The Virginia Living Museum relies heavily on its large corps of volunteers and interns, many of which come from local high schools and colleges. In fact, over 40% of VLM employees were once volunteers here as well. Recently we hosted Julia Horigan from Deep Creek High School as part of a shadowing program. Over the course of approximately three weeks she became part of the Aquarium Department team, observing our day to day routine and helping with a variety of tasks which she seemed to enjoy. “Job shadowing at the Virginia Living museum was an amazing experience” Julia wrote in her project summary.
Julia in our Aquarium Quarantine Room 1
Julia releasing some crayfish
Our volunteers and interns become part of our work team and we rely on them to help us run the museum; the more responsible and dedicated they are the more we trust them with. “I was able to feed the sharks several times. This was so much fun!” Julia wrote.
Julia feeding Fred
She also gained some first-hand knowledge about local marine life. “I had no idea that animals such as stingrays and puffer fish could be found in the Bay” – which is one of our goals at the VLM, to educate and inspire locals about appreciating and conserving their environment.
Juvenile striped burrfish ( a type of puffer) are one of many Bay species we display
But anyone that has raised animals of any sort can tell you, there is a lot of work required to keep them happy and healthy. The VLM represents over 200 species of Virginia animals and they all rely on the hard work of the staff, volunteers, and interns, not all of which is fun, just ask Julia: “my least favorite part of job shadowing would probably be having to unload very heavy boxes of salt” – each box is 43 lbs, and she helped move 76 of them!
Julia moving salt
We enjoyed hosting Julia here and hope she goes on to a long career or a life dedicated to helping to conserve the natural gifts we have in this area and have a positive impact on her peers; it’s what we strive to do at the VLM and we need help form all our local citizens – like Julia – to do so.