The State Arboretum is a great place to volunteer because we have so many opportunities!  There are outdoor options like gardening or working on our collections, indoor options like working in the shop and helping with our mailings and there are special events and docent opportunities.  You can volunteer weekly, monthly or several times a year.  We welcome anyone who wishes to give their valuable time to the State Arboretum!   After all, our volunteers are our most valuable resource.

Ready To Dig In?

Volunteer Opportunities 

Gardeners (Last week of March through last week of October)

The State Arboretum of Virginia at Blandy Experimental Farm has many established perennial gardens, an herb garden, and a Native Plant Trail. Each area is maintained on a seasonal basis by an assistant curator and supporting volunteers.

Tasks include planting, dividing, transplanting, fertilizing, weeding, mulching and more. New volunteers are welcome to join at any time during the year. Please bring gloves, hat, water, and sunscreen; tools and training will be provided.

Volunteers and staff meet in the main parking lot as follows:

Herb Garden – Every Tuesday from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.

Native Plant Trail – Every Wednesday from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.

Perennial Gardens – Every Thursday from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.

Community Garden – Volunteer days and times are flexible. 

Woody Collections Maintenance (Year Round)

  These work sessions are scheduled on a regular basis in the winter months and at other times as necessary. Maintenance activities include removal of invasive plant species, pruning and mulching of specimens, and labeling. Please bring gloves; tools and training will be provided.

Greenhouse Assistant

General greenhouse help includes watering, propagating and plant care. Qualifications for this position include an interest in plants and the physical ability to do the work. Bending and lifting (up to 50 lbs) are required. Hours will be scheduled to suit the volunteer, however, 2 to 4 hours one or two days per week would be helpful. Benefits: Able to take cuttings and seedlings with permission.

Library Aide

Assist with a variety of Library duties to include:

- Shelving.
- Filing library materials.
- Keeping records on items of circulation.
- Helping to inventory and catalog special collections such as slides and photographs.
- Organizing newsletter files.

Qualifications: interest in periodicals, books and horticulture and the ability to maneuver and climb movable stairs. Time commitment will require 2 to 4 hours each week or two, to average at least 4 hours every 2 weeks. Time will be scheduled around events, programs and meetings held in the library.

Program Assistant

The State Arboretum of Virginia offers a wide array of public programs throughout the year. For most programs one or more volunteers are needed to assist with the many tasks associated with these programs. Program assistant responsibilities vary depending on the type of program. Benefits: Can attend programs at no charge. The program assistant may be asked to:

- Arrive early to help set up.
- Make coffee or prepare refreshments.
- Check with program presenter to determine whether he/she needs assistance before, during or after program.
- Use registration list to check in participants and collect registration fees if applicable. 
- Hand out literature, information packets or other materials.
- Assist with cleanup and other tasks after program.

Shopkeeper

“Our Shop Under the Arch” is a volunteer-maintained retail operation of the Foundation of the State Arboretum. Our Shop is the unofficial welcome center for visitors as it is often the first point of contact. Shopkeepers are responsible for opening and closing the shop, maintaining records of all sales, using the cash register and recording sales in the inventory. Some Shopkeepers opt to work a day each week, others a day or two each month. Scheduled shifts generally cover a period of three hours. Shopkeepers also volunteer in the Our Shop booth during ArborFest and Garden Fair. Orientation and training are provided for each new shopkeeper. This is a job for volunteers who enjoy meeting and greeting the public and providing basic information about the arboretum. Merchandise sold through Our Shop helps provide revenue for FOSA programs.

Youth Education Assistant (Only during the School Year)

The Arboretum offers a wide variety of educational programs to students in grades pre-K through high school.      Volunteers will work with a program presenter, helping to prepare and assist in leading activities. There are indoor and outdoor activities. Time commitment usually involves 3 to 4 hours at a time, between the hours of 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. A willingness to work with children is required. A background and/or education in Virginia’s natural environment is beneficial.

Special Events

Special Events Volunteers help with pre-event planning, set up, event day activities and cleanup. The State Arboretum relies greatly on its volunteers, especially during the larger, annual events (Garden Fair and ArborFest). As a special events volunteer, you will be called upon to work at least a 3-hour shift for both of these events in one of the following areas: set up, vendor check-in, gatekeepers, wagon control, membership, children’s activities, volunteer meals, plant sales and Our Shop. If you are interested in the actual planning of events, please talk to the Volunteer Coordinator.

Arboretum Docents

Volunteer Docents give tours and programs, greet visitors and assist with related activities.

Bridle Trail

Volunteers clear new trails, install signage and maintain trails as needed. They may serve as trail guides for FOSA sponsored rides. Members also prepare mailings for other horse related activities and then act as host/hostess and registrar for these events.

Holiday Workshops

Wreath making and flower arranging workshops are held on several Saturdays in December. Volunteers help with greens collections, publicity, setup and cleanup. They are also needed to assist the instructor during workshops.

“First Class” Mailers

The members of the mailing group usually meet once or twice a month, for 1 to 3 hours, to prepare mailings for the Foundation and for Blandy Experimental Farm. They collate, fold, stuff, label and stamp invitations, brochures and membership information. It is a good way to meet people and catch up with old friends. Can’t stay until the mailing is complete? No problem. Come and stay as long as you can.

Event Site Prep

Volunteers set up tents, tables and chairs, post signage and lay out vendor exhibitor booths for special events, public programs, outdoor lectures, etc. Volunteers also help with takedown after the events.


For more information about volunteering, including details about the benefits of volunteering, please see our Volunteer Handbook or contact our Volunteer Coordinator at 837-1758 ext. 246 or fosaevents@virginia.edu


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