Welcome, prospective volunteers! The Volunteer Services department provides a connection between the diverse Bay Area community and our museum, research, and administration. All volunteers are part of the greater Academy community as we work to explore, explain, and sustain life on Earth. We look for volunteers with a collaborative spirit, who work well and respectfully with others.

All volunteers must be 18 or older. Volunteer needs fluctuate throughout the year.

Volunteer Docents - New Classes Starting in March!

A docent shows young visitors some specimens in jars.

Do you love to engage people about the natural sciences? The Academy's docents use an informal and conversational approach with guests to spark curiosity, inspire action, and foster an interest in continued scientific discovery. Docents are trained in theory and best practices of informal engagement, taught fundamental scientific principles and Academy initiatives, and receive training in Specialty Areas.

The docent program requires its volunteers to work three, 3.5-hour shifts per month during a minimum six-month commitment. 

Our upcoming docent Specialty Area classes:

"Let's Get Physical": June 2018. Dates soon TBD. Please check back soon!

Please complete the volunteer application and select docent under interests if you'd like to learn more!


Explore our current opportunities!

A volunteer holds up a jar full of preserved specimens.

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.

I woman helps a young visitor with a craft project

Family Programs Volunteer

Would you like to act like a kid again? Flying paper airplanes, building forts... sound like fun?If so, we invite you to play like a kid again and help us facilitate family programs for our youngest guests. Family Programs Volunteers will be working with children under 5 years old primarily, so enjoying working with children is highly encouraged. Shifts are two and a half hours (days of the week can vary) and initial training of Volunteers will take place on March 3rd. 

The front lobby of the museum


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 4 hours each month making Orienteering the Academy’s most flexible volunteer program!

Position Description

A diver gives a presentation from inside the aquarium tank

Volunteer Aquarium Divers

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 tank.Program requirements:

  • Rescue SCUBA Diver certification
  • Minimum of 50 logged SCUBA Dives and 6 logged dives in the last 12 months
  • Current CPR, First Aid, and Oxygen Provider certifications
  • Pass the Academy diver medical exam (conducted by your physician)
  • Pass the Academy swimming and SCUBA diving skill pool evaluation
  • Commitment of 2 dive shifts per month on a standing schedule
  • Live within a 75 mile radius of the Academy
A view of the living roof covered in green grass.

Landscaping Volunteers

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!


Living Roof Volunteer Description


A hand is shown filling out a form

Data Entry and Administrative Volunteers

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.

A butterfly rests on a leaf inside the rainforest dome.

Aquarium and Rainforest Volunteers

Work with our Steinhart Aquarium staff, the team responsible for the nearly 40,000 animals that make their home at the Academy. Aquarium volunteers learn how assist with the care of a wide range of aquatic and terrestrial animals (and their environments) by testing water quality, checking on animal health, and even flexing those horticultural skills.

Share This