Florida Museum looking for teens


Published: Wednesday, March 20, 2013 at 2:22 p.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, March 20, 2013 at 2:22 p.m.

Wanted: Teen boys and girls ages 12-17 to serve as junior volunteers during the summer at the Florida Museum of Natural History while also earning community service hours.

Facts

MUSEUM VOLUNTEERS

What: Become a summer junior volunteer at the Florida Museum of Natural History.
When: Deadline to apply is April 5.
Where: Florida Museum of Natural History, SW 34th Street and Hull Road.
Information: Call 352-273-2055 or email volunteers@flmnh.ufl.edu.

Amy Hester, volunteer coordinator at the Florida Museum, said the 2013 junior volunteer program will run from June 10-Aug. 9, but the application deadline is April 5. Interviews will be held on April 27-28 and a mandatory training session will take place on June 2.

Hester said junior volunteers are required to work a minimum of 20 hours each week over two consecutive weeks to earn community service hours, which are required for high school graduation and college scholarships.

New this year, said Hester, is the fact that volunteers will not have to work on weekends or during the week of the July 4th holiday.

Qualifications for the program include an interest in or experience with science, history, nature, service and/or working with children. "They should meet at least one of the qualifications," Hester said.

Last year, 120 volunteers participated, and this year, space will be limited to 120 volunteers.

The application can be picked up from the museum during operating hours or downloaded at www.flmnh.ufl.edu/volunteers/JV_application.pdf and mailed to Amy Hester, Volunteer Coordinator, P.O. Box 112710, Gainesville, FL 32611-2710.

"In the application, they can rank areas of interest and we try to accommodate them," said Hester, adding that the junior volunteers will participate in various activities within different museum departments, including sorting and preserving moths and butterflies from all over the world, interacting with the public in the Butterfly Rainforest and other exhibits, and working as a summer camp assistant. The teens, who will work alongside museum staff, will be trained and supervised.

Other positions include Discovery Room cart attendant, Discovery Room assistant, camp teacher assistant and exhibit docent. Volunteers also will learn about the behind-the-scenes work required to present programs and events.

Returning junior volunteers can apply for field camp assistant, floater or rover junior volunteer and Butterfly Rainforest assistant. All positions are half-day, with the exception of field camps.

Junior volunteers will be selected based on their interview, experience and availability. If selected, Hester said a registration fee of $25 for members and $30 for non-members will be due before the June 2 training. The fee helps cover some of the program costs, such as T-shirts, materials and the end-of-year-party. For those who are unable to pay the fee, scholarships will be available.

Hester said all volunteers definitely provide benefits to the museum and to the community.

"Junior volunteers bring a new energy," Hester said. "They're learning and making friends."

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