How do I get started? Can anyone apply? Is there a matching gifts program for volunteers? Find answers to these questions and more.
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 specific roles and shift availability.
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.
Academy volunteer opportunities
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.
Engage and inspire Academy guests to explore and gather greater understanding of science and the natural world through conversation and interpersonal connection. Docent volunteers offer guests opportunities to connect science and nature to their own experiences through the exploration of specimens and experiments. These interactions spark curiosity and encourage guests to actions that regenerate the natural world through science, learning, and collaboration. Docent volunteers are taught the best practices of informal engagement, fundamental scientific principles, and Academy initiatives.
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, gain an understanding of how to communicate with students of varying ages and backgrounds. Shifts are at least two fixed weekdays per week (Monday-Thursday) from 8:30am-1:30pm during the school year until May.
Cantonese-English Bilingual School Programs Volunteer
Do you speak fluent Cantonese and read Chinese? Do you also enjoy working with school groups in an informal setting? This volunteer opportunity provides an in-depth, hands-on experience for bilingual Cantonese-English individuals interested in informal education. Volunteers participating in the program will learn teaching techniques, gain an understanding of how to communicate with students of varying ages and backgrounds. Schedule will be between 8:45am-1:30pm Monday to Thursday until the end of May. Applicants may choose any number of mornings or be on an on-call basis. Participation is encouraged at occasional group trainings on Friday mornings.
Naturalist Center Engagement Volunteer
Love science, but have limited availability? Naturalist Center volunteers explore and explain science through informal and interactive educational engagements. Spend one, three-hour session per month utilizing prepared activity boxes that include education props, tools, and/or natural history specimens. Share the awe and wonder of science. This position is an opportunity to gain a wide variety of knowledge around science education and engaging all-age audiences.
Would you like to act like a kid again? Does flying paper airplanes and building forts sound like fun? If so, we invite you to play like a kid again and help us facilitate STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math) programs for our youngest guests. STEAM Volunteers will be working with children under 5 years old primarily, so enjoying working with children is highly encouraged. Shifts are three-and-a-half hours (days of the week can vary).
Special Events Volunteer
Not your typical Saturday night out! Learn to engage with guests and how to easily share science conversations and stories with them at all types of private evening parties and events. Special Events guests are often first time guests. Helping them explore the wonder of our natural world is often the first step in inspiring them to make small changes that further the Academy’s mission to regenerate the natural world. Share hope for the planet and have fun as a Special Events volunteer.
Join the Academy’s guest experience team! Meet, greet, and guide Academy visitors as a roving concierge, helping visitors to make the best use of their time by providing impromptu itineraries and helpful suggestions. We ask for a commitment of only four hours each month, making Orienteering the Academy’s most flexible volunteer program.
Research Collections Volunteer
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. Our collections include: Anthropology, Botany, Entomology, Herpetology, Ichthyology, Invertebrate Zoology & Geology, or Ornithology & Mammalogy.
Enjoy being outside and working with plants? Join us in becoming an integral part of beautifying our iconic living roof and botanic gardens. Our volunteer teams are a great way to expand your knowledge of California native plants and horticulture in a friendly group environment. Enthusiasm is all that is required as we provide ongoing training opportunities!
Data Entry and Administrative Volunteer
Looking for a project-based volunteer opportunity? Have Excel experience, a strong attention to detail, and an easy demeanor? The Academy is looking to develop a corps of volunteers we can contact as needed to complete various administrative tasks. Throughout the year our needs fluctuate, but there’s always work to be done behind the scenes to support our world-class museum and research.
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.