Last week at the 39th Hampton Roads Volunteer Achievement Awards event the Virginia Aquarium Stranding Response Program was honored under the Nonprofit Volunteer Program category. Several Virginia Aquarium staff and Stranding Response volunteers were at the event.
The Stranding Response Team is comprised of around 80 volunteers who do a variety of tasks both on and off site to support the staff with both live and dead marine mammals and sea turtles. In 2013, the Virginia Aquarium Stranding Response Team played a vital role during the Aquarium’s response to the largest unusual dolphin mortality event in 25 years. Normally, the team responds to approximately 100 stranded marine mammals per year. This year in a four month time span, July through October, staff and volunteers were responding, recovering and examining over 340 dolphins that had stranded sick, injured or dead on Virginia’s beaches.