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Career Series: Marine Mammal Interpretation DolphinLab

Course Information

Marine Mammal Interpretation DolphinLab is part of our career series DolphinLab programs. This six-day program aims to improve student understanding and appreciation of the marine environment, demonstrate the importance of education and interpretation at zoological facilities and how this plays a key role in inspiring guests to care about conservation, and how to effectively communicate with and educate guests. Students work closely with our knowledgeable educators to establish a foundation of how to be an effective interpreter, and the importance of fostering personal connections between guests and the marine mammals in our care.   

At the completion of the Lab, students demonstrate their understanding of experiential education through various projects with a small group, or in small groups based on the number of students in the course. Students demonstrate an understanding of, and ability to create and deliver informal presentations that are effective, polished and professional. Students also narrate a live behavior session with the dolphins to demonstrate their animal interpretation skills for DRC’s public visitors. Utilizing information and concepts learned in Adult Basic DolphinLab, and further developed during Marine Mammal Interpretation DolphinLab, students learn the critical role zoological facilities play in educating the public about natural and anthropogenic threats to the marine environment and the animals that call it home. 

The course features a number of interactive programs, including our wade-in Dolphin Splash and the Dolphin Encounter swim program. Additional hands-on activities include a dockside signal session, and a number of live demonstrations with DRC’s animal family. MMI DolphinLab includes a unique blend of interactive experiences, as well as interesting hour-long discussion based seminars, informal observation and dolphin ID time, and the opportunity to speak with and learn from professionals in the field. Students continue fostering their relationship with the dolphins and sea lions that began during Adult Basic DolphinLab.

Primarily focused on the Common bottlenose dolphin, the course also delves lightly into some of the controversial topics surrounding marine mammals in human care, baleen whales, and river dolphins. The adult must be open to receiving and implementing constructive feedback from the educators during practice sessions to prepare for the final public narration. Class sizes average six to twelve students to ensure individualized instruction.

The program begins at 9:00 a.m. on Sunday, and ends at 4:00 p.m. on Friday. Additional information and required waivers and forms are provided in the Welcome Packet emailed to each participant once enrolled and the course is confirmed to run.

Seminars Include:

  • Controversy of Marine Mammals in Human Care

  • Public Speaking and Animal Interpretation

  • Marine Mammals in the Media

  • Culture in Dolphin and Whale Populations

  • Whaling and the Great Whales

  • River Dolphins

Hands-On Activities & Interactive Programs Include:

  • One Dolphin Splash session

  • Two Dolphin Encounter sessions

  • One Dock Side Signal Session

Additional Activities Include:

  • Live Demonstrations with the dolphins and sea lions throughout the week

  • The opportunity to use biofacts to educate public guests about marine mammals

  • Informal Observation and Dolphin ID time

Tuition:

Tuition for Marine Mammal Interpretation DolphinLab is $1,600.00 (US). Tuition includes all seminars, activities, interactive programs, digital photographs taken from various dolphin interactions throughout the week, and lunch and snacks each day of the program. 

Tuition does not include:

  • Accommodations
  • Breakfast and dinner each day
  • Transportation to and from any airport, or to and from Dolphin Research Center each day.

Prerequisites:

Students must successfully complete Adult Basic DolphinLab before attending Marine Mammal Interpretation DolphinLab. We strongly recommend students complete MMI DolphinLab prior to taking Adult Marine Mammal Care and Basic Training or Advanced Training and Enrichment DolphinLabs, as both include elements of public speaking. Applicants are expected to have a strong interest in marine mammal science, careers in the field, and be able to participate in an academically and physically rigorous schedule. Students should be aware that this course involves public speaking elements, an essential skill for any professional in the zoological field. The course is available to all students ages 18 and up. The student may enroll in more than one Lab within the same season, however, Dolphin Research Center reserves the right to determine whether the Career Series Labs are an appropriate fit for the student based on his/her performance in Adult Basic, or other Career Series courses previously completed.

Related Links

Enrollment

Marine Mammal Interpretation DolphinLab is offered next in the summer of 2022! Dates are posted to the Course Dates page between November and January. Enrollment opens within the month of January 2022, and is announced on the Course Dates page as well. We look forward to next summer! 

Coronavirus Precautions

We want to assure you that we continually monitor guidelines from the CDC, as well as our local, county, and state governments so that we can make sure that precautions are in place. Guidelines and information are in the Welcome Packet that is provided to each confirmed camper.

Our Mission - Through education, research and rescue, Dolphin Research Center promotes peaceful coexistence, cooperation and communication between marine mammals, humans and the environment we share with the well being of DRC's animals taking precedence.
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