Volunteer With PacMam

Volunteer with Pacific Mammal Research and help us conduct vital research on resident marine mammals, share your knowledge with community members at fun local events, and learn more about being a marine biologist!

We welcome volunteers of all ages, abilities and backgrounds and have a wide variety of different jobs and tasks you can help with. If you are interested in a more committed volunteer position, ask one of our team about our internship opportunities!

Ways to Volunteer

  • Fieldwork: help with our research in the field by collecting and recording data while scanning for and spotting marine mammals (NOTE: this includes a hike over uneven ground and sitting outside for 2 hours).
  • Citizen Science: train to become a Citizen Scientist to get involved in our research on your own schedule. Learn to report sightings, send us photos, and submit data.
  • Education: join our educational outreach efforts to encourage active stewardship of the marine environment with school groups, at local workshops, and fun community events.
  • Data Entry: support our office-based data entry such as processing, cropping, and renaming photos as well as adding to our scientific databases, and more.
  • Administrative/Accounting: give back to the community through putting your background in administration or accounting to use with our non-profit.
  • Join Our Board: contribute to our long-term goals, help us spread our message in the community, and share your knowledge and expertise by joining our Board of Directors.

If you are interested in getting involved with PacMam in any capacity, get in touch with us! We can’t wait to talk with you.


We believe in providing high quality education and research experiences for high school and college students, recent graduates, and scientists who are just embarking on their career. Below are some testimonials from past interns who share how this experience has changed their lives!

Daniel McHugh – Intern 2019

In the Spring of 2019, I was able to work with and learn from the awesome marine biologists at Pacific Mammal Research, Cindy Elliser and Kat MacIver. As a wildlife biology student and aspiring wildlife biologist, it was an honor to pick the brain of two individuals performing cutting-edge work in their field. I was able to get hands on experience in the field, learn the ins and outs of translating field work and office work to sound research, and learn practical skills such as reading and critically examining scientific literature. Not only was the work fun and informative, but it opened doors to what has become a fruitful beginning to what I hope will be a long career in wildlife. Even after transferring to University, Cindy has continually offered help in my career pursuits and been engaged with helping me achieve my goals. For that, I am forever grateful for the opportunity to work with PacMam!

I am currently a senior at the University of Montana in terrestrial wildlife biology. I have had the privilege to work with black bears, bighorn sheep, rocky mountain elk, and mule deer. These opportunities would likely have never come my way if it wasn’t for the work I was able to perform at PacMam to get experience. PacMam is not only dedicated to conservation in terms of applying sound science to current issues surrounding marine wildlife, but also investing in the future of wildlife by teaching and involving willing students.

Ciera Edison – Intern 2018

In 2018 I was granted the opportunity to become a research intern working side by side with Dr. Cindy Elliser and Katrina MacIver of Pacific Mammal Research (PacMam). I went to school for Fisheries and Wildlife Sciences where I specialized in marine mammal conservation and ecology. After college, I discovered PacMam while seeking out opportunities to continue growing my knowledge and experience with marine mammal research. I thoroughly enjoyed my time spent at this organization. There was an even balance of time spent in the field and office where you learn everything about conducting research. Tasks like grant applications, recording ethograms, as well as photo ID process and analysis, allows you to gain so much knowledge and have fun while doing so! PacMam genuinely cares about their volunteers. They are there to support you and assist you in accomplishing your goals. Since completing my internship I remain in contact with Kat and Cindy. Not only did I gain valuable experience, but also great references for future job opportunities. Out of all my years of volunteering and internship experiences, my time spent at PacMam was the most beneficial to my career and one I will never forget. I hope to return again soon, whether just for a day or a whole season.

**Ciera has now rejoined the PacMam Team as Research Assistant.