Outdoor families online bloggers meet at Dawn Day In the WIldlife

Dawn Day in the Wildlife

Dawn Saves Wildlife Dawn Logo PNG

Recently, I spent a day in the life of a volunteer at The Marine Mammal Center in San Francisco, California. Along with 7 other bloggers, we learned what it was like to help save wildlife.



To be honest, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I guess in my mind, I pictured cleaning baby ducks all day. That’s probably because I have the blue Dawn dish soap on my counter and it has a picture of a little duck on it.



The Marine Mammal Center actually doesn’t have ducks (hence the name “marine mammals”, but the International Bird Rescue does help birds of all shapes and sizes. We went on a tour of The Marine Mammal Center and learned about the partnership with Dawn and what all goes into running a facility that cares for animals.

TMMC California

A nonprofit rehabilitative hospital for ill, abandoned and injured seals and sea lions located in the Marin Headlands above the lagoon.


– Admission is FREE to the Marine Mammal Center

– Visiting Hours Daily: 10am – 5 pm


We started out the day learning about the partnership with Dawn and the Marine Mammal Center.  

For 40 years, Dawn has been helping to save wildlife. But the partnership actually happened rather different than imagined. In the 1970s during the big oil spill, volunteers were using any and everything to help save wildlife. They were using things like mascara remover and turpine it was harsh on the animals and not very many of them survived.

The infographic  below covers the history of the wildlife program. I found it fascinating that Dawn is the product of choice because quite literally it’s tough on grease and gentle. It was actually the Marine Mammal Center that reached out to Dawn because they were struggling to find enough dish soap to clean the animals. They were having to go from store to store and buy it out. When Dawn heard of this need, they stepped in to help. In 2010 they launched the Dawn Saves Wildlife Program.



Dawn Saves Wildlife

One of my biggest takeaways, next to how amazing their volunteers are (which I’ll touch on in a separate post) is that we are all stewards of nature and even as individuals we can make a difference.


The Marine Mammal Center


Mitch from the Marine Mammal center gave us a tour. I love that it really is the kind of place where children can go and have an experience.

We learned the difference between a Seal, Sea Lion and Elephant Seal. Do you know the differences? I sure didn’t.

What's the difference between a seal and a sea lion?


Literally, behind the scenes. Learning how it all comes together.

Day in the Wildlife

Crate where they use to get the sea lions and seals.



Then Mitch walked us through what happens when they get a call. They make sure the animal is really stranded. They come prepared with crates and their volunteers use these panels to protect the animals and themselves.





At the Marine Mammal center there are 1100 volunteers and 45 paid staff. They work 13-14 hours a day. There is a lot that goes into caring for the animals.

How can I help save animals

These pictures are taken outside The Marine Mammal Center.

The animal hospital is state of the art and uses solar panels that help provide power to the center, and also provide a shaded area for the mammals.

Help Save Wildlife


Panorama shot of the center.
Mitch showing us how to approach wildlife.


How to help a stranded marine mammal

Learning how to care for animals.

Visit the Marine Mammal Center



Close up for the hospital.

The Marine Mammal Center Tour




Seal Vs. Sea Lion



1. Do not touch, pick up or feed the animal. Do not return the animal to water.

2. Observe the animal from the distance of at least 50 feet. Keep people and dogs away.

3. Note physical characteristics such as size, presence of external ears and fur color.

4. Note the animal’s condition. Is it weak or skinny? Does it have any open wounds?

5. Look for any obvious identification tags or markings.

6. Determine the animals’s exact location for accurate reporting.

7. Call the Marine Mammal Center with as much information as you have.



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Kathy Dalton
Go Adventure Mom’s found, Kathy Dalton, launched Go Adventure Mom in 2012 in an effort to bring women together that love travel and the outdoors. As a former ski instructor, Kathy has taken her love for outdoor recreation and through the power of social media has created a platform to share her passion with the world. As a mom of three, Kathy loves to share her family adventures in Utah, cross-country skiing up Millcreek Canyon, skiing in the Wasatch Mountains, camping in Grand Teton National Park and camping in the Uintas. Kathy has been featured in The New York Times, The Huffington Post, Parents and Parenting magazine. Kathy is a regular contributor to Visit Salt Lake and is a tip contributor on TripAdvisor.
Kathy Dalton

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