The number and type of volunteer opportunities available depends on several factors, including the time of year, staff needs, and current projects and programs. Most assignments can only accommodate a limited number of individual volunteers. For these reasons, the listing of available opportunities changes from season to season.
Click here for a description of specific volunteer assignments currently available.
Some typical volunteer opportunities include:
Gardens and Grounds
Volunteers participate in many ways in the gardens, working closely with skilled gardeners and learning as you go. During the early spring and summer help is needed in the greenhouse transplanting seedlings. In the Herb and Young gardens, volunteers often help by planting annuals, weeding, dividing perennials, pruning, edging garden beds, and taking cuttings. In other gardens, help is needed mulching, raking, dead-heading, pruning and planting.
Our 4,000-plus acres of natural areas, including the Mundy Wildflower Garden, offer opportunities for volunteers to work directly with native, naturalized and invasive flora of the Cayuga Lake Basin. One can easily learn to identify more than 100 different species while planting and weeding in the Wildflower Garden or potting seedlings in the greenhouse. In addition, natural areas stewards help protect fragile habitats and rare plants while learning effective conservation techniques and practices. Learn how you can become a natural areas steward through the Natural Areas Academy. Student and community groups can help by participating in group service projects, such as trail maintenance or invasive plant removal.
The Garden Guide docent program trains volunteers to conduct tours in selected gardens, and provides volunteers the opportunity to share their love of plants and gardens with others. Most tours are scheduled during the spring, summer and fall with fewer tours occurring in the winter months. Training is offered in late winter and early spring, and is required for all Garden Guides.
Youth Education Programs
Opportunities to work with children are numerous. Programs for which volunteers are needed include our Judy’s Day family event and the Wildflower Explorations program for 3rd graders, as well special tours and programs for school groups, home schoolers, 4-H groups, summer camps, after-school programs, preschool groups and more.
Behind the scenes, volunteers with skills in data entry or general office work are needed. Plantations’ communications team also encourages those with writing skills to submit articles on varying topics. Writing thank-you letters to donors and other supporters is also an important volunteer tradition at Plantations.
Working in our visitor center which includes our gift shop, providing information and support to visitors and selling merchandise, is a rewarding experience. Volunteers are often the front-line presence when visitors first arrive at the gardens. Orienting and assisting visitors while providing a positive first impression is a crucial and gratifying responsibility.