Volunteer at Dolphin Research Center

The mission of the Volunteer Resources Department is to assist the paid DRC staff by providing a supplemental work force capable of accomplishing daily tasks, as well as special projects. This enables the paid staff resources to concentrate on those areas where their knowledge and expertise can be put to the most efficient and effective use.

The responsibilities handled by our volunteers represent vital aspects of our operations. Volunteers may find themselves working in our fish house where our dolphins' meals are prepared, or caring for our family of exotic birds. Volunteers assist visitors by answering questions, monitoring interactive programs and giving presentations. Volunteers are involved with facility maintenance such as trash collection, recycling, seaweed removal and fence cleaning, painting and landscaping. They also help with administrative projects such as computer data entry and preparation of bulk mailings.

Within our Volunteer Resources Department, we offer an Internship Program.  For further information please click here. Internships involve concentration in specific departments, normally last 14 to 18 weeks, and are held throughout the year. Applicants do not need to be enrolled in college to be considered for an internship. We currently offer internships in the following areas: Animal Care and Training, Education, Information Technologies, Research, Special Needs (Fall session only), and Visual Communications.

Our Volunteer Resources Department is staffed throughout the year. While we do offer flexibility, most of our non-local volunteers work 40 hours per week, and a minimum commitment of four weeks is required for new volunteers. We ask our local volunteers to contribute at least two days per month. Although they do not receive wages, we do expect all volunteers to regard their work with us with the same dedication that they would extend to a paying job. DRC does not provide housing or transportation for volunteers and interns, but we will provide a list of local housing and transportation providers so that individuals can make arrangements that suit their needs. Certain tasks can be physically strenuous or even mundane, but the satisfaction that comes from sharing in the care of our dolphins can offer rewards beyond measure. Besides the great location on the Gulf of Mexico, DRC offers a casual work atmosphere with a friendly and appreciative staff. Volunteers also have the opportunity to make many new friends from around the world that share their interest in marine mammals and the environment.

If you have additional questions regarding volunteering at DRC, please e-mail us at drc_vr@dolphins.org or telephone (305) 289-1121 x 230, Monday – Friday 9AM to 4PM (EST).

To apply, please visit the Resource Library below and download the Volunteer/Intern application.

Dolphin Research center is a not-for-profit education and research facility that is home to a colony of bottlenose dolphins and sea lions. Located in the heart of the Florida Keys on Grassy Key, our animals live in a natural environment in the Florida Bay. Since establishment   in 1984, Dolphin Research Center remains dedicated to teaching, learning, and caring for marine mammals and the environment we share. We accomplish this through a variety of public education programs and non-invasive research projects, and by active involvement with the marine mammal care community throughout the world.

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Our Mission - Through education, research and rescue, Dolphin Research Center promotes peaceful coexistence, cooperation and communication between marine mammals, humans and the environment we share with the well being of DRC's animals taking precedence.