visit the learning center

event list

kayak and boat tours

trawl volunteersHelp our fisheries biologist collect samples with a trawl net each month in Naples Bay, Rookery Bay or the Ten Thousand Islands. Volunteers will help sort, identify, count and measure relevant fish and shellfish before returning them to the estuary.
Interested persons are expected to complete a volunteer application and attend a new volunteer orientation. Entering volunteer hours is required as per instructions from the Volunteer Coordinator. Once this is completed you will be placed on the fisheries research volunteer list and will receive emails with available dates that are set months in advance. Volunteers must respond to requests for assistance quickly in order to secure a seat on the boat.
• Volunteers will receive training on safe handling of the net, proper handling of fish and crabs and identification.
• Volunteers must be prepared to spend up to eight hours on the boat: come dressed for field work with non-slip, closed-toed shoes to protect feet from heavy gear and supply their own food and water.
• Volunteers will work hard while surrounded by natural beauty and sometimes mosquitoes.Volunteers will learn about fish and invertebrates, including many that are important to the local economy, and how they are affected by altered freshwater flows across the landscape. Learn more about this assessment program.

estuary encounter 250REQUIREMENTS:

A weekly commitment of two hours in off-season, three hours in-season, for at least 3 months. 

Training required and provided prior to commencement of assignment. Learning is an ongoing process and all volunteers are required to attend annual refresher orientation.

Volunteer will be responsible for assisting guests in understanding the animals within our Estuary Encounter Marine Life Exhibit. 

  • Volunteer must have interest in aquatic life with focus on invertebrates.
  • Must be comfortable speaking to the public in a formal and non- formal environment.
  • Comfort handling a variety of sea animals including crabs, while speaking to Learning center guests.
  • Have good observation skills with the ability to communicate both orally and written.

 Individuals must meet these qualifications and interview with the Volunteer Specialist and the Aquarist before being considered for shadowing/training.


vol-tableA commitment of 2 to 4 hours before, during, and/or after our Special Events


  • Set-up/break-down event venue, including tables, tents, etc.
  • Assist with special event activities including registration, customer service, crafts, etc.
  • Attendance at pre-event briefing meeting, if applicable

explorers 250Volunteering will take place varied days throughout the school year, 4-5 hours a weekday.

Learning is an ongoing process and all volunteers are required to attend annual training.

After a training session, volunteers will have the opportunity to work directly with students doing scientific investigations of the estuary. Students will do a variety of activities. Here are just a few: take water quality samples, learn about plankton, identify organisms that live within Oyster beds and the role they play in the oyster reef and use microscopes to view plankton samples.
Activities are in the ELC, outside, and in the lab.


*A weekly commitment of at least three hours a week between the hours of 8:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m., with a minimum three-month commitment.

Learning is an ongoing process, training will be provided.

Learn about fish and invertebrates from the estuary, by helping our staff with aquarium maintenance aimed at keeping our live teaching collection in the healthiest condition possible, in pristine-looking exhibit tanks. Includes cleaning and maintenance of tanks and life-support filtration systems.

Fish Feeding - includes understanding nutritional requirements of fish, preparing diets, and feeding of aquarium animals under the guidance of our Aquarist and Education Specialist.

Individuals must meet the following qualifications and interview with the Volunteer Specialist and the Aquarist before being considered for training:

  • Individual must be at least 16, with interest in environmental studies, biology or aquariums
  • Aquarium experience preferred but not required
  • Good observation skills
  • The ability to communicate verbally, with enthusiasm to help guests learn about the animals and their habitats
  • The ability to follow detailed instructions


Volunteer as Rookery Bay Reserve's InterpreterInterested volunteers needed as interpretive guides in our Environmental Learning Center.


Must commit to two hours per week in off-season (10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. or 12:30 to 2:30 p.m.) or three hours per week in-season (9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. or 12:30 – 3:30 p.m.).

• Must be interested in nature
• A friendly personality to assist and interpret for visiting guests
• Will be trained as a greeter to welcome guests to the facility

Will be trained on informal interpretation with focus on daily themes utilizing the exhibits including sharks, manatees, turtles and birds, and providing trail walks.

welcome-desk-volunteers-sLooking for volunteers for a weekly, 4-hour commitment on one or more days each week. The volunteer shift is either 8:30 am to 12:30 pm, or 12:30 pm to 4:30 pm. Saturday shifts available Nov. 1 - April 30.

*Learning is an ongoing process and training is provided.*

Some tasks include:

Provide guests with a high level of customer service and making them feel welcome, enhancing their visit to the Learning Center and Rookery Bay Reserve

Processing admissions, memberships, and gift store sales through a point-of-sale system

Answering queries both in person and on the telephone about the facility and area 

Volunteer as a GreeterA weekly commitment of 4 hours on a specific day; from 10 am to 2 pm, Monday through Friday (Saturday during season).

Description of Duties: Volunteer greets visitors as they enter our Learning Center.

  • *Learning is an ongoing process and all volunteers are required to attend annual training.*

Tasks include:

  • Making guests feel welcome
  • Inquiring how they heard about the Center
  • Letting the visitor know what programs are going on that day or week
  • Orienting guests to the Learning Center and Rookery Bay Reserve
  • Interpreting the map of Rookery Bay Reserve for guests



The Reserve or our Learning Center


About us or our programs & events.


Join, volunteer, or donate.

Go to top