Laura Howes grew up hundreds of miles from an ocean, and yet she felt a deep connection to whales from a young age. She headed to Maine for college, where she studied marine mammal conservation and interned for a local whale watch.
She’s shared her passion for marine conservation for the past ten years as a City Cruises Boston Crew Member. Even outside of her job with City Cruises, Laura continues to follow her passion; she volunteers her time doing whale tagging work with the Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary, studying the underwater movements of whales using non-invasive suction cup tags.
For more from Laura, check out her interview with Boston.com on the many opportunities for whale watching across Massachusetts.
How would you describe a typical day in your role?
When you go offshore, every day is different. You can be surprised by a new whale behavior you haven’t seen before, be exposed to a variety of offshore weather conditions (from snow squalls to hot, sunny haze), and meet new guests to educate. I am constantly multitasking—working as a naturalist requires a balancing act between customer service, education on the mic, taking whale photos, and managing our interns as they collect data. We also operate up to four whale watch boats a day, so my multitasking continues to make sure that all trips are staffed with a naturalist.
If you want our guests to take away one thing during their experience, what would it be?
People are connected to the ocean no matter where they live in the world, and their actions can directly impact the health of the ocean and its wildlife.
What do you love most about the City you work in?
The fact that we have Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary at our doorstep is incredible! We have some of the most exciting wildlife in the ocean just a boat ride away.
What amazing experience has this job created for you?
I am truly fortunate to have a wonderful staff of naturalists who love what they do; it inspires me to be a better manager and excited to come to work each day. Their energy is contagious—our guests always comment on their knowledge and excitement for what they do!
When guests visit your city, what is one local place you love that is a “must see?”
I highly recommend the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. That museum is an entire work of art! And as a nature lover, the Harvard Natural History Museum is a must. I love the whale skeletons that include baleen in their mouths (most whale skeleton articulations don’t include that!)