Gardens need people to bring them to life, and people to nourish and pass them into future hands. Duke Gardens volunteers are that promise to the future. We cannot overstate the essential contribution volunteers make to 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 and challenge you to expand your knowledge of the natural world and help each visitor find inspiration, enjoyment and a stronger connection to Duke Gardens. 


Looking ahead to Fall 2021, there will be many volunteer opportunities at Duke Gardens. To understand volunteering at the Gardens, we ask that you attend one VIRTUAL volunteer information session via Zoom to learn about the Gardens, our volunteer requirements and our specific volunteer needs in the coming year. 

Upcoming Virtual Volunteer Information Sessions:
•    Tues., Aug 24,  10-11 a.m.
•    Sat., Aug. 28, 10-11 a.m.
•    Wed., Sept. 1, 2-3 p.m. 

Click here to fill out a volunteer interest form, and please indicate in the notes section which virtual volunteer information session date you would prefer to attend. You will be contacted in early August to confirm your preferred session date and to be given additional information.

Following the information session presentation, if you are interested in volunteering, you will then be contacted to set up an in-person volunteer interview to discuss your area of interest, skills and schedule. Placement in an area is dependent upon a volunteer’s availability, abilities and experience, along with the Gardens’ needs. 

If you are unable to attend any of the above sessions, you are still encouraged to submit a volunteer interest form, as additional information sessions or individual interviews can be scheduled in fall 2021.


Active volunteers: Active volunteer positions require a commitment of generally two hours per week for a minimum of three months. As an active Duke Gardens volunteer, you are required to participate in Core Knowledge Training, with additional training required for specific program areas.

Special event volunteers: For those who are unable to commit to a regular weekly or bi-weekly schedule, we do have variable year-round volunteer opportunities at our events that include a wide variety of needs, including event setup, assisting at plant sales, helping with children's activities, wayfinding and much more.

ADULT VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITIES (anticipated for fall 2021)

Garden ambassadors - weekdays and weekends, mornings and afternoons, March through mid-November

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 their station areas, and they communicate about seasonal activities taking place at Duke Gardens.

Info desk receptionists – weekdays, mornings and afternoons, year-round
Want to interact with people from all over the world to offer help and make a person’s Gardens experience more satisfying? If so, you may enjoy being a receptionist at our Doris Duke Center and assisting visitors with wayfinding in the Gardens and by directing them to Gardens highlights in person and via the phone.

Children’s docents – weekdays, spring-fall

Are you a nature lover who enjoys engaging with children? All you need is an interest in nature, a willingness to grow and learn, and a flexible, friendly attitude. Join an enthusiastic team of children’s docents who are passionate about sharing their enthusiasm about nature and interacting with children outdoors in the Gardens.

Membership & development assistants – weekdays and weekends, mornings and afternoons, year-round
Appreciate Duke Gardens and understand the many benefits that it provides in our community and for its members? Membership and development volunteers assist in wide array of tasks, both indoors and outdoors, from helping with mailings and clerical work, to promoting Gardens membership, and welcoming members at special events and functions. These volunteers enjoy growing our membership base and developing a relationship between the Gardens and Duke University. 

Gardening assistants – weekday mornings, year-round (weather permitting)
Love getting in the dirt and doing garden work?  Gardening assistants support our horticulture staff to maintain the beauty of the Gardens, primarily by weeding, watering and mulching, with occasional planting and more. Gardening tasks require physical exertion, including bending, kneeling, stretching and reaching, as well as tolerance for varying outdoor weather conditions and insects. Gardening assistants are assigned to a particular Gardens area and must be able to work both independently and on a team.


(Students must be 16 or older to volunteer at Duke Gardens.)
Gift shop volunteers: Are you seeking service hours and looking to give back to your community? Student volunteer opportunities are available at Duke Gardens’ Terrace Gift Shop from March through October. These opportunities are limited to Friday afternoons and weekends. Click here to complete a student volunteer gift shop application (PDF) and follow submission directions on the application.

Summer camp volunteers:  Enjoy mentoring young children and leading them in learning activities outdoors? If you are a high school student and will be at least 16 years old by June 2022, please check back on this page in January 2022 for our student summer camp volunteer application!


•    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 or call 919.668.3694. Thank you for your interest!


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