Fifteen smiling adults stand in a semi-circle behind a table with a white tablecloth on which sits a celebratory cake commemorating their graduation from UNH Marine Docent Program

After training from September 2022 through April 2023, a new class of UNH Marine Docents officially graduated last month during a long-awaited, in-person gathering on April 20, 2023. The UNH Marine Docent Program is a volunteer-based marine science education effort managed jointly by NH Sea Grant and UNH Extension. Congratulations to the 15 members of the newest class of UNH Marine Docents!

2022-2023 UNH Marine Docent Class

(pictured above from left to right)

Noreen Polus
Lori Thomae
Nancy Lynch
Lisa Woodruff
Erica Tauriello
Cindy Brown
Chris Brown
Carole LaMotte
Robert Lamotte
Larry O’Neill
Katinka De Ruiter
Susan Hechler-Lynch
Lynn Schweikart
Robin Schweikart
Joann King

Thank you to all Marine Docents for your hard work educating the public about marine science topics while keeping it fun for all involved! 

If becoming a UNH Marine Docent interests you, please fill out our online Docent Application Form and we’ll notify you with details about joining our upcoming Information Session in August. There is no obligation to enroll in the Marine Docent program if you fill out the form or attend the Information Session. 

Marine Docent volunteers earn special recognition for every five years of service with the UNH Marine Docent Program. The following individuals received recognition this year:  

5 years 

John Belcher
John Bielawski
Holly Blake
Katharine Brown
Mary Burke
Christine Bushway
Jan Crowley
Hugh Evans
Bev Everett
Lynn Grant
Al Hinckley
Alan Kelly
Richard Lutz
David Maloney
Barbara Nadeau
Richard Parian
Ellen Raemsch
Clinton Rand
William Smith
Kim Workinger

10 years 

Mical Allopenna
David Batchelder
Linda Benton
Joel Blumenthal
Janice Callaghan
Ed Caylor
David Cole
Gary Finch
Kipp Freeman
Mark Lechner
Beth Marsh
Lanny Marsh
Peg O’Neil
Jan Phelps
Lisa Robblee
Jeff Savage
Skip Small
Michael Sterling
Greg Thayer
Richard Walent
Allan Waterfield
Andrea Williams 

15 years 

Mary Caldwell
Catherine Greeley
Viki Guy
Lucy Kezar
Randy Kezar
John Lamson
Ed Rowan
Mike Stockdale
Terry Stockdale 

20 years 

Wendy Harris

30 years 

Kathy Maxwell-Fitzgerald
Joe Stieglitz


The Marine Docent Program also recognizes volunteers for special, annual awards: 

New Kid on the Block  

The recipient of this award is nominated by their peers and awarded to a Docent who has been with the program for less than 5 years and has contributed significantly to the program in behind-the-scenes planning, in-person involvement, or willingness to step into any role that’s needed. This year’s New Kid on the Block award goes to Peter Howd (Class of 2020).

Plunger Award 

The UNH Marine Docent “plunger” is an award given to a Docent who has done something outstanding to “unstick” the program. The definition of “unsticking” the program varies year to year, but usually involves some contribution that is not necessarily programmatic, but logistical or planning related, that really helps the program move forward. Nominees should have provided such a service that represents a significant contribution with obvious impacts. The Plunger award goes to Rick Cliche (Class of 2014).

Silver Oyster 

The Silver Oyster award is considered a “career” award that is bestowed once in a Docent career. It celebrates a career of “above and beyond the call of duty,” extraordinary commitment and performance as a Docent. Accordingly, a Docent needs to be in the program a minimum of 5 years to be considered for the award. The recipient of this award is nominated by their peers and should clearly stand out in their activity level, contributions, and impact.  This year’s Silver Oyster award goes to Jim Pollard (Class of 2011).


Barnacle pins are awarded to Marine Docents who have stuck with the program for over 20 years with continued contributions.  This year’s recipients are Wendy Beagan (Class of 2002), Ann Reid (Class of 1986), Francoise Morison (Class of 2002). 

Director’s Awards  

The Director’s award is selected by the Marine Docent Program Staff. The recipient of this award has demonstrated stand-out leadership and involvement throughout the past year.   The 2023 Director's awards were presented to Ann Ablowich (Class of 2009) and John Belcher (Class of 2018).

UNH Marine Docent logo

Thank you to the Great Bay Discovery Center for graciously opening your doors to the Marine Docent Program for our annual "Swim-up" celebration.