Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center volunteer Jeff Stewart was recognized as a 2012 “10 Who Care Award” recipient at a banquet in Portsmouth, Virginia in mid November. Each year, WAVY TV-10 recognizes ten outstanding volunteers for their service to the community in which they live. Nominated winners are chosen by a panel of five judges who represent the Hampton Roads area.
For the past six years, Stewart has volunteered for the Virginia Aquarium Mentoring Young Scientists (MYS) program which helps over 100 local middle school students interested in science and environmental education. He was nominated by the MYS Coordinator Jovonne Vrecheck who said, “Jeff brings warmth, humor, and a great attitude to all of the students, fellow mentors, and Aquarium guests with whom he works.”
Stewart recently surpassed his 1,000 Aquarium volunteer service hours while working as a full-time teacher at Landstown High School. He also teaches environmental science at Tidewater Community College as a part-time professor. When asked why he enjoys being with students in his spare time Stewart said, “When I come to MYS, I am in a different mode with no worry about grades or holding my ground. I can just have fun teaching them what I love about science and, sometimes, I learn with the kids too.”
In addition to working with youth at school and the MYS program, Stewart is an Aquarium volunteer diver, and he works many special events throughout the year. He said, “Diving has become a new hobby so I love the opportunity to dive. Plus it’s important to maintain the aquariums for the public – to make sure guests see them clean along with the healthy fish.”
For more information on the Aquarium’s volunteer program call (757) 385-0274 or visit www.virginiaaquarium.com/get-involved/pages/volunteering.aspx.