Volunteers are an integral part of the California Academy of Sciences ever since our founding back in 1853. Indeed, the Academy's founding members were themselves volunteers! Thank you for joining us and supporting the Academy's mission to regenerate the natural world.

Mission Statement

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The mission of the Academy Volunteer Program is to directly support the Academy’s mission to regenerate the natural world through science, learning, and collaboration. This is our call to action! Volunteers accomplish this by:

  • Leading informal and interactive educational engagements with Academy guests that inspire curiosity, learning, and action based on scientific knowledge. Utilizing conversation and hands-on experiences guests discover the wonder of science and nature, using authentic scientific information consistent with Academy main messages and goals.
  • Assisting with educational programs by facilitating conversation and hands-on experiences that connect students K-12 with science concepts and the natural world.
  • Orienting guests to maximize their enjoyment and engagement with Academy exhibits and mission.
  • Supporting learning and biodiversity science through work with Academy scientists and collections
  • Assisting the Academy in maintaining live exhibits, and caring for the plants and animals that call the Academy home. This volunteer service is crucial in building stronger connections between guests and the natural world.
  • Supporting many departments/areas around the Academy, such as Philanthropy and Horticulture, in achieving Academy goals.

We Are On Ramaytush Ohlone Land

The California Academy of Sciences is a research institution and natural history museum in the heart of San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park. We respectfully acknowledge that the California Academy of Sciences resides on the unceded ancestral homeland of the Ramaytush (rah-my-toosh) Ohlone who are the original inhabitants of the San Francisco Peninsula. As the original peoples of this land, the Ramaytush Ohlone have never ceded, lost, nor forgotten their responsibilities as caretakers of this place. As guests, we recognize that we benefit from living and working on their traditional homeland, and wish to pay our respects by acknowledging the Ancestors, Elders, and Relatives of the Ramaytush Community and affirming their sovereign rights as First Peoples.

Adapted from the Land Acknowledgment statement adopted by the San Francisco Human Rights Commission. The Academy is actively working on developing an institution wide, public acknowledgment.


Academy Volunteer Essentials

The following are a partial list of the materials and resources that are provided to all Academy Volunteers. You will receive an email with information on all required trainings, documents, and videos.

Please review the information in full and reach out to us at volunteers@calacademy.org if you have any questions.

Essential Orientation Videos
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The following videos will help you get acquainted with some of the teams, spaces, and basic policies of the California Academy of Sciences. These are by no means complete and you can expect to learn much more during your initial training sessions.

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The Academy Volunteer Handbook is your comprehensive guide for all things academy volunteer, including the related Academy-wide policies and procedures. Please take the time to review this handbook in full.

Gems and minerals unearthed

Being an official Academy Volunteer certainly has its perks, including discounts on academy purchases and many more! Review the Volunteer Perks document for more details.

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We use the Volgistics software to schedule and manage volunteer activities at the academy. Follow this link to access the VicNet self-scheduling system, or refer to this information guide for more details.

Need to Contact Us?
The best way to reach us is by email. You may also call us and leave a message for any immediate needs.
Academy Volunteer Programs Team
(415) 379-8206
Academy Security Contact
[for urgent onsite support]
(415) 379-5100