Somerville’s Jen Moore Works with Marine Animals and Endangered Species for ‪New England Aquarium‬’s Animal Care Center in Quincy

 

SOMERVILLE, Mass. – After spending a semester abroad studying marine biology in Australia, Jen Moore of Somerville started making weekly visits to the New England Aquarium. She was enamored by all aquatic species and wanted to get more involved in local marine conservation efforts. Now, the 28-year-old sixth grade science teacher for Swampscott Public Schools is celebrating her fifth year as a volunteer, working behind-the-scenes at the Aquarium.

Moore works as an aquarist volunteer. She assists the Aquarium’s biologists with basic animal care responsibilities at the offsite holding facility in Quincy, which cares for animals being quarantined and/or awaiting exhibit display. From sharks to corals to endangered shorebirds, volunteers work with dozens of different species.

“I often refer to us as the ‘hipster aquarists’ because we get to know and love all of the animals before they are ‘cool’ and go on display in the main building,” says Moore. “One of the favorite things is working each week with our resident cownose ray, Mystic. Whenever she senses someone coming by her tank, she will excitedly splash tidal waves of water over the edges of the tank.”

Moore volunteers every Sunday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. She assists staff members with food prep and surface feedings for the animals, tank cleaning and maintenance, collecting temperatures and water samples from each tank, and any additional tasks that come her way, such as engaging in animal enrichment activities, creating new tank systems, collecting data for on-going research projects, event support and the like.

“I love animals and wanted to learn as much about different species of fish as possible,” says Moore who hopes to become an aquarist. “I started volunteering in the visitor education department. Three years later, I transitioned to the Aquarium’s Quincy Animal Care Center. I feel so lucky to have this opportunity. There is always something new and exciting each week ad we constantly receive new shipments of animals. I am learning so much.”

The Aquarium is always looking for volunteers of all ages, backgrounds, and interest levels to step in and help out in a variety of capacities year-round. For a full list of volunteer opportunities, visit: http://serve.neaq.org/.

“Volunteers are crucial to the rehabilitation work and care that Aquarium staff members provide on a daily basis,” says Moore. “And, as a volunteer you get so many rewarding hands-on learning experiences, such as when I worked with cold marine animals while the Aquarium was renovating the gallery in the main building. It was fun to create enrichment toys for the Great Pacific Octopus. I also fell in love with our juvenile grubby sculpins and sailfin sculpins that I saw grow up during their stay in Quincy.”

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