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Public Engagement Volunteers

Native Plant Garden Volunteers [ NEW!! ]

Starting in Spring of 2024, our Garden volunteers, who love both plants and people, will engage Balboa Park visitors in our new native plant garden! They will help park visitors understand the important relationships between native plants and native wildlife, and the important role that plants play in the local ecosystem. They will inspire visitors to promote the use of native plants in gardens and parks in their own communities and to preserve native plants and their natural habitats. They will also encourage visitors to explore our Museum to learn more about our native plants and animals. A comprehensive training will be provided and a two-year commitment to weekly/or bi-weekly outreach shifts is expected.


NATuralists engage the public in the Museum through fun, interactive games, and crafts. There is no need to be an expert in natural history as long as you are curious about nature and enjoy interacting with Museum guests. The best NATuralists are outgoing, friendly people with a desire to put a little sparkle in someone's day. Youth (12-17 years of age) are welcome to participate when accompanied by an adult.


Outreach volunteers promote the Museum beyond our four walls, most often in the form of tabling at community events. With educational activities, fun facts, and marketing materials in hand, this position is best suited for folks who have a passion for environmental advocacy, fundraising, and public engagement.


Docents are trained to lead school groups on Museum tours, conduct an outreach program at regional schools, and engage guests in the Museum. A five-month comprehensive course in natural history begins mid-September and continues through the end of February. A two-year commitment and participation in monthly meetings and continuing education activities is expected.


Canyoneers have led free public nature hikes throughout San Diego County since 1972. New Canyoneers complete a comprehensive class taught by our scientists and local experts on the natural history of the San Diego region. The 10-week training begins in September and continues through mid-November. A commitment to lead six public hikes per year (minimum of two years) is expected.

Museum Whalers

Museum Whalers provide naturalist interpretation on whale-watching cruises from December through April and June through September. An 8-session training course begins in October and continues in early December. A commitment to serving at least 10 cruises per season is expected.

Camp Aides (Youth Volunteers)

Youth Volunteers (16-18 years old) gain valuable work experience and/or earn college credit working with professional educators in conducting fun and engaging Pre-K through grade 8 camps in the Museum during the summer! Recruitment for camp aides begins in May.

Get involved

Interested? We hope so. Visit our main volunteer page to learn how to apply and contact us with questions.