Thank you for signing up to our email!

Now, before you leave, do you want to make a seal's day?

Volunteer Testimonials

Want to know why our volunteers give second chances? Read what some of our volunteers have to say about their experience.


Matt Thorstensen
Sunday Day Topside Assistant Supervisor, volunteer since 2012

"There's an idea in psychology that true happiness lies in giving our time and energy for something or someone else. I see this in volunteers who couldn't otherwise work with animals, who work at their careers but then spend an extra day of the week working for our patients, and feel satisfied after a successful day of cleaning and feeding. ...

"I see it in myself, where my job is to use genetics to inform conservation, but the software code, lab chemicals and spreadsheets I look at on a day-to-day basis are so abstractly connected to actual wildlife that it's easy to lose sight of how my work helps. ...

"The Center provides a place where I can end a day knowing that a few seals and sea lions are better off because I was around to help. This is a second chance in my week to work for these other creatures and a second chance for fulfillment in my own life."


Dot Norris
Ke Kai Ola Response Volunteer, volunteer since 2014

"When I was middle-aged but still relatively young, I had the opportunity to go to the Australian rainforest to hear the dawn chorus. The rainforest has a diverse habitat and bird population not replicated anywhere in the world. ...

"Every morning the birds within the forest would sing a complicated chorus. It involved the early morning song of birds that foraged insects during the day. Then these songs faded out and the seed-eaters would start. Then the Kookaburras and larger birds followed until the forest resonated with song all around us. ...

"We had to be motionless and made no sounds to experience the chorus. Our guide told us that the birds would stop if there were strange noises. It was important for food and mating purposes that the song continue to the end. The ecology of the forest depended on it. ...

"A few years ago, I returned to the Australian rainforest to see if I could experience the chorus again. I stayed in a hotel within the forest and got up early to listen. The chorus started with the same sequence, but the hotel turned on the fountain leading to the pool which interrupted the song. Eons of adaptation stopped by the flip of a switch. ...

"We don’t know the consequences of our impact on the natural world and not all of them are as obvious as a floating fish net. This is why I volunteer at the Center. I do so because I want the sum of my impacts on this world to culminate in the most diverse world possible."


Tony Salome
Tuesday Crew Supervisor, San Luis Obispo Operations, volunteer since 2015

"When I first started at The Marine Mammal Center, I thought this would be a fun experience, and it certainly has been. I really had no idea just how rewarding it would be. ...

"Volunteering at the Center has put my life in perspective. I always felt fortunate to work in Hollywood. Now that I am volunteering at the Center I consider myself again fortunate to be given the opportunity to be part of an organization making a real difference in protecting the health of our ocean and marine life for future generations."


Natalie Ritter
2017 Youth Crew

"Since I was really little I’ve loved the ocean. Growing up, it was so amazing to read about marine life and read about all of the discoveries being made. But I was getting bored just reading about it. I needed a second point of view, a hands-on experience to rekindle my passion. That is what the Center did for me. I get to work hands-on with animals I’d only ever read about and most importantly, I feel like I’m making a difference."


Wednesday Topside Assistant Supervisor, volunteer since 2010

“I had no idea how much connection I could feel with wild animals, how much they would touch my heart and make me want to do more. The Center has inspired me to get my certification as a cetacean naturalist and volunteer as a Board Member and Presentation Coordinator with the Bay Area chapter of the American Cetacean society. ...

“The Center also renewed my faith in humanity. I am amazed at the amount of people who are so willing to give so much, so selflessly to see wild animals returned to their ocean homes, to learn more about them and their habitats, and to improve methods of rehabilitation that are shared with the world.”


Inspired? Learn more about how to become a volunteer.

Not able to donate your time? Check out other ways to support marine mammals.

COVID Response

Focusing on safety in our core work.

Adopt a Seal

Your symbolic adoption helps our patients thrive.

Our Commitment

Expanding work on social and environmental equity.