The North Carolina Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores recently honored all its volunteers and singled out several for outstanding contributions to the Aquarium’s education and conservation mission. The awards ceremony
Jan. 19 paid tribute to more than 165 volunteers who lend their time, services and enthusiasm to the Aquarium’s daily operations.
Peggy and Milton Langston of New Bern were honored as the 2011 Volunteers of the Year. The Order of the Octopus, given to a volunteer willing to serve in any capacity where needed, was awarded to Gervase Motes of Newport. Patricia Shuping of Newport earned the Winging It award for her outstanding service to the Winging It: Birds in Flight program. Doug Berry was named Diver of the Year and Jordan Seitter was honored as Rookie Diver of the Year.
Above and Beyond recognitions went to Linda Potts of Swansboro, Cindy Benes of Beaufort, Betsy Randall of Atlantic Beach and Beverly Clapsadl of Morehead City for going above and beyond the call of duty. Dedicated Volunteer Service awards were presented to Karen Naftzger of Emerald Isle, William Donnelly of Atlantic beach, Bruce Caskey of New Bern, Laura Leblanc of Hubert and Beverly Wells of New Bern. The trio of Hubert Bowen and Tom and Ann Lenweaver was cited for a new award, Dive Team of the Year.
Volunteers greet visitors as they enter the Aquarium, provide information and serve as interpreters at exhibits. A small group of volunteers also assists the Aquarium’s Dive Team and helps during Live Dive educational programs.
“Tonight’s awards ceremony reflects the volunteers’ remarkable commitment to excellence and their dedication to the Aquariums’ mission,” said Volunteer Coordinator Chris Carlin. “These volunteers devote a significant portion of their, time, energy and talent to making the Aquarium an exciting learning center, a fun coastal attraction and source of conservation awareness. Volunteers enhance and enliven the Aquarium experience for visitors of all ages. Tonight offers the Aquarium staff an opportunity to say, ‘Thank you, well done!’”
The Aquarium currently has many more volunteer positions open. Volunteers often work at the Skate and Ray Encounters exhibit, the Tidal Touch Pool, Discovery Carts and the popular River Otters exhibit. Experience or knowledge in marine science or education is not required. All volunteers receive training in conservation education, animal handling, marine biology and customer service. The Aquarium Dive Team also is seeking new volunteers. See the Volunteer page of the Aquarium’s website for more information.