gave to groups like the Marine Mammal Center, Seal rescue Ireland and the Marine Mammal Stranding Center because I believe that their work helps foster a greater opportunity for children and adults to learn the valuable life lessons that respectful interaction, stewardship and study of our fellow denizens on this planet can impart. Without the work of these three groups (and dozens more like them all over the word) in the coming years we could very well lose the company some of the most charming, charismatic and eloquent ambassadors of the sea there are. Our marine mammal neighbors are priceless; and I give what I can to help their conservators because I believe the lessons we can learn from them are even more so.
Review from #MyGivingStory
Advancing global ocean conservation is more important than ever. And the Marine Mammal Center is literally on the front lines. Having rescued and rehabilitated marine mammals for over 40 years, the center has a wealth of information they share with government and conservation partners. Indeed, their work offers many of us a window into ocean health. After all, sea lions are sentinels of the sea. As world leaders begin to grapple with things like acidification, sea level rise and hypoxia, I hope they rely more on experts like those at the marine mammal center.
Visited the center in July 2016. Staff was friendly and professional. Amazing volunteers were dedicated and very knowledgeable! Thank you for all you do to help these animals.
I really loved volunteering at the Marine Mammal Center. They recently had several staff and policy changes that do not reflect their mission.
It's really a shame.
TMMC Membership 09/22/2016
Thank you for volunteering with The Marine Mammal Center. Because of people like you, we’re able to give thousands of sick and injured marine mammals a second chance at life. We regret that you feel recent staff or policy changes do not reflect our mission. We have always strived to create a safe, respectful and fun place to volunteer, but we’re always looking for ways to improve. If you have any concerns or questions, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will respond. Thank you.
I visited The Marine Mammal Center a year and a half ago. The volunteers were so knowledgeable and friendly with a true passion for the animals. It was inspiring and made me sign up to volunteer too!
The research they do and the information they provide to the public through Marine Mammal Sundays and other outreach programs is truly remarkable.
I am involved in animal care and rescue/response. Being able to help care for injured and ill seals and sea lions is an amazing experience. The best part of all is being a part of helping them go back to their ocean home.
Volunteering at The Marine Mammal Center has been a life changing decision. I'm so proud to be a part of this organization.
TMMC Membership 10/18/2016
Thank you for sharing your story about how you got started volunteering at The Marine Mammal Center. We appreciate your commitment to helping the hundreds of marine mammals who wash up on our shores and so desperately need a second chance at life. As a small token of our gratitude, we made a small video using some of your words. You can view it here: https://www.facebook.com/themarinemammalcenter/ Thank you for all that you do!
I truly believe that the work this organization is doing is an integral and important part of the campaign to save critically endangered marine species. Without their support of Ke Kai Ola (The Monk Seal Hospital), and their tireless efforts on behalf of other at risk marine mammals, we could very well see the extinction of some species within out lifetimes.
In recent months, I have spent hundreds of hours perusing YouTube videos, print articles and scholarly works on the the topic of marine mammal conservation, and from what I have seen, I certainly feel that the staff and volunteers of the Marine Mammal Center (and Ke Kai Ola) are among the best in the field today. As conservators of our ocean resources, they deserve our deepest respect and highest regards for their tireless efforts, dedication and sacrifice. From what I have seen of this organization's work to date, at all levels of management, staff and volunteers their professionalism is exemplary, their compassion endless, and their enthusiasm and drive is inexhaustible.
As donors go, I consider myself to be a very, very small fish in a much larger pool. If I lived in California, I would give my time and talents. As it is, I left my native state long ago and live in a land-locked area with nary an ocean in site. Even at this remove, however, I care deeply about our beaches, oceans and coastline resources (and the animals that live there) and so what limited resources I have I willingly give to The Marine Center because I know that they will use my money wisely and well.
I have been fortunate enough to give back and while I thought I was doing good this opportunity has left me feeling like I'm not the one who gave. 5 stars
I have been a member of the Marine Mammal Center for 25 years. I was inspired by their mission to rescue, rehabilitate and release sick or injured marine mammals. But, it was only as a volunteer for the past five years that I was able to really see what they do. I work in the Harbor Seal hospital, where we care for newborn, orphaned harbor seal pups. They are helpless, unweaned pups who still have their umbilical cords when we rescue them. We tube feed them, teach them how to eat fish and keep them at our facility until they are able to survive on their own. Being able to do this work is such a great honor. The reward of all of this hard work is to see the animals being released, rushing back into the ocean where they belong and knowing that we have given them the care that they need to survive there. It's a good feeling.
I have been a volunteer at TMMC since 2011. The opportunities for volunteers to work closely with wild Pinnipeds is unmatched. I would suggest joining an animal care crew during the slow part of the year, July-November, when the pace of training is more relaxed. This is, by far, the most interesting and challenging volunteer job I have ever experienced.
These guys do great work. Not only rehabilitation, but also with education and research. If you're in the area is free to visit and they have an optional area where you can see them doing necropsy (animal autopsies) to find out why they did and collect samples for research. Just know that their work is seasonal and there is more to see in the spring and early summer than in the fall and winter.
I've helped care for rescued seals and sea lions at Marine Mammal Center for about 8 months now including 3 months spend there on a Veterinary Technician internship. They are wonderful people to work with and do amazing things for the animals under their care. In all aspects they take their responsibility very seriously and go above and beyond by partnering with many scientists to help them with their research whether that research is aimed at learning more about our marine mammal cousins or to trying to figure out or cure human conditions or diseases. They do a great job of educating the public as well and are very open about what goes on there. I highly encourage their support. Also, visiting is free, so stop on by and see what they are doing in person!
Thanks for all your fabulous work! We are delighted to support you!
Proud to be a part of an amazing organization and group of volunteers!
I have visited and supported the marine mammal center since I was a young girl - over three decades! It's been wonderful to see the facility grow and it's one of the most amazing nonprofits that I've been associated with. Their work is exceptional! I wish that I lived closer so that I could volunteer!
I see Marine mammal center volunteers all the time on the beach directly helping sick and injured seals and sea lions here in Monterey and Pacific Grove. It's all direct hands on work. Love watching their animal release videos.
The Marine Mammal Center is an amazing organization! I can see everyone's passion for these animals and I am truly amazed each week. It's my favorite place in the world!
The work done by the Marine Mammal Center forms the foundation of our environmental movement, as our oceans are both indicative of and supportive of the health of our planet.
My daughter did an internship here and then has volunteered for the last 2 years. We had a tour last spring and were amazed at the number of mammals treated at this wonderful facility. So many dedicated volunteers and staff work together to make a difference in these hard times for marine mammals!
The Marine Mammal Center is an exemplary nonprofit, but words do not cover the amount of care they were able to provide over the past year. The amount of stranded sea lions that washed up on beaches along the Pacific coast is staggering, and the work that the MMC accomplished is nothing short of astonishing. Though they were short on manpower and resources, nothing stopped them from making a profound difference during a true crisis. Their work is remarkable and the educational opportunities they provide help raise awareness all across California.
I've been a long-time supporter of the Marine Mammal Center and I've had the pleasure of visiting it once. The good work they do on behalf of CA Bay Area marine mammals is amazing and their voice is much needed on behalf of these wonderful creatures. I highly recommend them as a charitable cause if you love marine mammals like I do.
Truly an amazing group of people dedicated to helping the animals in their care and educating the public.