COVID–19 and Volunteering
Due to the continuing concerns of the COVID-19 pandemic and the guidelines for interaction from the University of Florida regarding large groups, we cannot meet in person right now and we have postponed our larger in-person volunteer trainings. However, we still highly depend on our volunteers in many circumstances, such as reporting marine mammals or sea turtles in distress or verifying these reports.
Opportunities for Coastal Residents
Interested in Volunteering with the Marine Animal Rescue Program?
Due to the need of a rapid response and availability at any time we give preference to volunteers who live on the coast and/or spend time on the water. The nature of our program and the time sensitive cases we respond to result in most volunteer opportunities coming in the form of reporting animals in distress, assisting in rescues, and verifying any reports when needed. For these reasons, we rely heavily on our volunteers that live in Levy, Dixie, and Taylor counties and surrounding counties, like Gilchrist, where animals of interest (e.g. manatees) may frequent.
UF Marine Animal Rescue volunteers can participate in outreach events at local festivals or educational presentations and rescue events (these usually have no more than a day’s notice), and serve as reporters of any observed distressed or deceased manatees, dolphins or whales, and sea turtles. Before participating in a rescue event, volunteers must attend an in-person training and sign the Volunteer Waiver.
If you reside in Levy, Dixie, or Taylor counties or a nearby county and would like to inquire further about volunteering with UF MAR, please use the link below. We will inform you of our next trainings and training locations.
Volunteer Requirements: You must be at least 18 years old and able to lift 50 pounds.
Opportunities for Students or Residents of Surrounding Areas
If you are a student or reside outside of Levy, Dixie, or Taylor county and the surrounding areas, but would still like to be active in the mission of UF MAR, we encourage you to sign up for our monthly newsletters here or share news from our Facebook page! This is the best way to stay in touch with us, read up on cases we have worked and/or assisted in, and learn more about the species in our area!
We also do stranding training for interested UF students through the College of Veterinary Medicine Aquatic Animal Health Club and the Wildlife Club.