A look behind the scenes

by firmm Team

Text: Nina and Katharina, photos: firmm

At the end of the season 2009 we are letting you take a look behind the scenes. Numerous hands and heads are necessary for firmm to fulfil the foundations purpose to protect and study marine mammals. Before each trip and boarding the boat the guests receive information about the firmm foundation, the Strait of Gibraltar and the here present whales and dolphins. In one season our volunteers hold up to 1500 short educational lectures in up to 4 languages! During the research trips 2 captains, who are also mechanics, 2 Marineros, the marine biologist and an expert from the foundation ensure safe as well as unforgettable encounters with the whales and dolphins in the Strait of Gibraltar.

Staff Members of firmm from the summer 2009

Jörn SellingJörn Selling, Marine Biologist

Growing up with German parents in Uruguay, studying marine biology in Hamburg, Jörn has already been working with firmm for 7 years as a marine biologist in Tarifa, a guide on the boat trips, Marinero and person responsible for IT issues. With a lot of dedication, animal lover Jörn also cares for Tarifa’s homeless cats.

Nina CziczekNina Cziczek

Growing up at the Lake Constance in Germany, Nina came to Tarifa in 2001 as an enthusiastic surfer. Since 2006 she has been guiding firmm’s skills with authorities, suppliers, schools and hotels. With charm and strong nerves she appoints thousands of guests to their seats on the boat, looks after course participants and as office manager acts as contact person for all the joys and concerns from the voluntaries.

Evelyne RuferEvelyne Rufer

Went from the middle of March to the middle of June on all of the promotional tours to tourist offices and hotels from Cadiz to Malaga and helped with the administration at the beginning of the season.

Jose Diego Diaz Piñero

For 6 years as an established member of the boating crew, first as Marinero and by now as qualified captain. Diego is always present in tricky situations, such as when needed in the middle of the night to protect the boats from a sudden storm or organize a competition for the Day of the Oceans in Tarifa’s schools.

Eduardo Montano Peralta

As of last year Marinero Eduardo is an established part of firmm’s boatcrew. Due to his good eye he quickly seeks out the marine mammals. With his attentive, radiating and gentlemanlike nature he excelently cares for our guests.

Sebastian Gonzalez Fernandez

For 3 years the captain Gonzalez has skilfully steered firmm’s boats through the oceans waves. He is also very talented in seeking out the animals and not only helps spotting these, but also knows how to respectfully approach them.

Fernando Fernandez Araujo

Temporary-Marinero in July and August, when both boats were able to go on trips at the same time. He excellently completes the boat crew as a genuine Tarifeño.

Volunteers with firmm during the Season of 2009

Niko BünteNiko Bünte

Started his voluntary service already in the middle of March with flyertours. He held numerous information-lectures in German, English and Spanish until the end of the summer. As author of our popular “Fish-Flyer” and due to his great knowledge about the marinelife he was a popular contact person for our young and older guests.

Eva SchneidersEva Schneiders

Wildlife-Management-Student Eva supported us as a volunteer energetically from the beginning of the season until the end of July. She held many committed information-lectures, among others also in Dutch. Her competence greatly contributed to strengthening our trust in younger volunteers.

Pia AckermannPia Ackermann

Was also available as a volunteer from the beginning of the season for 3 months. She was especially a big help for Katharina by writing many articles and features. Together with our graphic designer she created the first firmm press portfolio. This portfolio can be downloaded on www.firmm.org.

Patrick SchaffnerPatrick Schaffner

As a qualified painter he was the “man for everything” during his 6 month long voluntary service. He not only carried out many handy jobs, but also gave the office in the old town as well as the Centro a new coat of paint. The transfers from and to the Malaga Airport for our course participants also fell into his domain.

Jenni SchenkJenni Schenk

Helped out during her 2 month long voluntary service in the springtime with practical and administrative jobs. Dependably she attended to numerous errands and covered the teams back on the front.

Ludmilla SpycherLudmilla Spycher

From French-speaking Switzerland she supported us in the summer for 6 weeks with numerous French information-lectures (for which Katharina was especially grateful) and several translations.

Rafael SpadazziRafael Spadazzi

Already a volunteer for firmm in 2001, he was again a great help for 4 weeks over the summer. Apart from holding information-lectures in Spanish and French he re-evaluated the research data from 2000/2001 with a new program. His goal is that soon everyone can see the whereabouts of the whales and dolphins around Tarifa on the firmm website.

Gabriele PichlerGabriele Pichler

With her proficiency in Spanish and English, she handled the hectic 2.5 months high-season with sovereignty. Quickly known as slightly chaotic, we had a lot of fun with her due to her merry and open personality.

Yvonne ZollingerYvonne Zollinger

With her background as a journalist, she not only took over the German information-lectures but also collaborated in many articles and Weblogs over her 7-week voluntary service.

Dennis KöchlingDennis Köchling

Provided us with his help as volunteer this summer already for the second time. Due to his friendly nature and his heart in the right place he was very popular both amongst our guests as well as the team.

Mona BüchnerMona Büchner

Came to firmm during the summer as a course participant and spontaneously decided to stay for 4 weeks as a volunteer. Her absolute strength lay in her engaged German information-lectures.

Verena VogtVerena Vogt

Due to her very good proficiency in English, Verena held many English information-lectures during her 4 week long voluntary service in midsummer.

Justine SchmidtJustine Schmidt

Similarly as in the previous year, she assisted us for 2 weeks in midsummer. As an American with very good French- and Spanish-proficiency she repeatedly overwhelmed us every time with her lectures and other translation- and correction-jobs.

Anita MurguAnita Murgu

Distinguished herself over her 6 week voluntary service through her untiring commitment and her professional Spanish. Her lovable and affectionate personality positively affected the guests and the whole team.

Diana Alikusi

Great interest and engagement for animals lead Diana to firmm as a volunteer for the last two months of the season. Due to her very good proficiency in English she predominantly attended to our English-speaking guests.

Christina DreesChristina Drees

Completed the season with us with a 6 week long voluntary service. For her competent and engaged information lectures in German she numerously received a big applause.

Manuela ZapfManuela Zapf

Serendipitously and fortunately joined firmm’s volunteers-team in the beginning of October for 4 weeks. Due to her knowledge in graphic design she largely helped with processing the photos.

Additional Helpers from afar

At this point we would like to cordially thank all of our loyal helpers afar!

Caroline BurgerCaroline Burger

Switzerland, for 10 years active in the administration Switzerland over the summer months and caters at firmm festivities.

Heike Pahlow and Mario MüllerHeike Pahlow and Mario Müller

Machern near Leipzig, since 1999 webmaster and writer for www.firmm.org, initialists and producers of the firmm booklet.

Jürg BrackJürg Brack

Switzerland, computer scientist and webmaster of www.dolphinresort.org, supervises the whole address database including the shipment of the firmm newsletter.

Sebastian Kanzler

Graphic designer and near biologist, has been providing his services from Hamburg around the clock over the last 4 years. He illustrates for all the brochures, flyers, advertisements, newsletters, calendars and so on. Initiator and producer of the new „Whale and Dolphin“ quartet: www.walquartett.de

Last but not least we also thank all of our diligent translators and proofreaders for their excellent support from around the globe!

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