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Sea Center Volunteer Program

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  Sea Center Volunteer Program
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Sea Center volunteers are a community of people comprised of all ages, backgrounds and professional and student expertise. As a volunteer, you support the mission in a variety of ways, which include:

  • Inspiring & engaging the public through interactive science exhibits
  • Providing ocean science education as exhibit interpreters and education volunteers
  • Promoting ocean conservation by encouraging stewardship for the environment

DO YOU LOVE THE OCEAN?                                                                      If you have a passion for people, your community and the conservation and stewardship of Santa Barbara’s local coastal waters and watersheds, then the Sea Center wants you! We are currently seeking volunteers interested in inspiring others to appreciate the amazing habitats & creatures that live in the Santa Barbara Channel. We wouldn’t be able to provide hands on ocean science based education without the help of our dedicated group of volunteers who assist in all areas of the Sea Center’s programs.

All new Sea Crew Volunteers begin as Exhibit Interpreters who meet, greet and educate visitors during public visiting hours and from time to time assist with special events. Once you have completed our initial 4-month minimum commitment as an Exhibit Interpreter, advanced volunteer opportunities are available in the following areas:

  • Education Volunteers: Assist staff at one of three locations in the Sea Center when school groups visit or with interactive, educational field trip programs
  • Aquarist Assistant: Assist staff in helping to maintain the health of aquatic habitats, care for the animals and educate the public about local marine species
  • Shark Interpreter: Educate the public about shark conservation and conduct supervised shark feedings
  • Nature Adventures: Assist with outreach education programs during the summer/winter/spring break camps
  • Outreach Assistant: Assist with outreach education programs including Oceanology and Discovery Zone: including special events, fairs, tidepooling & kayaking activities
  • Office Administration: Assist Sea Center Staff with volunteer administration, outreach, advertising, marketing and programs management

To find out what the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History Sea Center is all about and how to get involved, please contact Volunteer Manager. Volunteers are required to attend a mandatory training course which includes three training sessions. Training sessions are held the first, second and third week of every month excluding the month of December. Please see the new volunteer training schedule for 2014. Volunteer Training Schedule 2015.

Volunteering at the Sea Center is a rewarding experience, with ongoing opportunities to learn more about our local marine life, meet new people and promote the conservation of our oceans!

For volunteer program details contact:
Volunteer Manager: Sophie Busch
Tel: 805-962-2526 ext. 104


  • Volunteers must be 14 years of age or older. Volunteers under 14 may volunteer with a parent; please inquire about our family volunteer program for more details
  • Volunteers must commit to 1 shift (3hrs) / week for a minimum of 4 months
  • Volunteers must complete a volunteer application and emergency contact form
  • All applicants 18 years or older must pass a background check - volunteers must be fingerprinted & attend a clearance meeting
  • Volunteers must attend the three part training session offered the first, second and third week of every month, excluding December 2014
  • Volunteers must pay a $25 program fee which supplies the volunteer uniform

Unfortunately, we do not have any short-term or single-opportunity volunteer positions. Please note that all volunteer positions are unpaid.

The Sea Center is open from 10:00–5:00 PM seven days a week
Exhibit Interpreter shifts are generally broken down into AM / MID / PM shifts:

  • AM shift: 9:45 AM–12:45 PM
  • MID shift: 12:30–3:30 PM
  • PM shift: 2:30–5:30 PM



  • Advanced monthly volunteer training opportunities
  • Special field trips, events and parties
  • Research cruises, holiday events, potlucks & much more
  • Weekly updates and newsletters
  • Free admission to both the Sea Center & Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History
  • Guest passes for family and friends
  • 15% discount in the Sea Center Gift Shop & 10% discount at the Museum Gift Shop
  • Savings on educational programs and classes
  • Annual volunteer appreciation & recognition events
  • Opportunity to meet new people & make new friends!
  • Submit the Volunteer Application to Volunteer Manager via email or in person. 
  • Once application is submitted, Volunteer Manager will add the applicant to the Volunteer Trainee Roster.
  • If over 18 schedule an appointment for background check & fingerprinting
  • Complete TR1, TR2 & TR3: See 2015 Training Schedule for dates
  • Schedule a clearance meeting, turn in paperwork and schedule your first shift
  • Get started! Shadow an experienced volunteer & train with a floor supervisor

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