Clearwater, Florida -- A love of the water, animals and the law combine to make one very dedicated volunteer. Clearwater Lawyer Linda Griffin "makes a difference" several times a week at Clearwater Marine Aquarium.
"Hey Winter, How ya doing?" Griffin interacts with the dolphins, cleans windows, and is part of the dive and stranding teams.
She said she just enjoys volunteering, "We can do anything from laundry to fish preparation to helping the trainers with gating, anything. I work on three different areas: the dive team which we clean the tanks, marine mammals and the stranding team which goes out and rescues different endangered and hurt species."
And after four years, that interest and passion have only grown. She now dedicates her time and skills at least two days a week, and whenever she gets the call.
And she's not alone.
Mike Hurst with Clearwater Marine Aquarium said, "We have between 700 and 1,000 volunteers. We could not do this without volunteers."
Griffin added, "We have so many volunteers here and every volunteer does a different task. There is no way this organization could last without volunteers, in my opinion. Doing anything here and knowing you're benefiting animals that are injured and sick - it's just a great win - win situation for everybody."
If you are interested in volunteering at Clearwater Marine Aquarium, Michael Atwell explains the interview process:
"When someone contacts the aquarium wanting to volunteer, they first attend an orientation that talks about our mission and then they are given a tour of the faculty to familiarize them with layout. They will then receive a packet of information outlining the areas where volunteers can help out. These areas include education, hospitality, gift shop, the marine mammal care team, turtles and dive teams. When you receive your packet, you are asked to list your top three picks based on your interests. The Dive team has minimum requirements that need to be met to be accepted. They must be a certified diver with a 'card' from the certifying agency, CPR/AED certified and have recorded dives in the past 12 month period. There are two specialty volunteer groups that are based upon your experience with CMA and do require a set period of time that an individual must have been considered an 'active' volunteer - these are the turtle nesting team and the stranding/rescue team."