The Austin Nature and Science Center (ANSC) offers a variety of exciting and rewarding volunteer opportunities. Volunteers must complete an application form. Most positions require some training. For more information, please call visitor services at 512-974-3888.
Current Volunteer Positions
Saturdays, 10 a.m. - 4 p.m., in 2 hours shifts
Help visitors interpret both the rotating and permanent exhibits:
Standing or sitting next to the beehive to help visitors understand how honeybee colonies work
Being present near our mammal and birds of prey exhibits and answering visitor’s questions, or providing supplemental materials (some feathers or eggs to touch, pelts and skulls, live animals with staff assistance).
Helping wildlife staff to remind visitors of site policies to keep our animals safe (i.e., no dogs, remaining behind fencing, refraining from feeding wildlife).
Guide visitors in the Dino Pit and ensure fossils are covered in down times
Offer guided walks through the preserve or along our Forest Trail (optional
Attend trainings about any new exhibits and changes in our permanent exhibits
Exhibit Docent Volunteers must be open-minded and willing to engage citizens of all ages and backgrounds, comfortable conveying Nature Center policies to visitors and reporting any dangerous behavior to supervisor, and will preferably be interested in animals and independently seek to further their own education (which will be happily supported and occasionally provided by ANSC staff and local experts). Must be 16 or older and commit to a minimum of 3 months.
Naturalist Workshop Volunteer
Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday 10 a.m. - 1 p.m.; Saturday 10 a.m. - 1 p.m. and 1 - 4 p.m.
Help visitors in the Naturalist Workshop interpret touchable items (bones, rocks, shells, and any other parts of our collection): Answer general nature questions they might have (or help them find resources to answer those questions—we have a number of guidebooks and reference collections).
Staff the Trade Counter: A trading post where children can bring in nature items or answer nature questions in exchange for points. Points can be used to buy an assortment of other nature items, posters, jewelry, etc.). Volunteers are responsible for treating the traders as customers—listening to them and guiding them through identifying and musing about their items, assigning and tallying their points, and maintaining trader’s account cards (notecards with trade record).
Help catalog collections and exhibits: Have a fine eye for detail and knack for data entry? You can contribute to our archival efforts by taking pictures and updating records. The cataloging opportunity will not be a regular position and will likely be scheduled when the need arises.
Naturalist Workshop volunteers must be good listeners, patient and respectful with children of diverse educational backgrounds, as well as their parents. They must have the ability to be close to insects, bones, dirt, and the occasional runny nose. They will preferably be interested in nature and independently seek to further their own education (which will be happily supported and occasionally provided by ANSC staff and local experts. Must be 16 or older and commit to a minimum of 3 months.
Sheffield Education Center Assistant (Splash! Exhibit)
Saturdays between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. or Sundays between 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. for 2-3 hour sessions
Assist Splash! Exhibit’s staff on weekends with demonstrating a variety of water related program activities to engage children and adults visiting Zilker Park. Background knowledge is helpful, but not required. Must be 17 or older and commit to a minimum of 3 months.
Selected Wednesday mornings 9 a.m. – 12 p.m.
Work with the ANSC staff horticulturist to maintain and upgrade native landscaping at the ANSC. Sessions are scheduled and coordinated each week based on weather and seasonal landscape needs. This is a once a week volunteering opportunity, but the volunteer can opt to attend each weekly session based on their availability on a given Wednesday. All tools and supplies are provided. Must be 18 or older.
ANSC Event Volunteer Opportunities
Assist staff with ANSC one-day events such as Austin Museum Day, Fall festival, Celebrate Urbans Birds, and Austin Nature Day. Shifts are four to eight hours and include facilitating hands-on family friendly activities and events. Many event volunteer opportunities will be posted on the ANSC’s GivePulse Volunteer Portal.