• Docent volunteer with cats engagment
    Academy docent leading an engagement in the Tusher African Hall.
  • Collections volunteer with avian specimens.
    Collections volunteer working with our ornithology specimens. 
  • Orienteer greeting guests
    An Orienteer greeting Academy guests as they enter the musuem.
  • Academy docent engaging with guests
    Academy docent engaging guests with ichthyology specimens.
  • Dive volunteer in the Cal Coast exhibit
    Academy dive volunteer at work in our California Coast habitat.
  • Ichthyology collections volunteer at work
    Ichthyology collections volunteer preparing a specimen.
  • Docent engaging on the public floor
    Academy docent engaging with guests on our exhibit hall.
  • Husbandry volunteer preparing animal diets
    Our husbandry volunteer preparing diet for our animals in the Steinhart Aquarium.
  • Docent volunteer leading a Spectroscopy activity
    Academy docent leading a Spectroscopy activity.
  • Volunteer Aquarium Divers getting ready
    Volunteer Aquarium Divers getting ready for a dive in our California Coast habitat.

Thank you for your interest in volunteering at the California Academy of Sciences! Please scroll down to view currently available opportunities and role descriptions.

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 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.


Adult Volunteer Opportunities

Follow the link below to view available volunteer roles, shift requirements, and to apply. We are accepting applications from anyone 18 years of age and over.

Our team strives to review every application promptly. However, due to high level of interest and evolving needs of the Academy, we may prioritize review for certain roles. Please allow up to two months for our team to process your application. Feel free to reach out to us at volunteers@calacademy.org if you have any questions.


Teen Volunteer Opportunity

Thank you for your interest in our teen volunteer opportunity. Following the success of our Spring pilot program, we are delighted to announce that the Academy Naturalist Teen (ANT) volunteer opportunity is returning this Fall!

The Fall Academy Naturalist Teen (ANT) is a short-term volunteer program for teens ages 15-17, offered from September - December, 2023.

Applications open May 15 - June 30, 2023.

Donor recognition wall

Volunteer Role Descriptions

Learn more about our active volunteer roles and download the complete position description. Please note that our recruitment needs vary throughout the year, please check our application above for a list of current openings.

Academy Naturalist Teen (ANT) Volunteer
Owl Pellets Naturalist Center

Are you a teen who is interested in inspiring others to explore the natural world? The Academy is very excited to be piloting a new volunteer role this spring, just for teens age 15-17! Help Academy guests of all ages learn, tinker and investigate, while gaining skills in public speaking and informal science engagement. Please read the role description for specific shift and training requirements. Applications accepted December 1st 2022 through January 1st, 2023 and spots are limited!

Animal Health Volunteer
animal husbandry record keeping

Do you have an interest in back-of-house animal husbandry? Do you have 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
chinook salmon

Are you able to make a weekly volunteer commitment and are interested in working with the inhabitants of Steinhart Aquarium? The 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.

Comparative Genomics Volunteer
Comparative Genomics in Action

*Please note that due to the nature of this role. previous experience is required.

Are you someone with experience working in molecular lab, and have an interest in flexing your skills to assist genomic researchers with active biodiversity research? Join our team as a volunteer in the Center for Comparative Genomics (CCG)! CCG volunteers assist with lab upkeep as well as actively participating in laboratory work.

Living Roof Landscaping Volunteer
Moe Flannery Living Roof Photo

Do you enjoy working outside, have an interest in native California flora, and are enthusiastic about horticulture work? If this sounds like you, this role might be for you. Living Roof volunteers supports the horticulture operations staff in maintaining and improving the Academy's iconic 2.5-acre rooftop botanical ecosystem.

Please note that this role will involve working outdoors, performing moderately strenuous physical tasks, and may include lifting and carrying items weighing up to 30 lbs.

Planned Giving and Donorship Administrative Volunteer
monarch butterflies

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, scanning and labeling documents, and supporting other administrative projects. 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)
docent in the rainforest

Are you looking to help engage Academy guests in our mission to regenerate the natural world? From helping visitors navigate the museum to educating guests about scientific specimens to engaging our youngest visitors 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
osher rainforest

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)
chris grinter collections

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

School Programs Volunteer
little naturalists

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. Participating volunteers will learn teaching techniques and gain an understanding of how to communicate with students of varying ages and backgrounds.

Scientific Computing Volunteer
comparative genomics

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
Madagascar day gecko

Do you have an interest in birds, reptiles, amphibians, insects, or 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 Academy's rainforest, so is best suited to those who are comfortable working in hot and humid environments.

Volunteer Aquarium Diver
aquarium dive show

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:
Academy Volunteer Programs Team