Volunteers on the Monterey Bay Aquarium back deck overlooking the Great Tide Pool

Our Vital Volunteers


For the past 35 years, volunteers have connected visitors from around the world to the ocean life of Monterey Bay and beyond. They've also helped in countless ways behind the scenes. Everything they do is for a single purpose: to advance our mission to inspire conservation of the ocean.

More than 1,500 volunteers are more essential to the Aquarium today than ever. They're engaging visitors, supporting our animal care team, assisting our educators, mentoring teens and diving into exhibits to clean windows and feed Kelp Forest fishes — sharing their talents in virtually every area of our operations.

Volunteer diver cleaning in the Kelp Forest exhibit
Pruning and cleaning our living Kelp Forest exhibit is one of the many ways volunteers support our mission.
2018 Volunteers by the Numbers: 1,572 total individual volunteers, 164,736 total hours of service, 86 different volunteer duties, 134 teens contributed 12,592 hours, 2,665 dives completed by 113 individuals, 95 age of our oldest volunteer, 14 age of our youngest volunteer

Some have been with us since we opened our doors in 1984; others have joined as part of citizen science projects or while attending college in the region.

This year, we created a new volunteer role: Conservation Associates. These volunteers receive special training in delivering focused, in-depth conservation messages to our visitors — discussing issues like ocean plastic pollution, sustainable seafood and the impacts of climate change on ocean health.

Our volunteer guides also receive training in helping individuals — whether guests, staff or other volunteers — with cognitive or physical differences. They acquire the skills to meet the needs of guests on the autism spectrum, the deaf and hard of hearing, the visually impaired and those with mobility limitations.

Join Us

For over 30 years our volunteers have helped visitors from around the world explore the wonders of Monterey Bay and beyond, sharing our mission to inspire conservation of the ocean. As mentors and teachers, volunteers are an essential part of the Aquarium community.

See our volunteer opportunities


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Going Green(er)





Annual Review 2018 (PDF)


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  • © Monterey Bay Aquarium Foundation