Paleontological Research Institution, its Museum of the Earth, and the Cayuga Nature Center need your help!

Our volunteers are integral to our overall organization. Become part of our diverse and dynamic group and expand your knowledge about paleontology, geology, evolution, sustainability, environment, climate change, and nature issues. Your volunteer efforts will help others discover the exciting world which they inhabit.

Where else can you:

  • Help a Museum visitor identify a found fossil or a Nature Center visitor discover a leaf or butterfly
  • Teach a school group about the northern right whale, mastodons, or New York’s native animals
  • Curate specimens from PRI’s world-renowned fossil collection
  • Help care for the Nature Center’s live animal collection
  • Play a role in producing the annual Gala
  • Assist with special events and other marketing needs
  • Prepare a fossil specimen in the Museum’s Prep Lab
  • Assist in PRI’s library and possibly contribute to one of our publications
  • Participate in building an exhibit
  • Be a trail or butterfly guide
  • Help with youth camps throughout the year
  • Or just be part of the many and varied happenings here.

Share your passion for the natural world!

The following departments have volunteer positions:

  • Camp programs
  • Collections – Fossils and Specimens
  • Collections – Animals
  • Collections – Art (under Exhibitions)
  • Development and Fundraising
  • Education Outreach
  • Exhibitions
  • Library and Publications
  • Marketing
  • Membership
  • Museum or Nature Center Education and Operations
  • Prep Lab

For more information, please contact:

Patrick Branigan
Volunteer Coordinator
Paleontological Research Institution
1259 Trumansburg Road
Ithaca, NY 14850
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
607-273-6260 x221

For current Museum of the Earth volunteer opportunities, please click here and for Cayuga Nature Center opportunities, please click here and you will be taken to our partner, the United Way of Tompkins County’s Get Connected website—our partner in volunteer opportunities.

You can download our application forms at the links below. Return the applications to our Volunteer Coordinator via email or postal mail.

Volunteer Application for PRI and its Museum of the Earth

Volunteer Application for Cayuga Nature Center

Internship Opportunities

PRI, its Museum of the Earth, and the Cayuga Nature Center also offer opportunities for internships, whether you're looking for something during the semester or over a break. In the past, we have worked with students from several local colleges and universities including Cornell University, Ithaca College, SUNY Cortland, and TC3. Although our internships are unpaid, they provide a great way for students to gain experience in a unique environment, while contributing a great deal to the mission of our organization. These internships are also a wonderful resume builder for you. We work with school administrators and instructors to secure college credit when applicable. For available internships, browse our Volunteer Opportunities section. We can also design an individual project for you to fulfill specific requirements of your program.

Please contact our Intern Coordinator at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call at 607-273-6623 x113 for more details.