Like bees buzzing away in a bee hive, many volunteers fly about the Vancouver Aquarium ever day, helping visitors see a particular animal, showing the way to the washrooms or leading a program for school kids. If the volunteers are the bees and the Aquarium is the bee hive, then Lindsay Baker, manager of volunteer services, is Queen Bee.
But Lindsay is no diva. She makes it clear that even though she’s the manager, her team plays important roles in supporting all the volunteers – and last year, there were over a thousand of them.
Lindsay’s career in volunteerism started when she was a student at the University of Victoria. A volunteer position during student orientation eventually paved the way for a paid position actually managing the volunteers.
She eventually made her way to Volunteer Richmond (they publicize volunteer opportunities and help place prospective volunteers) where she spent over six years. Then, a chance meeting with former Vancouver Aquarium volunteer coordinator Melanie Knight led her here almost three years ago.
Lindsay says providing a great experience for the volunteers is one of her top priorities. Even though volunteer positions at the Aquarium are highly coveted, she still recognizes that people are sharing their precious time and expertise to help fulfill the Aquarium’s mandate. To add value to the experience, volunteer services regularly hosts social events (like pub nights) for the volunteers to get to know each other better and swap Aquarium stories.
The challenge for Lindsay is placing people in the specialized volunteer roles that require different skills, like preparing food for the animals behind the scenes (though most roles help fulfill visitor experience needs in the galleries). There’s rarely any envelope-stuffing going on here.
Sound like something you want to be a part of? Then join us.
Learn more about Lindsay and other Aquarium staff during the Ask the Staff program taking place daily during Vancouver Aquarium Up Close, a special feature exhibit on now until April 30.
Written by Karen Horak, writer-editor, content and digital experience at the Vancouver Aquarium.