MaST Center provides opportunities
By Kaite Cummings - Staff Reporter
Volunteers are a very big part of Highline's Marine Science and Technology Center.
They are involved in a variety of projects and activities. The MaST Center provides many volunteer opportunities, such as different research teams or counselors for summer camp.
Currently, the MaST Center has 143 volunteers who are involved with a number of teams, such as the Jelly Team, the Nudibranch Team, and the Marine Mammal Stranding Team.
"There is some crossover so a few volunteers are included in more than one team," said Katy Kachmarik, an AmeriCorps volunteer with the MaST Center.
These teams are responsible for observing marine animals and recording data, as well as going out into the Puget Sound and collecting more specimens. They are also involved in providing information about their findings to the community.
People in the community can get information about marine animals through presentations, workshops, and dissections provided by the MaST Center and its volunteers.
Volunteers are able to educate the community and gain their own experience by getting involved, Kachmarik said.
"They love having new experiences that they otherwise might not get to have and learning new facts about Puget Sound or the animals that live there," she said.
Volunteering has many benefits.
"I have had many opportunities to learn new information and skills that are not directly associated with my career path, but nonetheless are important to know and teach others," Kachmarik said. "Volunteering allows me to teach my community about the marine environment, the threats that it faces, and the choices we can make every day to protect it."
By getting involved, you can learn so many things about this community and how to make a difference in it.
You do not need any experience with marine science in order to volunteer.
If you are interested in marine life or you like working with people and animals, then volunteering at the MaST Center is a great fit.
You must be 14 or older to become a volunteer, or you must have a parent or guardian present for children from 10 to 13.
All volunteers must attend an orientation that introduce participants to different stations and opportunities. After the orientation, volunteers fill out paperwork and sign into the online scheduling program.
New volunteers are required to participate in at least two job shadow shifts to better understand the procedures and activities of a volunteer.
Once all the steps have been completed, participants are now formal volunteers, and will be scheduled through the online program.
If you are unable to spare the time to volunteer, the MaST Center is always looking for donations in order to maintain the facility and provide more opportunities for students, staff, and volunteers.
To get more information about volunteering or about donating to the MaST Center, go to mast.highline.edu and see how you can get involved.