Duke in the Gardens

COVID-19 Update:  Duke Gardens has begun a phased reopening, with phase 1 limited to Duke students, faculty & staff with a Duke ID, timed ticket and symptom monitoring. We do not have a date for phase 2 at this time. Read more here.

Academic & Wellness Access by Appointment

Duke faculty and staff may request an appointment for individuals or small groups of faculty, staff and students to visit Duke Gardens during the spring semester for academic needs or Duke-facilitated student wellness programs.  

  • All people visiting during the appointment must be current Duke faculty, staff or students.
  • Every appointment must be pre-approved and coordinated with Duke Gardens. Appointments are limited. Requests directly from students must include contact information for a faculty/staff advisor.
  • Request your appointment at least 1-2 weeks before the date you would like to visit. We will do our best to accomodate requests on shorter notice when possible.
  • Appointments must be led by the faculty/staff advisor in person, and also accompanied by Duke Gardens staff.  Appointments for individual projects with site-specific needs at Duke Gardens may be accompanied solely by Duke Gardens staff.
  • Wellness program requests must be in collaboration with DuWell, CAPS, or other established program offices.
  • Gardens staff must meet you at a Flowers Drive entrance gate to provide access, and accompany you during your visit.
  • Everyone must complete Duke’s symptom monitoring before coming to your appointment.
  • While at the Gardens, everyone must wear a mask and maintain 6-foot distancing at all times. Everyone in the group must stay together.
  • The number of people permitted to visit during an appointment will depend on the garden area, in order to maintain distancing. The maximum group size is 10 people for wellness appointments or 25 people for academic appointments. Certain Gardens areas may be closed to academic & wellness appointment access.
  • People coming to appointments may not bring pets.
  • All buildings, including restrooms, are closed and all drinking fountains are off. WiFi is temporarily unavailable in most areas. Everyone must take out anything they bring in, including trash.

Examples of academic needs are holding in-person classes outdoors and gathering research data or completing assignments that are site-specific to Duke Gardens.

If your request works within all of these parameters, contact Kati Henderson at kati.henderson@duke.edu to request an appointment.

Thank you for your patience and your help in keeping our communities safe. If our pandemic-related limitations prevent us from assisting with your current studies, we look forward to being able to work with you in the future.






Academic Collaborations

(The following content was created pre-pandemic. We are leaving it on this page in order to provide further information about this program, but some activities described below may not be possible to arrange during this pandemic period. Thank you for your understanding.)

Duke Gardens invites you to expand your 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 undergraduate 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 discuss opportunities for your course or research, contact Kati Henderson at 919-886-3816 or kati.henderson@duke.edu.

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.

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 20 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.


Please contact Kati Henderson at 919-886-3816 or kati.henderson@duke.edu to discuss possibilities and register your class's visit.


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