In animal care, you can volunteer as an animal care volunteer in one of the following positions: animal care assistant, diver, Sea Turtle Care Center™ assistant, horticulture assistant or water quality lab assistant.
All animal care volunteers must be agile and able to lift 50 pounds.
ANIMAL CARE ASSISTANT
Animal care assistants help with the maintenance of the Aquarium’s collection, exhibits, and backup areas, including daily food preparation, feeding animals, cleaning tanks and habitats, inventorying and stocking food supply, animal observation, record-keeping, general maintenance and special projects. They may work in any of the following areas: aquatics (freshwater and saltwater), aviculture, herpetology or mammals. These volunteers work directly with their supervisors. Job descriptions and openings vary. Animal care assistants must:
- Have prior animal care experience (home aquaria, pets, etc.), be willing to get wet and handle fish, shrimp, squid, etc. to be used for food
- Be able to follow recipes and handle insects, be willing to learn more about animal and tank care independently, be able to stand for extended periods of time and be able to keep meticulous records
- Should have an active interest in the animal species of South Carolina
- Complete additional training with husbandry staff, as assigned or as required
- Be able to work at least one, three-hour or four-hour morning shift each week for one year
Divers help with the care of the Great Ocean Tank and other areas, including exhibit cleaning, preparing food, helping feed the animals, maintaining back-up tanks, back-up areas and equipment, interacting with visitors to educate them about the animals and their ecosystems and offering general help as needed. Divers must:
- Have Advanced Open Water SCUBA Certification or the equivalent
- Work well in a team-oriented environment
- Attend a Dive Orientation. 2023 Dive Orientations have not be scheduled. Please check back.
- Complete a dive physical, dive skill evaluation in the pool and swim evaluation in the pool for pre-entry screening (after orientation)
- Be able to work at least 16 hours/month for one year
- Two eight-hour shifts (8 a.m.–4 p.m.) or four four-hour shifts (8 a.m.–12 p.m. or 12 p.m.–4 p.m.)
SEA TURTLE CARE CENTER ASSISTANT
Sea Turtle Care Center assistants help with the care and maintenance of our Sea Turtle Care Center, including the diet preparation for and feeding of our patients, recording daily observations, offering environmental enrichment, assisting with the medical care of patients, keeping detailed records and logbooks, maintaining holding tanks and hospital equipment, helping with general upkeep and assisting in miscellaneous projects. Sea Turtle Care Center assistants must:
- Be able to work independently, demonstrate initiative, be detail-oriented, have good record-keeping skills, be comfortable engaging the general public, have an interest in sea turtles and be conservation-oriented
- Complete additional training with Animal Care staff, as assigned and as required
- Be able to work at least one, four-hour shift each week for one year (same day each week). Shifts are typically 8 a.m.–12 p.m., but volunteers must be willing to work longer and/or flexible hours as needed
Please Note: Sea Turtle Care Center assistant positions are strongly coveted, so there is a lengthy waitlist for openings. Your name will be placed on our waitlist upon request. We do try, however, to fill openings first from our roster of current, active volunteers. When a match there is not possible, then we look to applicants who have not yet volunteered with us. We are unable to determine how long the wait will be. We enjoy strong retention in our Anchor Volunteer Program, especially with our Sea Turtle Care Center assistants, so the wait can vary from a couple of months to several years.
Horticulture assistants help with watering, plant inspections and current projects. They must:
- Be comfortable working in typical gardening situations, including hot, cold, humid and wet conditions, whether on-site or at the nursery.
WATER QUALITY LAB ASSISTANT
Water quality lab assistants help in the testing of the freshwater and saltwater in all aquatic exhibits. They must:
- Be willing to learn about Aquarium systems and individual exhibit testing techniques