A variety of volunteer opportunities are available for individuals aged 16 and up. No experience is required, and all training is provided! Please note that all volunteers are required to undergo a background check. Opportunities include:
Touch Tank Interpreter - Touch Tank volunteers assist visitors at the touch tank, which houses animals including sea urchins, sea cucumbers and hermit crabs. Touch Tank volunteers may also share information about our six Model Ecosystems and other aquaria. Touch tank volunteers should be comfortable touching live marine animals and interacting with visitors of all ages, especially children. The minimum time commitment for this opportunity is one day per week for two months.
Aquarium Guide - Aquarium Guides interact with visitors at the Aquarium and lead daily feeding tours for groups of 1-30 participants of all ages. Aquarium Guides should be comfortable with public speaking and answering questions about local marine life. Training is provided. Shifts are scheduled mornings from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. or afternoons from 1 to 4 p.m. Minimum time commitment is three hours per week for three months.
Husbandry and Animal Care - Animal husbandry volunteers assist with maintenance of six large (500+ gallons) saltwater Model Ecosystems and other small aquaria. Duties may include feedings, monitoring water chemistry, specimen collection using seine nets, performing routine water exchanges and monitoring aquaria systems. Candidates should have compassion for living animals and be detail-oriented with excellent observational and record keeping skills. No prior experience is required. Please note: this a physically active volunteer opportunity. Candidates should be comfortable working on their feet for at least three hours, bending and lifting, and climbing ladders and stairs between 4' and 20' in height. This position has a minimum time requirement of three hours per week for three months. Shifts are available mornings from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. or afternoons from 3 to 6 p.m. This opportunity has a minimum age of 18. Students ages 16 and 17 will be considered with a teacher recommendation.
Feeding Specialist - Aquarium feeding specialist volunteers will work with Smithsonian aquarists to feed the animals in six large (500+ gallons) saltwater Model Ecosystem aquariums and other small tanks. Duties include weighing, cutting, measuring, feeding and stocking food items for marine fishes and invertebrates. Food items may include pellets, flakes, liquid supplements, and frozen foods such as squid, shrimp, fish and scallops. Candidates should be detail-oriented with the ability to work independently. No prior experience is required. Please note: this a physically active volunteer opportunity. Candidates should be comfortable working on their feet for at least three hours, bending and lifting, and climbing ladders and stairs between 4' and 20' in height. This position has a minimum time commitment of one day per week from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. for a minimum of three months.
Photography and Digital Media - Volunteer will review the Aquarium's extensive collection of digital photographs taken of the Aquarium's habitats and specimens in order to remove duplicate and low quality photographs. Aquarium staff use these photographs for Exhibit signage and for a variety of educational purposes. Volunteer will also use a digital video camera to capture footage of interesting behaviors and activities of the Aquarium's inhabitants. The footage will be used by the Exhibit staff for Social media, future exhibits and other educational purposes.
Special Projects Volunteer - Use your skills to assist Aquarium staff with a variety of hands-on electrical, plumbing and fabrication projects, including developing designing and fabricating unique display aquaria and collecting devices.
To apply, please visit https://www.si.edu/volunteer and click on “New Volunteer Opportunities” to apply for the opportunity (or opportunities) you’re interested in. If you have any questions, please give us a call at 772-465-3271 or email SMSEducation@si.edu