Current Volunteer Needs

Please review our current needs before submitting an application. To apply for any of these positions, please complete the volunteer application . The Volunteer Department will contact you to schedule an interview. If you have specific questions, please call Janet Morris at 619.255.0245 or . Science department openings are limited and you must be 18 years old to volunteer for the science departments.

Please review our current needs before submitting an application.

Apply to Volunteer

Interested in employment at the Museum? View our current job openings .

Join the City Nature Challenge and Balboa Park Bioblitz.

Join the San Diego Natural History Museum for the City Nature Challenge. City Nature Challenge is a worldwide competition to see which city can make the most observations of their local plants and animals over a 4-day period. And San Diego is one of only 35 biodiversity hotspots in the world, so we should have this in the bag! From April 27-30, 2018, The Nat is spearheading our local effort to document as many species as possible via iNaturalist. Not familiar with the app? Not to worry, it’s super user-friendly. All you have to do is take photos of plants and animals that you see while you are traipsing in the outdoors and upload to the iNaturalist website. We are also looking for volunteers to staff our Scientist Lounge during the Balboa Park Bioblitz Friday, April 28–29. For more information contact Lauren Marino Perez at or 619.255.0256. No need to fill out an application.

Join our summer camp aide program.

It's not too early to think about summer! Do you love children? Are you 16–18 years old? Join our camp aide program for Summer Camp; June 18–August 24, 2018. Volunteers in our camps insure that our campers have an enjoyable and safe experience. Ideal Camp Aides enjoy working with children and are willing to get their hands dirty during craft or other activities. Shifts are 8 AM–4:30 PM. We ask for a minimum commitment of 2 weeks with 3 weeks preferred. Minimum age is 16. Please complete a volunteer application and we will contact you for an interview. We require two letters of recommendations from a teacher, volunteer supervisor, or another adult who is not a relative. Deadline to apply is May 15, 2018.

Put the NAT in NATuralist.

Join our newest volunteer group—the NATuralists. Engage our guests with fun, interactive games that connect people to nature in a unique way. You don’t have to be an expert in natural history, you just need to be outgoing, able to easily approach strangers, and curious about nature. Minimum age is 16 though we will consider parent/child pairs. We ask for a minimum 2 1/2 hour shift three times a month for 6 months. We are full for now but apply to be considered for the next training in May, 2018.

Make an impact! Become a Docent.

Join our vibrant Docent team and engage young and old alike in the wonders of the rich biodiversity of our region. Docents are trained teaching guides who deliver programs at local schools and in the Museum. The Docents work as teams so it's an opportunity to make new friends. This is a great opportunity for keeping your mind active in retirement. Training is held consecutive Wednesdays; September 12–March 2019 from 9 AM-2 PM. Museum membership is required to be a docent. Training covers all areas of natural history and is taught by museum curators and other local experts. It’s like a college level class! Docents are asked to volunteer 3 hours per week for a two year period. Docents help create programs with the guidance of the museum so there is plenty of opportunity to learn. Minimum age is 18. A background check is required to participate. Apply today.

Explore the wild side of San Diego as a Canyoneer.

Join a crew of hardy hikers and explore the coasts, foothills, mountains, desert, and local canyons. Training begins September 9. As a Canyoneer trail guide, you lead public groups and share your knowledge of the outdoors; knowledge you will gain in the comprehensive Canyoneer training. You trod the wild side of San Diego County, areas that most residents never see. Walks range from 1.5–8 miles on various terrain. This is a weekend opportunity though there are school hikes during the week. Training is consecutive Saturdays from September 8–November 10, 2019; 8 AM-3 PM. Graduation is November 17. Training materials are $25. Canyoneers are asked to lead six hikes per year for two years. The hiking season begins in September and ends in June. The hikes are free, no reservations required, and open to the public. This is a great way to meet others with a similar passion. Minimum age is 18. A background check is required to participate. Apply today. Deadline is Monday, August 13, 2017.

Become a whale naturalist on whale watch cruises.

Join a crew of enthusiastic whale groupies and share your passion for the ocean and its magnificent inhabitants. Training begins October 2. Museum Whalers are trained naturalists who share the wonders of the ocean wilderness with people from around the world. The Tuesday evening classes (October 2–November 27, 2018) include learning about gray whales, rorquals, dolphins, sea lions, seals, birds, and presentation techniques. Scientists from NOAA as well as other local experts are invited as guest speakers. Upon completion of the training Museum Whalers are asked for a commitment of 12 cruises mid-December through April. Cruises are 9:30 and 1:30 daily on Hornblower Cruises and Events leaving from North Harbor Drive. Minimum age is 18 and class size is limited. A background check is required to participate. Apply today. Deadline to apply is August 1.