Volunteer Information

Whitney Docent Program

The Whitney Lab has accepts VOLUNTEERS and INTERNS!

Whitney Lab Volunteers and Interns serve in various departments, but are primarily woven into the following operations:

Spring 14 Docents

1.  The Education Department – helping teach K-6th grade students in our elementary education programs, helping teach summer camp programs for elementary and middle school children, helping represent the lab at off-site outreach or on-site public events, helping lead tours of the lab and/or specific facilities (for example ~ Sea Turtle Hospital), and performing husbandry tasks to care for and maintain animal collections and their housing.  Please see below for more details!


2.  The Sea Turtle Hospital – helping provide daily care for sick and injured turtles (feeding, medicine), animal husbandry (maintaining/cleaning tanks, prepping food, etc.), helping transport turtles between rescue and hospital site, helping rescue turtles from outdoor areas.  Represent turtle hospital at outreach events.  Please visit this link for more information on the turtle program:


Monica Camacho in Osborne Lab

Monica Camacho in Osborne Lab













3.  The Research Lab – helping perform scientific experiments, help prepare and process samples, collect specimens, performing husbandry tasks to care for and maintain animal collections and their housing, etc.  Please visit this link for more information on Whitney Lab’s research:





EDUCATION PROGRAM VOLUNTEER INFORMATION ~ Whitney Laboratory docents are enthusiastic volunteers dedicated to promoting an understanding of science among school children. Docents come from all walks of life and levels of experience and need not have a science or marine-related background.  Docents are used to help increase the number of children reached through education programs far beyond what would otherwise be possible with the very limited staff within the education department.

The PERKS of becoming a Whitney Lab Education Docent:

  • Making a difference in the lives of thousands of children ~ for many this could be the experience that ignites their interest in science and marine life!
  • In-person training and study materials provided on all aspects of program operation
  • Invitation to annual Appreciation Dinner
  • Snacks provided during volunteer shifts and required trainings
  • The opportunity to work alongside people with like interests and develop new friendships
  • Invitation to both local and over-night volunteer field trips
  • Invitation to special education lectures on a variety of marine and scientific topics

Because training is time-consuming and expensive, it is our hope that new members will stay with the program for at least two years.

Education Docents are placed in one of two programs – the Day at Whitney or the Traveling Zoo program.

IMG_2779found at pondIMG_3377

The Day at the Whitney Lab program is geared toward 4th-6th grade students and offers an opportunity for children to practice being a “Scientist for the Day”.  Students learn about some of the marine invertebrate animals used in research, conduct their own snail experiment, study the marine fouling community under the microscopes, and discover the plankton that inhabits local waters!   Docents usually volunteer from 9am – 1pm (exact time frame varies by program).

Learn more and see photos of a typical Day at the Whitney Lab

The Traveling Zoo is designed for students in grades K through 3. Docents transport small marine animals to schools and present programs that permit the youngsters to see, touch, and learn about local marine life.  The children’s enthusiasm and curiosity keep Whitney Docents on their toes and keep them involved in the program for years and years!  Docents usually volunteer from 7:30am – 1:00pm (exact time frame varies by program).

Are you interested in becoming a Whitney Lab VOLUNTEER or INTERN?

Please fill out the 2 REQUIRED FORMS and submit via email to:  angie@whitney.ufl.edu or via mail to:

Whitney Lab    Attention:  Volunteer Coordinator     9505 Ocean Shore Blvd.   St. Augustine, FL  32080

Questions about the forms?  Contact our Volunteer Coordinator at (904) 461-4015

UF Record of Volunteer Service