Service Corps Stories: Braving the Whale-storm, by Emily Cross

Emily Cross has been a Service Corps volunteer since September 2015 and has contributed over 80 hours of service towards protecting the blue planet! Amazing, considering some of her obstacles. Here is her story:


“I’m scared of whales. Terrified actually. Have I ever seen a whale in real life? No. And I know there is a very slim chance I will encounter one in my day-to-day life. I think my fear has something to do with just how massive they are. They are majestic creatures no doubt but massive.

So – naturally – when the opportunity to volunteer at The New England Right Whale Festival presented itself I signed up. I was promised no whales would be on site that day. The New England Right Whale Festival is an annual event that celebrates current efforts to protect North Atlantic right whales from extinction. The festival hosts scientists, educators, and vendors from all over. As a volunteer that day my duties ranged from simply greeting guests at the door to educating them on whales and dolphins. Now, I have no background in marine biology or ecology or anything like that. I was an English major in college and I currently work at a law firm. But there I was teaching visitors about whale bones. Did you know whales and dolphins have pelvic bones or that a blue whale can grow to be about one hundred feet long? I had no idea. It was exciting and humbling to learn about a species I fear from experts and enthusiasts alike.
Learning new things is what I love most about volunteering with the Service Corps. Initially, I was nervous to join because my life experiences and areas of study are so wildly different. But it hasn’t mattered. The people I have met – scientists, firefighters, rangers, fellow students – are more than willingly to answer questions or just share fun facts. I’ve learned so much about whales, about plants, the tides, the histories of the Boston Harbor Islands. I genuinely love signing up for events because am I able to contribute my time towards educating others and serving the world I live in.  But I also enjoy knowing that I will leave an event or project having learned a thing or two.”


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