3-Minute Interview: Timothy Vogel

The volunteer docent for The Marine Mammal Center teaches visitors about the sea lions at Pier 39. The center is seeking new volunteers.

What do you do as a docent? I set up a station with my telescope, a couple pairs of binoculars and some specimens, like a skull, some whiskers and some examples of their fur.

Do many people come to you for advice? The telescope has a tendency to bring people in because they want to look at the animals closer. Before you know it, you’ve got a crowd of people standing around, listening and asking questions.

What questions do they ask? What do they eat? How long do they live? Are they all family members?

What are the answers to those questions? They eat almost anything that swims or crawls like crabs, squid and fish. Males live maybe 15 years; females maybe up to 20 years. They’re almost never all family members.

How busy are you when you volunteer as a docent? I’d say it averages out to be over 100 questions an afternoon. There’s probably people from at least 20 different states in the U.S. and I talk to people from at least ten different countries.

Why do you volunteer as a docent? I used to be a marine biologist in the Florida Cays and I’m still active as a scientist. Instead of playing golf on the weekends, I like to teach marine mammalogy.

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

Chelsea Hung, who owns Washington Bakery and Restaurant in Chinatown with her mother, said the restaurant is only making about 30 percent of pre-pandemic revenues. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Chinatown’s slow recovery has business owners fearing for the future

Lack of outside visitors threatens to push neighborhood into ‘downward spiral’

San Francisco Symphony Music Director Esa-Pekka Salonen and members of the orchestra were thrilled to be back inside Davies Symphony Hall on May 6 in a program for first responders featuring string works by Jean Sibelius, George Walker, Carl Nielsen, Caroline Shaw and Edward Grieg. (Courtesy Stefan Cohen/San Francisco Symphony)
SF Symphony makes joyful return to Davies Hall

Esa-Pekka Salonen conducts program for first responders and community leaders

Students in an after-school community hub move quickly through a social circle as they play a game at the Mission YMCA on Friday, May 7, 2021. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Parents scramble for ‘Summer Together’ spaces

City program offering free camps sees high demand, confusion over enrollment

Jazz pianist and composer Jon Jang is an instructor at Community Music Center in the Mission District. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Jon Jang composes bittersweet symphonies

Musician-activist’s works are steeped in civil rights history

Keith Doran, left, and the author celebrate a short but successful outing on El Capitan. (Courtesy photo)
Climb on: 50 lessons in 50 years, part 3

Series offers tips for adventurers seeking fulfillment outdoors

Most Read