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Thank you for your interest in volunteering with the Academy! Applications are now open for a variety of volunteer positions, for anyone 18 years of age and over. Please click Apply Now to view available roles and shift requirements.

The California Academy of Sciences welcomes people of all backgrounds, identities, and beliefs to join us in achieving our mission to regenerate the natural world through science, learning, and collaboration. We place diversity, equity, and inclusion at the heart of our recruiting efforts and strive to build a culture centered on mutual respect, equal treatment, and the opportunity to succeed. We look for volunteers 18 and up with a collaborative spirit who work well and respectfully with others.

All Academy staff and volunteers are required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19, including receiving a booster shot when eligible as a condition of their service, absent qualifying exemptions in accordance with applicable laws. Volunteer applicants who are selected to enter the program will be provided the full text of the vaccination policy.

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Academy volunteer opportunities

Click a volunteer opportunity below to learn more and download the complete positition description. 

Animal Health Volunteer

Do you have an interest in back-of-house animal husbandry and great attention to detail? Come volunteer with the Academy's Animal Health Team in our hospital and quarantine areas. Volunteers assist with cleaning exhibits, preparing diets, observing medical procedures, and record-keeping. This role offers the opportunity to learn more about the process of introducing new animals to our exhibits and how we provide veterinary care for our living collection.

Aquarium Husbandry Volunteer

Looking to get up close and personal with the inhabitants of Steinhart Aquarium, and have the time to make a weekly volunteer commitment? Aquarium Husbandry Volunteers assist staff in a variety of tasks involved in caring for our aquatic animals and habitats, and are guaranteed to get wet and dirty. Great for aquarium hobbyists or those looking to learn what it takes to work in the aquarium field.

Planned Giving and Donorship Administrative Volunteer

Are you looking to use your administrative skills to help regenerate the natural world? Do you have great penmanship, strong organizational skills, or great data entry experience? Join our Development team as an Administrative Support Volunteer. Tasks range from writing handwritten notes to our donors, to scanning and labeling documents, to all kinds of other administrative tasks. Great for those looking to make a monthly commitment or those looking for a shorter-term project that can be completed in a few shifts.

Public Programs and Guest Experience Volunteer (multiple roles)

Are you looking to help engage Academy guests in our mission to regenerate the natural world? From helping visitors navigate the muesum to educating guests about scientific specimens to engaging our youngest vistors in facilitated play and exploration, Public Programs and Guest Experience Volunteers help bring the Academy's mission to life. Browse through the variety of opportunities available to find the perfect role to match your interests and availability.

Rainforest Horticulture Volunteer

Are you a plant enthusiast with an interest in tropical ecosystems? Rainforest Horticulture Volunteers assist with the daily maintenance of the plants inside the Academy, including plants inside our rainforest dome. This role offers the opportunity to expand your horticulture knowledge and skills. Must be able to work in hot and humid conditions.

Research Collections Volunteer (multiple roles)

Help Academy collections managers prepare and maintain scientific collections in our research departments. Individual duties are diverse—mount plants, classify bones, re-bottle specimens, document collections, and more—but all volunteers are immersed in the principles and techniques of modern scientific-collections management.​

School Programs Volunteer

Enjoy working with school groups in an informal setting? This training program provides an in-depth, hands-on experience for people interested in informal education. Volunteers participating in the program will learn teaching techniques and gain an understanding of how to communicate with students of varying ages and backgrounds.

Scientific Computing Volunteer

Genomics, collections, and computing infrastructure all need your help! Bring your programming, IT, and database skills to help with tasks ranging from regular maintenance to groundbreaking research work. Positions will be tailored to skill sets and volunteer availability.

Terrestrial Husbandry Volunteer

Do you have an interest in birds, reptiles, amphibians, insects, and even arachnids? Terrestrial Husbandry Volunteers assist staff in many of the tasks involved in routine animal husbandry of the terrestrial animals who call the Academy home. This role may involve working inside the rainforest, so is best suited to those who thrive in hot and humid environments.

Volunteer Aquarium Diver

Plunge into stunningly beautiful environments while feeding fish and keeping tanks sparkling clean. Interested divers may also be trained to deliver dive presentations in our Philippine Coral Reef exhibit.

Water Quality Volunteer

Keeping our living collections healthy and thriving means making sure that their habitats are cared for as well! Water Quality Volunteers learn to assist in conducting water quality tests on samples they collect from exhibits throughout Steinhart Aquarium. Do you have experience in a laboratory setting and an interest in helping the Academy to care for our living collection? Come join the Water Quality Team!

Frequently asked questions

How do I get started? Can anyone apply? Is there a matching gifts program for volunteers? Find answers to these questions and more.

Contact us
Still have questions about volunteering? Feel free to contact us:
Volunteer Programs Team