Our volunteers help us take care of the animals by preparing food, feeding animals, cleaning tanks, and helping our aquarists on other projects. Experience is not necessary – we train our volunteers.
To volunteer, you only need to be interested in marine animals or aquarium operations, willing to get your hands dirty, and available for 3-4 hours one morning or afternoon per week for a period of at least four months.
In the summer we run a program for high school students
who are interested in learning about marine animals or exploring careers in marine science or animal husbandry. The interns spend 30 hours per week with the aquarium staff, helping care for animals, working on special projects, attending seminars and training sessions, serving as naturalists on public collecting walks, and going on field trips to other labs and aquariums.
To be eligible, interns must have finished at least 10th grade and must be at least 16 years old the day the program begins. We do not offer stipends or housing. Details of the program are announced in January or February when a program description and application materials are posted on our website.
Most summers the aquarium is able to host one or more college interns. These internships
are paid positions in the aquarium or in one of the Northeast Fisheries Science Center research laboratories, available on competitive basis to undergraduates.
The aquarium staff does not run school-year programs, but we are open to working with teachers or students who want to establish a school-year intern experience. Students, teachers, or counselors who want to explore a school year experience should contact Academic Programs Director George Liles.
WHSA staff offers guided collecting walks
in local marshes several times a week in summer months. The public may sign up for Collecting Walks in the aquarium lobby.
The aquarium provides a permanent home for seals
that are unable to live in the wild. The current residents are two harbor seals – one female who stranded as a pup in 2002 and one male who is blind due to a shark attack in 2007.
The Wood Hole Fisheries laboratory began displaying seals in the late 1800s, but originally the seals were released at the end of the summer. The aquarium has taken in non-releasable seals as permanent, year-round residents since the mid-1990s.
WHSA helps rescue and rehabilitate sea turtles that are injured or sick as a result of being cold stunned and washing ashore on Cape beaches in the late autumn. These animals are not on display. They spend months in the aquarium’s off-exhibit rehabilitation tanks until they are healthy enough to be returned to the wild – usually in August or September.