Looking to get your feet wet in the fascinating world of marine science? Become a volunteer! Engage with visitors from around the world as they explore hands-on exhibits about the natural wonders of the Oregon coast and cutting-edge marine research.

Pictured at top, volunteers Jon and Kevin assemble an elephant seal skeleton, now on display. Left, longtime volunteer Joysa is an interpreter at the touch pools.

At HMSC, nearly 100 volunteers donate their time serving in a variety of capacities, including: engaging and educating the public in the Visitor Center, heading outdoors in summer to lead estuary tours and chat about sea lions and the local fishing fleet at Newport’s Historic Bayfront, assisting with animal care, working with visiting field-trip groups, and becoming involved in behind-the-scenes projects such as creating new public programming and helping with exhibit development. As long as you are a lifelong learner over the age of 18, we welcome you to apply!

Pictured left, volunteer Ralph leads a guided estuary walk.

Benefits of Volunteering
  • Training opportunities
  • Sneak preview of new exhibits and displays
  • Invitations to special science programs and guest lectures
  • Monthly volunteer newsletters and meetings with advance news about what's coming up at the Visitor Center
  • Behind-the-scenes visits with researchers
  • Tours of HMSC facilities, including visiting research vessels
  • Flexible scheduling
  • Volunteering is a great way to meet new people with similar interests in science and the sea

How to Apply

Fill out an application: Drop by the HMSC Visitor Center to pick up an application form, or contact the Volunteer Coordinator (541-867-0226 or renee.fowler@oregonstate.edu) with your postal or email address to receive an application form via mail or electronically.

Orientation: After your application is received, the Volunteer Coordinator will contact you to schedule a 1.5-hour-long orientation session to get you acquainted with volunteer duties and Visitor Center staff, and to show you around behind the scenes. 

Following orientation, you will sign up to shadow one of our experienced volunteers for a shift (a shift is 3 hours in winter and 3.5 hours in summer).

Schedules: We prefer that volunteers commit to two shifts per month whenever possible. Shifts are scheduled for half days:

  • 10 am - 1 pm and 1 pm - 4 pm from Labor Day to Memorial Day
  • 10 am - 1:30 pm and 1:30 pm - 5:00 pm during the summer season