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Duke in the Gardens

COVID-19 Update:  Before your visit, please read more about pandemic-related policies here.

Please read below to learn more about possibilities for your college/university visit or collaboration and how to get in touch with us.


University & College Collaborations

Work with Duke Gardens’ education staff to coordinate use of this expansive resource! Our outdoor learning spaces include sheltered sitting areas, Wi-Fi and electrical outlets, in addition to walking paths and garden displays. Develop assignments making use of the Gardens, hold class outdoors, create university-level field trips that complement your curriculum, hold wellness and cultural programs, or conduct academic research in the Gardens. Programs can be self-guided or facilitated by Duke Gardens staff.

To request a college/university visit or collaboration, please fill out this form at least 2 weeks before your requested date. We ask all groups to register, even if you're just looking to use the space on your own.

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

Teaching & Classwork in Duke Gardens

Duke Gardens invites you to expand your college & university classroom into the 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

Submit this form to request to teach in Duke Gardens

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

Submit this form to request to conduct research in Duke Gardens

Tours, Workshops and Collaborative Programs

If you're looking for a general tour of Duke Gardens, please click here. Please note that we typically charge a fee for these.

If you're interested in an orientation to the Gardens spaces, staff, and other resources, submit this form and note that you're interested in an orientation. These are typically structured as a brief (10-15 minute) overview followed by self-guided exploration. It is possible to have a longer guided orientation.

As our capacity allows, Duke Gardens education staff can lead workshops or other collaborative programs for your class or goup. Past examples include:

  • a workshop on observation skills & botanical illustration featuring plants that cause contact dermatitis for dermatology residents
  • a tour discussing our land management practices and the history of this place for an anthropology class focused on farming & gardening
  • workshops on outdoor teaching skills and strategies for faculty groups
  • an outdoor class on plants with particular significance to Latinx communities and the lineages of botanic gardens for a Spanish class using gardening as a vocabulary & cultural focus

Submit this form and note that you're interested in a workshop or other program led or developed by Duke Gardens

Cultural Visits, Performances, Wellness Programs, and More

Duke Gardens also welcomes college & university groups beyond the classroom or lab. We work with:

  • cultural groups to hold events related to plants & the land, like Hanami
  • music, theater, and dance groups to perform in some of our outdoor locations
  • groups & instructors to hold outdoor wellness programs, like meditation

Have another idea for a partnership with Duke Gardens? Please get in touch!

Please note: game and sports equipment (including balls, frisbees, cornhole, spikeball, etc.) is not allowed in Duke Gardens and we are not an appropriate location to play games, even on lawns.

For special events & rentals, see our information here.

Submit this form to request to partner with Duke Gardens on a cultural event, performance, wellness program, or other university visit


Duke Gardens is a wonderful spot to have a picnic with your class or group! Please note that:

  • you must bring in your food; you cannot have food delivered to or catered in the Gardens
  • alcohol is not allowed in the Gardens
  • you can bring blankets or mats to sit on and set out your food, but chairs and tables are not allowed
  • you must collect all your trash and take it out with you or put it inside a trash can (please don't place it next to a can) 
  • game and sports equipment (including balls, frisbees, cornhole, spikeball, etc.) is not allowed in Duke Gardens

For special events & rentals, see our information here.

Submit this form to register your group picnic at Duke Gardens

Volunteer & Work-Study Opportunities

Duke Gardens has many different kinds of volunteer and work-study opportunities that support student learning & skill development, including in education, visitor services, media & communications, horticulture, and sometimes other departments.


For current volunteer opportunities, click here. Please note that we are seeking volunteers who are interested in long term/ongoing volunteer opportunities, which generally require a commitment of two hours a week for a minimum of three months.

If you are seeking group volunteer opportunities, please contact Niki at to see what opportunities may be available.


Any open work-study positions will be posted to the Student Employment website. Please read the posting thoroughly, as different jobs require different experiences and application materials. Work-study positions are open to Duke University students only.

Please Consider

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 and spaces can’t be reserved to the exclusion of other visitors. During the scheduling process, we can discuss the use of particular locations. 
  • Typically, university visits must follow all Gardens policies. These include staying on paths, not picking any parts of plants, bringing out what you bring in (including trash), and not bringing in any equipment (including tables/chairs, mics/speakers, and games/sports equipment). Exceptions may be possible with a close partnership and training by Gardens staff; please inquire for your particular interests. 
  • Self-guided visits (those not facilitated by Gardens staff members) must register. This also applies to visits outside class time and visits where individuals or groups are visiting rather than the whole class.
  • Additional parameters relevant to your visit may be shared when you submit your request.

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

Contact Us

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

Please submit your request at least 2 weeks in advance of your desired date. We will try to accommodate shorter-notice requests but they may not be possible.

You can also contact Kati Henderson at 919-886-3816 or 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.