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On a typical, busy summer day, I stand at one of the Save the Bay’s Aquarium’s touch tanks, spitting out facts (did you know that horseshoe crabs have been around since before the dinosaurs?!) and making sure that all children uphold the two-finger touch rule. It’s my job, also, to ensure that they don’t try to take any animals back home (yes, there have been attempts). During my junior year, I became a volunteer here – a place where people of all ages come to learn about and interact with the marine life of Rhode Island.
After the summer season ends, however, things slow down and we’re lucky if we get more than ten visitors an hour. At this point, most volunteers get bored and decide to quit – but not me. This is my favorite time of year at the aquarium. With less people, it is a perfect time to delve deep into the issues of climate change and ocean acidification with the aquarium guests.
One especially slow day, a young boy came into the aquarium with his mother. After showing him around the aquarium, I began my usual speech about excess carbon dioxide in the atmosphere causing global warming and ocean acidification and how we must “help save our earth!” Well, this boy was not satisfied. He began asking question after question after question until we had been talking for over an hour. “What do you mean the ocean has gotten more acidic? How is it affecting all the fish? What can I do to help?” Never before had I seen a young boy so interested in environmental issues and ocean conservation. After the boy left, I knew I had changed not only his life, but the whole world because now there was one more person working to save our planet.
That’s why I love volunteering at the aquarium: I have the opportunity to protect our oceans, to look after our marine life, even the smallest ways.
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