As a child, Vancouver Aquarium volunteer Bar Frenklach created her own small aquariums at home, learning about the different habitat needs of each of her animals and watching them explore their environment. She became fascinated by the diversity of complex habitats at the Vancouver Aquarium, and was inspired by many conversations with knowledgeable, enthusiastic Aquarium volunteers. So it was only natural that she would one day join them.
Bar started volunteering last July as a work experience student for the Aquarium’s RBC AquaLab, an education program for students in grades 4-12. When her work experience placement was finished, she continued with her volunteering and spent the rest of the season helping to care for the animals, maintaining the lab and teaching students in the Aquarium’s school programs about the creatures that lived in the lab and related conservation issues. Then she came back for another season – this time to mentor a new wave of work experience students. Now, she’s joined the volunteer crew in the AquaLab as a marine educator for junior high and high school students.
Bar loves teaching people about invertebrate animals and watching their reactions when they touch them for the first time or learn some fascinating new fact. She has one special memory – of enabling a boy in a wheelchair to gently touch the animals by bringing them to him in smaller touch pools. Bar says, “The smile on his face was a sight I will never forget. His happiness radiated to everyone around him. That is when I truly felt that I had made a connection with a very special person – and that the Aquarium is not only a place to research, educate and inspire, but also a place that bridges all our differences. After all, the ocean touches us all.”
Bar loves taking questions from her work at the Aquarium and researching them at home. She has become so passionate about the oceans that she hopes to pursue her love of marine biology in university.
Bar is just one of more than 1,000 volunteers who help to support the Aquarium’s conservation, research and education initiatives each year. To learn more about volunteering at the Aquarium, visit here.