Become a volunteer and connect people with nature!
The Volunteer Program at the Santa Cruz Museum of Natural History is deeply rooted in our core value of building community around a shared curiosity for and appreciation of the natural environment.
Not only do our volunteers help to facilitate the Museum’s programs and projects that support our mission of connecting people with nature and science to inspire stewardship of the natural world, but they are also important community members that the Museum in turn serves.
Already a Volunteer?
Sign in to the online volunteer calendar.
Interested in volunteering?
Please read through our volunteer opportunities and consider which position(s) best aligns with your interests, schedule, and level of commitment. The link to our Volunteer Application can be found at the bottom of the page.
Saturdays in the Soil
Help us keep our Garden Learning Center thriving for visitors to learn from. This native plant garden requires general landscaping, occasional watering, weeding, and replanting. All ages are welcome; children under 14 require adult supervision.
Duties: Watering, pruning, edging, weeding, planting, sign maintenance and restoration
Relevant skills and interests: gardening, landscaping, native plants
Commitment: No commitment necessary. Held on the third Saturday of every month, from 10 a.m. to noon. RSVP REQUIRED. Email email@example.com to let us know you’re coming!
Be a steward of our natural environment and help us clean-up our Seabright neighborhood beach.
Duties: Pick up trash and recycling and take data to support ongoing research. You can also help us run our check-in station as a Mobile Museum volunteer.
Relevant Skills and Interests: Environmental stewardship, recycling
Commitment: No commitment necessary. Cleanups are hosted regularly by the Museum. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to let us know you’re interested!
CZU Lightning Complex and Community Science Project
The CZU Lightning Complex and Community Science Project is a long-term, volunteer driven, community science monitoring project to collect biodiversity data for broad community use from areas impacted by the CZU Lightning Complex of August 2020. We aim to empower our community to make meaningful observations of our natural world while deepening understanding of fire ecology in the region through regular lectures and trainings.
Lectures, Receptions, First Friday, etc.
Enjoy free admission to the events offered by the Museum while helping us to facilitate memorable and educational experiences for our community.
Duties: Set-up (tables, chairs, activities), greet guests, serve drinks, help with crafts/activities, clean up and other duties as assigned by staff.
Relevant skills and Interests: Friendly and outgoing, knowledge about the Museum and its mission, event coordination, fundraising, photography. Ability to lift up to 30 pounds.
Commitment: An orientation with our Public Programs staff is required prior to helping with most events. Events occur 1-4 times per month, usually on weeknights and weekends.
Engage with the community through educational activities and conversation to promote awareness of our mission, events, and opportunities.
Duties: Attend events such as Farmers Markets and community fairs to staff a booth. Engage attendees in conversations about our mission, exhibits, and events. Answer questions and foster interest. Encourage museum support through membership and volunteerism.
Relevant skills and interests: Communications, marketing, community engagement
Commitment: One event per month and supervision/training to start.
Onsite Program Docent (opportunity currently closed)
Facilitate students in investigating Museum exhibits, artifacts, and specimens through inquiry-based learning curriculum. Training provided. Detailed program descriptions here.
Duties: Attend training and enrichments, teach programs to achieve learning objectives.
Relevant skills and interests: Teaching, natural science, anthropology, working with children, storytelling, Ohlone culture, animal biology and ecology, wildlife biology. Must be 18+ years old.
Commitment: Preferred commitment of one year; average of teaching 2 programs per month. Shifts are available Wednesday-Friday, 8:45 – 10:15 a.m. or 10:45 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.
Field Program Docent (opportunity currently closed)
Lead students in exploring their natural surroundings and the life within them by facilitating making observations and recording data. Programs are held outdoors at Pogonip or Neary Lagoon. Training provided. Detailed program descriptions here.
Duties: Attend training and enrichments, teach programs to achieve learning objectives and collect data. Ensure student safety.
Relevant skills and interests: Teaching, natural science, geology, biology, ecology, wetlands, birding, hiking, working with children, outdoor education, watersheds, water quality. Must be 18+ years old.
Commitment: Preferred commitment of one year; average of teaching 2 programs per month. Shifts are available Wednesdays and Friday, 8:45 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.; Tuesdays and Thursdays, 8:45-11:15 a.m.
Spring and Summer Camp
Assist our camp staff in facilitating crafts and activities, in additional to general camper supervision and management. Camps are for students in K-6th grades. Read more about our camps.
Duties: Help set up crafts and activities, support campers in completing tasks, ensure all campers are listening to instructors, monitor campers’ safety, help clean up, and other duties as assigned by staff.
Relevant skills and Interests: Arts & crafts, working with children, natural science. Must be 14+ years old.
Commitment: Camps are Monday through Friday for four weeks in the summer and one week during the spring, with one to two volunteer shifts available each day. Ideal volunteers will be available for a minimum of three shifts. All camp volunteers will be required to complete three hours of training before volunteering.
Exhibit Care: Cleaning and/or Live Animal Feeding
Help us keep our exhibits clean and fed! Animal husbandry at the Museum includes working with our bees, tide pool animals, and California King Snake.
Duties: Feed animals, change snake’s water, clean snake enclosure, assist with water change of our tide pool. Clean all glass cases in Museum.
Relevant skills & interests: Museum operations, reptiles, wildlife.
Commitment: Six-month commitment. Flexible scheduling. Snake feeding and care 1-4 times a month, tide pool maintenance is once a month, and/or case cleaning twice a month.
Help set the tone as the first point of contact for Museum guests and help to ensure the Museum’s public spaces are safe for everyone.
Duties: Greet guests, track capacity within the museum, maintain a waitlist, help with sanitization and answer general questions.
Relevant Skills and Interest: Customer service, community engagement, museum operations
Commitment: 2-4 shifts per month. Shifts with the greatest need are 11-1 and 1-3 on Saturdays and Sundays, though Tuesday-Friday shifts are also welcome.