Our volunteers interpret marine life exhibits for more than 400,000 annual visitors.
Volunteers of the Month: March 2014
Nancy Unfried & Gary Roeck
It is our pleasure to recognize our volunteers of the month of March: Nancy Unfried and Gary Roeck. They are being
acknowledged as a pair because they are both commonly found at the information
center on Thursday mornings. This Thursday team has been with Birch Aquarium
for almost four years and when one or both are gone their absence is felt. From
organizing the visitor guide rack and file drawer of information to replacing
the hand sanitizer, no detail goes unnoticed.
In addition to keeping our workspace tidy and organized these two are
exemplary with customer service. Every guest is greeted, oriented and often
times personally walked to their destination. During quiet times Gary and Nancy
take turns making the rounds through the Hall of Fishes and the Scripps
Explorers Gallery to ensure that they’re up-to-date on all the changes. They
also take the time to research and investigate individual species when they
receive tank updates. Both of these individuals are dedicated to improving the
guest experience and this is evident through their professionalism, follow
through with guest questions and “lists of suggestions” they share with us.
Thank you to Gary and Nancy for committing to the Aquarium every Thursday and
for sharing their interests in marine science with staff and guests alike. Keep
up the great work!
Please remember that all Birch Aquarium staff and volunteers
are invited to nominate volunteers that are going above and beyond in their
line of duty. Winners are chosen each month and the nomination forms can be
found in the Volunteer Department.
Volunteer at Birch Aquarium
Please Note: Open House events are scheduled quarterly. Once your application is submitted, you will receive details on how to sign up.
Help visitors from around the world discover the wonders of the ocean.
Inspire conservation and showcase the groundbreaking research at Scripps
Institution of Oceanography. Annually, more than 300 volunteers guide visitors through exhibits, answer
questions, and work behind the scenes. From students and working adults
to retired professionals, Birch Aquarium seeks a variety of expertise
from volunteers of all backgrounds.
Thoughts from a Volunteer
"Working at the tide pools was something I looked forward to all week, and now that I've graduated it is the thing I miss most about school. I've realized that working at the aquarium has fostered my confidence and communication skills, all from being on a beautiful patio four hours a week. Thank you for letting me open the eyes of children to the wonders of the world. Thank you for letting me share my knowledge and passion."
- Lauren, 4-year volunteer
All positions require attendance at a new applicant Open House which is offered quarterly. Volunteers are asked to make a minimum six month commitment of one 4 hour shift per week and to purchase an annual Volunteer Membership at $30 upon successful completion of the applicant interview. Volunteer member benefits include free unlimited admission for the volunteer, free aquarium passes annually, informative special lectures, and other discounts and exclusive opportunities. Applicants must be at least 16 to be considered for our program.
Tide Pool Volunteer (year-round)
Help make our simulated tide pool and adjacent interpretive station
come alive for our visitors by demonstrating coping
strategies for life in a harsh environment.
Training: Attend one 2-hour mandatory training course.
Information Center Volunteer (year-round)
Welcome visitors, provide an orientation to the facility, answer questions and distribute literature on aquarium programs.
Training: On-the-job training.
Education Assistant (October through June)
Assist aquarium instructors in the classroom with hands-on curriculum
covering a variety of marine topics including tide pools, fish
diversity and kelp forests. Volunteers must first clear a background check to participate in this program.
Training: Attend one 4-hour orientation course.
Public Programs Assistant (year-round)
Assist instructors with onsite and offsite educational activities,
including birthday parties, outreach classes and field programs.
Training: Attend one 4-hour orientation course.
Advanced Volunteer Jobs
* Volunteers must start in another area first.
Aquarist Assistant (year-round)
Assist aquarists by cleaning and maintaining tanks, monitoring water and air conditions, preparing food, feeding, and shore collecting. Due to the responsibilities involved in helping our husbandry staff care for our animals, aquarist assistants must work a consistent 4-hour shift on a weekly basis.
Training: Previous experience is preferred, but additional training is provided on the job.
Volunteers only available on the weekends will have a longer wait than those available on the weekdays.
Docent Ambassador (year-round)
Serve in a lead capacity for interpretive volunteers and interns through mentoring, training, and serving as Shift Captains as requested by staff; develop and present interpretive talks and tours; be highly visible to the public in order to answer questions and convey information in an interpretive manner throughout the facility; give interpretive presentations during feedings including Kelp Tank Dive shows; and assist with evening special events.
Training: Attend mandatory 32-hour training course and regular meetings.
Volunteers must work as an Exhibits Interpreter for 4-6 months prior to docent training. Docent training is offered periodically.
Who can I contact?