Connect to the Planet. Promote Curiosity. Inspire Stewardship.

At Birch Aquarium, our dedicated volunteers shape the experience of guests from around the world. They facilitate discovery about the habitats and creatures of our ocean, inspiring conservation and showcasing the groundbreaking research happening at Scripps Institution of Oceanography. 

Annually, more than 400 volunteers guide guests through exhibits, answer questions and facilitate animal encounters. From students and working adults to retired professionals, Birch Aquarium has been enriched by service and expertise from volunteers of all backgrounds.

Volunteers are asked to make a minimum six-month commitment of one 4-hour shift per week — no short term or summer internship opportunities are available.

Interested in Becoming a Volunteer? 

Before clicking on the button below to apply, please have two reference letters ready to upload. Here are the reference letter instructions you may send to those who will provide you letters.

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Volunteer Roles

We follow all UC San Diego Covid-19 safety protocols, which means conditions and requirements for volunteer positions are subject to change. Volunteers must be fully vaccinated and boosted.

Tide Pool Interpreter

Though more than 80% of the ocean is unexplored, much more is known about the tidepool environment because of its easy accessibility. The animals and algae that make tidepools their home are also vulnerable to various threats.  Highlight the unique adaptations of the tide pool organisms and help guests understand more about this habitat.

Greeter Volunteer

Welcome first-time and returning guests alike.  Provide safety reminders, way-finding information and answer general questions.  Share pro tips on must-see animals and your favorites!

Aquarist Assistant

Volunteers seeking to help in this role must begin in other areas listed above first. These volunteers help our husbandry staff with cleaning and various tasks related to maintaining healthy exhibits for our living collections. Aquarist assistants may make observations of water conditions, food preparation, and possibly help with feedings (however, this is not a guarantee). In this role volunteers are expected to fill a consistent 4-hour shift on a weekly basis. Experience is a plus and training is provided regardless of previous experience

School Programs Assistant

Assist staff in the classroom with a 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.

For more information, please reach out to our Volunteer Resources Manager, Ashley Pries, at aepries@ucsd.edu.