Our volunteers interpret marine life exhibits for more than 400,000 annual visitors.
Volunteer of the Month
Betty Weber: June 2013
Over 20 years ago Birch Aquarium gained one of its most
valuable and consistent volunteers in Betty
Weber! Many of you may have never met her because she spends the
majority of her time in the classroom assisting Birch educators with Discovery
Labs. Whether she is collecting squid to dissect, leading the chaperone talk or
guiding students to touch live animals gently, Betty is a huge asset to the
As a former classroom teacher who was also docent trained
in 1993, educators and staff take comfort in knowing that with her experience
and expertise in formal and informal settings, Betty is capable of handling any
situation. As Discovery Labs wrap up for the year and we start to gear up for
Summer Learning Adventure Camps Betty helps us prepare for a busy summer season
by prepping crafts and helping with inventory. We just wanted to take a moment
to recognize and thank Betty for her hard work and dedication to Birch
The 3,000+ hours and students reached are quantifiable but Betty’s
positivity, reliability and infectious personality are priceless. Thanks,
Volunteer at Birch Aquarium
Please Note: Our next open house will be in June 2013. Applications are welcome and will be processed in April.
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.
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.
Exhibits Interpreter (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 4-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.
Aquarium Explorations Team Instructor (October through June)
Facilitate Aquarium Explorations (AX) using interpretive activities,
exploration, observation and worksheets. Work with chaperones,
teachers and fellow volunteers in a team environment to complete
Training: Attend one 2-hour orientation course and/or on-the-job training.
Discovery Lab 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.
Education Assistant (year-round) POSITION FULL
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.
Whale Watching Volunteer (December through March)
Assist with interpretation of whale artifacts and sightings on naturalist-guided whale-watching tours leaving twice daily from downtown San Diego.
Training: Attend mandatory training course the first week of December.
Who can I contact?