MBNMS Volunteer of the Year 2013 Sandra Cohen
2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008 | 2007 | 2006 | 2005 | 2004
Sandra is an inaugural member of the Sanctuary Exploration Center Docent class of June 2012. Since the Exploration Center's grand opening in July 2012, Sandra has become an integral member of the Exploration Center team, donating over 200 hours in 2013. In addition to her regular weekly docent shift, Sandra has enthusiastically integrated herself into every additional volunteer opportunity available to her. She was involved in a docents working group who helped develop the center's new guided tour program and has since led over 10 tours. Additionally, she assists with sanctuary sponsored school field trips and has been involved in the Exploration Center's intertidal monitoring team, requiring she learn even more about local invertebrates.
After retiring as an UC Santa Cruz shuttle driver, Sandra looked for new opportunities to learn and grow. Although she had no formal marine science or teaching experience, she knew she had a passion for the sanctuary and wanted to share it with others. From the moment Sandra joined the Exploration Center team, her enthusiasm and curiosity for the marine environment and marine conservation have transformed from a spark to a flame, and her knowledge and interpretation skills have grown tremendously. On her own time, to strengthen her interpretation skills, Sandra enrolled and completed the 40-hour National Association of Interpretation Certified Interpretive Guide Course. Her knowledge and enthusiasm has been transferred to visitors in the way she interprets while at the Center. "Sandy shared so much great information with us, and was very friendly" – Visitors from San Francisco, May 2013.
Sandra's fellow volunteers and Sanctuary Exploration Center staff also benefit from her enthusiasm of marine conservation. It is not uncommon for her to share current events, interesting resources, or new opportunities to contribute to marine conservation with her collogues. Sandra is the epitome of a team player and is the core of the growing Exploration Center community. She is one of the first ones to fill in when someone is sick or we are short staffed, and organizes outside volunteer social events. We are so grateful Sandra decided to not only dip her toes in, but to fully take the plunge into marine education, and she has pulled us all in with her!