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Gardens need people to bring them to life! Volunteers are an essential part of the growth, purpose and beauty of the Gardens. Volunteers bring their interests, energy, knowledge and passion to the Gardens, helping visitors by:

  • offering information
  • guiding tours and leading education programs
  • maintaining gardens
  • promoting membership
  • enriching each visitor’s experience

We welcome you to expand your knowledge of the natural world and help each visitor find inspiration, enjoyment and a stronger connection to Duke Gardens.


Adult Volunteer Opportunities - Beginning in August 2023

Looking ahead to fall 2023, Duke Gardens is seeking volunteers who are interested in ongoing volunteer opportunities, which generally require a commitment of two to four hours per week for a minimum of six months for the following positions:

  • Garden guides: to guide youths on outdoor field trips in the Gardens.
  • Outdoor and info desk garden ambassadors: to greet and orient visitors to Duke Gardens at outdoor and indoor locations.
  • Trolley tour and walking tour docents: to lead visitors in learning more about the history, landscape design, ecology and other stories of Duke Gardens.

To learn more about these opportunities, see volunteer opportunity descriptions below. As other volunteer opportunities become available, we will post them on this page.


Education Opportunities

Garden Guides for School and Youth Programs

Are you a nature lover who enjoys engaging with children? Garden Guides are passionate about sharing their love of nature and educating thousands of youths through outdoor programs in the Gardens. You don’t need to be an expert or have a background in gardening, science or teaching! All you need is an interest in nature and outdoor learning, and a willingness to grow and learn with a flexible and friendly attitude.

Days & times needed: weekdays, 9:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m., from September through November and March through May


  • Enjoy spending time with children, especially ages 4 to 13
  • Able to be outdoors and physically navigate the Gardens for up to two hours in varying weather conditions
  • Participate in Garden Guide trainings that require observing, shadowing and practice to become proficient in program preparation and presentations to students. A willingness to learn specifics of each program and to be able implement or assist lead Garden Guide in execution is necessary.
  • Background check required upon completion of training

Fall 2023 Orientation Session for Garden Guides:

An orientation session for new garden guides will be offered on Tues., Aug. 29, from 9 a.m. to noon. Prospective garden guides will need to register to attend this orientation session by emailing education programs coordinator Liani Yirka at You will receive an email response to confirm your session date and provide additional information.

At this session, you will learn more about the garden guide volunteer role, teaching techniques and our Duke Gardens guided school programs with topics that allow students to connect what they are learning in school to their experience in the garden.


Visitor Experience Opportunities

Outdoor Garden Ambassadors

Do you enjoy meeting and engaging with people while outdoors? Ambassadors greet and offer directions to our visitors at stations throughout the Gardens. In addition to sharing information about the Gardens’ collections, ambassadors encourage exploration of the Gardens in nearby garden areas and they discuss seasonal activities taking place at Duke Gardens.

Days and times needed: weekdays and weekends, mornings and afternoons, 10 a.m.-noon, noon-2 p.m. and 2-4 p.m., seasonally from May through November.


  • Enjoy meeting and greeting people and offering assistance as needed
  • Able to be outdoors in the Gardens for two-hour shifts in varying weather conditions
  • Participate in on the job ambassador trainings, which require observing and shadowing current ambassadors as well as attending classroom training or workshops periodically through the year

Indoor Info Desk Ambassadors

Interested in helping visitors from all over the world and making their Gardens experience more satisfying? If so, you will enjoy being an ambassador indoors at our Doris Duke Center info desk and assisting visitors in person and on the phone by helping them with wayfinding in the Gardens and directing them to highlights in our collections.

Days & times needed: weekdays, mornings and afternoons, 9 a.m.-noon, noon-3 p.m. and 3-5 p.m., year-round.

Tour Docents

Do you take pleasure in sharing knowledge with others? Tour docents lead trolley and walking tours and enthusiastically interact with visitors to explore the Gardens, teach about our horticultural displays and features, and promote conversation to enhance visitors' experiences.


  • Enjoy meeting and greeting people
  • Able to orally deliver and retain tour information in a responsive and conversational way
  • Able to be outdoors in the Gardens for one-hour shifts in varying weather conditions
  • Participate in on the job docent trainings, which require observing and shadowing current docents as well as attending classroom training or workshops periodically through the year
  • Walking tour docents must be able to physically navigate the gardens on varied terrain on foot for one hour
  • Trolley tour docents must be able to simultaneously safely operate a six-seat golf cart, orally deliver tour information and engage with passengers
  • Trolley tour docents must possess a valid U.S. driver’s license

Walking tour docents needed: Tuesday-Friday, 10 a.m. and 1 p.m., mid-March to mid-November (1 p.m. walking tours are not offered in July or August)

Trolley tour docents needed: Tuesday-Friday, 11 a.m. and 2 p.m., mid-March to mid-November  

Fall 2023 Orientation Session for Ambassadors & Tour Docents

Volunteers interested in serving as an ambassador or tour docent must register to attend the visitor engagement info session on Thurs., Sept. 7, at 10 a.m. by emailing You will receive an email response to confirm your session date and provide additional information.



• Make a difference in your community and inspire others by supporting the mission of Duke Gardens
• Meet people with similar interests
• Develop your skills and talents
• Enjoy volunteer events, lunch and learn programs, and annual celebrations
• Earn a discount at Duke Gardens' Terrace Gift Shop
• Have fun and challenge yourself



Please email us at or call us at 919.668.3694. Thank you for your interest!


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