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Youth Volunteer Jackson Cooney Receives Heart of Marin Award

The Marine Mammal Center youth volunteer is recognized for outstanding service to his community

January 23, 2014

Sunday Night Crew supervisor Karen Bosko with award recipient Jackson Cooney.
© The Marine Mammal Center


Jackson Cooney, one of The Marine Mammal Center’s youth volunteers, was honored this month by the Center for Volunteer and Nonprofit Leadership during their annual Heart of Marin Awards program. The Redwood High School senior was one of five students to receive the Youth Volunteer of the Year award, a $1,000 prize recognizing a youth's work serving a Marin nonprofit.

Jackson, who has an interest in exploring veterinary medicine, was nominated by his family and his Sunday night animal care crew supervisor, Karen Bosko. Among the other nominees was Jake Trusheim, a youth volunteer who works on The Marine Mammal Center Sunday morning animal care crew.

Like many of The Marine Mammal Center’s animal care crew volunteers, Jackson works long hours scrubbing sea lion pens, washing dirty dishes and tube-feeding malnourished animals. Despite a rigorous schedule of academics, athletics and work, he rarely misses his Sunday night shift.

Volunteering on a night crew at The Marine Mammal Center can be incredibly challenging. These volunteers work outdoors with limited lighting in small enclosures with sick, wild and sometimes unpredictable animals. During pupping season from March through June, one cycle of feeding can take two to three hours without a break. And this busy time of year also falls during some of the wettest months in the Bay Area.

“Jackson is always the first to go out in the pouring rain to get the dirty work done,” Bosko says. “With rain falling off his nose, he always has a smile on his face, and I know he truly enjoys what we do for the animals.”

Jackson’s commitment reflects the spirit of the volunteer community at The Marine Mammal Center, and our work would not be possible without dedicated volunteers like him. Last year, nearly 1,100 volunteers ranging in age from 15 to 96 donated more than 120,000 hours of service. They helped us rescue and rehabilitate sick and injured marine mammals, educate the public about conservation and so much more.

Want to get involved? Learn more about volunteer opportunities at The Marine Mammal Center.



Find out more about: Youth Crew

Learn how you can: Get Involved Help Marine Mammals!


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