Inland Seas holds volunteer instructor training

From staff reports

Inland Seas Education Association (ISEA) will begin its 2019 Volunteer Training on Wednesday, April 3 from 5:30-7:30 pm at NMC’s Freshwater Studies Building, Room 112, 715 E Front St, Traverse City. The training is open to new as well as returning volunteers who want to brush up on their skills. An overview of volunteer instructor opportunities, the weather station, the secchi disk, and teaching techniques will be covered during this session. No experience is necessary to become a volunteer instructor.

Beginning in May, students in 4th–12th-grade board tall ship schooners to participate in a Schoolship program, a 3.5-hour hands-on Great Lakes ecology experience, designed to promote stewardship of the Great Lakes. ISEA volunteer instructors assist students as they rotate through stations, learning about plankton, benthos, fish, water chemistry, microplastics, and seamanship. They also share information about Inland Seas with participants. During the summer, volunteer instructors provide the same service for programs open to the public.

Additional Schoolship station trainings will take place during the following three weeks. The April 10 training will cover benthos and seamanship stations. Water quality and fish stations will be covered on April 17, and plankton and microplastics on April 24. All training sessions are held at NMC’s Freshwater Studies Building in Traverse City. Volunteers attend one or more sessions depending on the number of stations they are interested in.

For volunteers who cannot make the Wednesday night training dates, all-day training is available at the Capt. Thomas M. Kelly Biological Station (100 Dame Street, Suttons Bay) from 9:00 am – 5:00 pm. Returning instructor all-day training will take place on April 26, followed by new instructor all-day training on April 27. All-day trainings cover all topics from the four Wednesday night sessions.

Volunteers interested in learning more about opportunities in the ISEA’s ROV Engineer and Explore program can attend a one-evening training on May 1 from 5:30 pm – 7:30 pm at the Capt. Thomas M. Kelly Biological Station in Suttons Bay. Students who attend the ROV (remotely operated vehicle) program collaborate in teams to design and build an ROV to carry out a specific mission. They also maneuver a professional grade ROV and gain exposure to career paths in marine technology and freshwater protection.

Inland Seas needs 15-40 volunteers every day during Spring Schoolship season to fill the demand for the programs. Morning and afternoon programs run five days a week for six weeks on two ships. Additional volunteers are needed behind the scenes as well to prepare teacher folders, enter data, and more to keep the organization sailing smoothly.

More information about volunteering with Inland Seas can be found on their website.