Duke in the Gardens

COVID-19 Update:  Duke Gardens is pleased to be open to the public again as of June 1. Read more about the phased reopening and related policies here.

Please read below to learn more about possibilities for your teaching & research and how to get in touch with us.


Academic Collaborations

Duke Gardens invites you to expand your college & university classroom into the Gardens! Our outdoor learning space includes sheltered sitting areas, Wi-Fi and electrical outlets, in addition to walking paths and garden displays.

Work with Duke Gardens’ education staff to coordinate use of this expansive campus resource. Develop assignments making use of the Gardens, hold class outdoors, create univeristy level field trips that complement your curriculum, or conduct academic research in the Gardens. Programs can be self-guided or facilitated by Duke Gardens staff.

To request a college/university academic visit or collaboration, please fill out this form

If you are looking for pre-K through 12th grade academic collaborations, please see our School & Group Programs page.

Teaching in Duke Gardens

Duke Gardens offers an exceptional collection of plants, as well as a multitude of other course connections. Enjoy the physical and mental health benefits of being outdoors, along with the spark of learning in a new setting to complement your curriculum. The Gardens provides genuine connections and opportunities to teach any course content across all disciplines. Gardens education staff members are available to work with faculty to develop programs that fit curriculum needs, whatever they may be.

Not sure how your course could work with Duke Gardens? Past and ongoing collaborations include:

  • supplying design challenges for project-based engineering classes
  • providing a behind-the-scenes look at our composting system and native plants garden for a sustainability class
  • being an outdoor studio for a dance class
  • giving a tour of our Japanese tea garden and tea house in relation to a religion & ecology class
  • being a client for a wayfinding & informational app designed by a computer science class
  • discussing culturally significant cultivated plants during a garden tour for a Spanish language class
  • presenting information about our visitor management techniques for an economic & social systems class
  • offering a botanical sketching tour of plants that can cause contact dermatitis for a group of dermatology residents
  • being a real-life sampling site for a herpetology class

Research in Duke Gardens

As a living collection and public institution, Duke Gardens provides a site for many kinds of research. Duke Gardens' staff welcomes the opportunity to discuss your research and determine how it could be undertaken here. If you're looking for practice projects to give your students practical experience in research methods, Duke Gardens has many things we'd like to learn.

Have you conducted reseach at or about Duke Gardens? Please share your findings with us! Email Kati (she/her) at kati.henderson@duke.edu.

Please Consider

Duke Gardens can be used as an outdoor learning space for any discipline. However, due to the fact that we are a public botanic garden, there are some parameters on how you can use the space.

  • The garden is always open to the public. Certain spaces can’t be reserved to the exclusion of public visitors. Some spaces can be reserved for registered programs. 
  • Programs facilitated by Duke Gardens' staff are limited to 25 students. Exceptions may be possible; please inquire for larger groups.
  • Self-guided trips (those not facilitated by Gardens staff members) must register and follow all Gardens policies, including staying on paths and not picking any parts of plants. Exceptions may be possible with a close partnership and training by Gardens staff; please inquire for your particular needs. This includes visits outside class time and visits where individuals or groups are visiting rather than the whole class.

For ideas about how to match these requirements with your course or research needs, please contact us. We’d love to discuss ideas with you.

Contact Us

To request an academic visit or collaboration, please fill out this form

You can also contact Kati Henderson at 919-886-3816 or kati.henderson@duke.edu with any questions and to discuss possibilities.


Other Student Opportunities

In the Equity Through Stories Program, we work with Duke students and community members to expand our knowledge of local history and people’s relationships with plants in order to include more perspectives in our gardens, facilitated programs and interpretive materials. To learn more about this program, please click here.

If you’re an undergraduate student interested in internship opportunities, please see our internship page.

Duke Gardens also hires Duke work-study students for jobs in horticulture, visitor services and other departments. These will be posted to DukeList any time we're hiring.