The Off-Season – What keeps us busy

Random Person:  “What do you do for work?”
MARC Staff:  “Rehabilitate seals and sea turtles.”
Random Person:  “Wow!  You have the coolest job ever, right?”

Yes, we do.

From the outside perspective, a job at MARC, for any of our staff, involves hanging out with seals, feeding them some fish, and releasing them at the beach.  In a nutshell, this really IS what we do.  However, for our staff, we are lucky to have about 60 volunteers per semester that help us with daily feeding, cleaning, and maintenance of the animal’s rooms.   The bulk of Staff time is spent on performing necessary medical treatments, making rehabilitation plans (scheduling feeds, medications, and procedures), consulting with vets, and dealing hands-on with more critical animals.

Every year, after the busy winter, spring and summer that keeps us on our feet for about 16 hours per day, our staff welcomes the quieter fall season by falling into our desks in the MARC office and tending to the less glamorous “marine biologist” duties.  For the MARC staff, our off-season is spent doing what we call the “office work”.  In our world, this involves organizing medical records, planning upcoming trainings for the next generation of volunteers, ordering supplies for the upcoming busy season, changing over our hospital to prepare for rehabilitating sea turtles, and, most importantly, finding sources of funding to keep our hospital afloat.

Clockwise from Top Left: Shannon, Keith, Asheley, Intern Jaimie, and Kristen busily working on fall projects.

Today, our entire staff can be found in the office finalizing grant-proposals and looking into additional funding sources.  Our annual Prescott Grant Proposal is due today (The John H. Prescott Marine Mammal Stranding Assistance Grant).  We apply every year to try to secure additional funding necessary to keep MARC operating.  Once the grant is submitted, we then wait until next summer to find out if we are lucky enough to receive the award (up to $100,000).  Keep your fingers crossed for MARC.

Times are tough.  We are going to be saying goodbye to our wonderful Emily Mercker (Water Quality and Animal Care Technician) in November, as funding to continue her position at MARC has run out.  While we continue to work to find funding sources to keep our staff employed and fund the operation of our hospital, we welcome any advice, suggestions, tips, pointers, etc on possible funding sources that may be applicable to our program.  Any thoughts can be emailed to

Want to suggest a fundraiser?  Host one for us? Want to make a donation?  Let us know!


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