Bunbury Dolphin Discovery Centre calling for volunteers

Shannon VerhagenSouth Western Times
Bunbury's Dolphin Discovery Centre is calling for volunteers like Australind local Meg Diment to join the team.
Camera IconBunbury's Dolphin Discovery Centre is calling for volunteers like Australind local Meg Diment to join the team. Credit: Shannon Verhagen

Not only has the coronavirus pandemic dealt Bunbury’s Dolphin Discovery Centre a major tourism blow, but its volunteer numbers have plummeted due to the associated travel bans.

In a normal year, about 100 international visitors throw their hands up for the centre’s summer volunteer program and a number of interstate visitors lend a hand as well.

But that will not be the case this year, prompting the centre to put out a call to any locals keen on helping out.

Dolphin Discovery Centre volunteer Phil Manger.
Camera IconDolphin Discovery Centre volunteer Phil Manger. Credit: Shannon Verhagen

“The volunteer team is the absolute backbone of our organisation — we could not exist without them,” conservation manager Jan Tierney said.

The local people form the basis of the team … but then we have all this other help which we’re not getting this year.

Jan Tierney

She said the number of local volunteers had also dropped post-pandemic, with some having to pick up more work to pay the bills, while others had decided to spend more time with elderly parents or grandkids.

“For lots of reasons, the volunteer team is really depleted, so if there are people out there who are looking to give back to the environment either on a long or short-term basis, then we’ll welcome them,” Ms Tierney said.

From spotting dolphins, taking photos and recording data on the beach or eco cruises, to joining swim tours and welcoming people to the centre, volunteers contribute in a variety of ways.

People don’t have to know anything about dolphins, they just have to be willing to make our visitors feel at ease and comfortable and chat to them about what we do.

Jan Tierney

Those interested are invited to attend the centre’s information evening tomorrow night or get in touch through the volunteering page on the centre’s website.

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