Andy Frazer is an accomplished and experienced diver. During a trip to the Steinhart Aquarium at the California Academy of Sciences he realized that he can combine two of his passions: diving and volunteering by becoming a volunteer diver at the aquarium and helping with the monumental tasks of keeping the algae at bay and the anemones well-feed while entertaining the visitors by waving and high-fiving them and raising awareness of critical conservation issues.
Becoming a Volunteer Diver
In this interview Andy speaks about how he became a volunteer diver, what the necessary qualifications are, the safety measures put in place to avoid accidents and how rewarding it can be to scrub algae off windows.
Programs like this are available at most large aquariums as keeping the large windows clean is a monumental task. So if you live in or near a city with an aquarium and this sounds like fun – go check out the website. Some links are in the resources section below.
Here are the links to the podcast. Please excuse some minor stray sounds during the recording, I hadn’t expected my neighbor’s construction work being so loud on a Saturday.
Andy really leads a very varied life and also has a website where he records oral histories of people, mainly of Japanese-Americans who have been incarcerated by the U.S. Government during WWII. Have a look at his blog to listen to those stories.
The website of San Francisco’s Steinhart Aquarium is here (www.calacademy.org/exhibits/steinhart-aquarium)
If you are interested in volunteering at the Academy of Sciences the link for all opportunities, not just diving can be found here
Here is the link to the live video of the Philippine Coral Reef tank. You can watch the dive show live each day at 11:30 am and 2:30 pm (PDT).
Links to Volunteer Diving Programs
This is an incomplete list of aquariums that have diving volunteer programs across the US. Just Google the aquarium in your city to find out whether they need help.
Click here for diving volunteer opportunities at the Long Beach/Aquarium of the Pacific
If you leave within a 45 minutes drive of Monterey, CA, check here
Here is the site of the Downtown Aquarium in Denver
Just a few more:
For the Center for Aquatic Sciences in Camden, NJ click here
For the Great Lakes Aquarium in Duluth, MN click here
Blogs and Articles
Here is an article from the California Diver Magazine’s online edition about volunteer divers at the academy
Article about aquarium diving in www.alertdiver.com
Article about becoming a volunteer diver