COVID-19 UPDATE - The MN Landscape Arboretum has ticketed availability for guests. We are not able to welcome new volunteers at this time, but please do come and visit.
If you are already an Arboretum volunteer, Join our Private Facebook Group
All current Arboretum volunteers are invited to join our temporary Facebook group to stay in touch while we're apart.
Volunteering at the MN Landscape Arboretum
Types of Volunteer Opportunities at the Arboretum
- Education - This is the area in which we need the most dedicated, excited, and passionate volunteers to assist with our children's programming. Former teachers are encouraged to apply and additional training will be offered for each program. Every year, over 40,000 students from schools around the Metro come to learn more about the natural world and have authentic, hands-on experiences.
- Arboretum Ambassador Program - The Arboretum is quite large and can be overwhelming for new visitors. Our Ambassadors wear green vests, carry a radio, and are armed with maps, leaflets, and the knowledge they gain in our training program. If guests are lost, are wondering what there is to do, or just need guidance on how to get from one garden to the next, Ambassadors are there to help.
- Arboretum Guides Program - Arboretum Guides go through rigorous training every year to lead tours through our gardens. Some are Master Gardeners, but all have a passion for nature and teaching.
- Art Department Helpers - Wendy DePaolis, our Art Curator, does an excellent job of preparing her volunteers to hang art shows, clean sculptures, act as docents for incoming exhibits, and to assist with Adult Art Education. Often, volunteers on Wendy's team get an opportunity to meet the artists that show their work at the Arboretum
- Children's Garden - Located just outside the Learning Center, our Children's Garden and Greenhouse offer hands-on learning for the nearly 40,000 children served on our campus each year. When the children are not using the garden, we need help maintaining it. In the fall, that means a great harvest!
- Clerical - As with most non-profits, we sell memberships and host events that help with our fundraising. Each year, several times a year, we send out large quantities of mail. This is perfect for anyone who prefers the indoors.
- Conservation Research Assistants - Are you passionate about wild, native plants? Volunteer with the Plant Conservation Program where we maintain a long-term seed bank for imperiled plants of the upper Midwest, study the biology of Minnesota's terrestrial orchids, and conduct field studies in many amazing places throughout the region, including right here at the Arboretum. We need help cleaning seed collections, conducting germination and propagation research, potting up seedlings, and collecting data in the field.
- Development - Do you love numbers and spreadsheets? Or maybe you have beautiful penmanship and like to write thank-you notices. Whatever you enjoy, our Development team would like to get to know you.
- Event Helpers - Our two largest summer events are the annual Gala in the Gardens and Taste and Toast. The rest of the year, we host 5K walks, holiday markets, art fairs, and more. For every event, we ask for help with registration, greeters, and behind the scenes preparation.
- Grounds and Gardens - We don't look this fabulous without some help! For the last few years, we've been the premier northern garden in the U.S. Our horticulturists and grounds crew work with hundreds of volunteers each year to plant beautiful displays for all to enjoy.
- Horticulture Research Assistants - We're the home of the Honeycrisp, Sweet Tango, and First Kiss. In addition to our apple breeding programs, we have a robust trial garden of cold-hardy grapes and grow nearly 300 varieties of pumpkins, gourds, and squash annually. We need help maintaining these fields and sometimes collecting data.
- Membership - Customer service skills are an essential component to helping out at the Membership desk. You'll help guide interested people through the process of becoming a member and explaining all the benefits of membership, like our Reciprocal Gardens Program.
- Native Plant Restoration - The Lake Tamarack property is multi-purpose with an emphasis on sustainability. We are also home to the Bennett-Johnson Prairie, Grace B. Dayton Woodland Wildflower Garden, and the Spring Peeper Meadow Wetlands.
- The Red Barn Farm campus - Opened September 2019 As we create the Red Barn Farm area next to the Tashjian Bee and Pollinator Center, we'll want your help building plots and offering educational programming.
How Do I Become a Volunteer at the Arboretum?
How to Become a Minnesota Landscape Arboretum Volunteer & Member
Our volunteers play a vital role in the Arboretum's success, contributing their time, skills and energy every day. Opportunities to work with plants and people abound - in gardens and greenhouses, with school visits or special events, in research labs and the mailroom. Join in, meet new people, learn new things and help the Arboretum keep growing.
Examples of the types of volunteer job opportunities available can be found on our home page.
Signing up to volunteer at the Arboretum is a self-directed process. Find out if it's the right fit for you by following these FOUR easy steps.
Create an account and fill out an application HERE
Once you've made an account, you can log in to view the upcoming New Volunteer Orientation schedule by finding it under the "Opportunities" tab on the navigation bar. Sign up for whichever date fits into your schedule. If you truly cannot make it to any of the scheduled orientations, special arrangements may be made by contacting the Volunteer Center at [email protected]
Attend your selected orientation where we'll talk about what to expect when volunteering, the benefits of logging hours, University of Minnesota policies and training, and how to complete the required paperwork to get started. All volunteers must complete a background check and become members before actively volunteering on Arboretum grounds.
There are fees associated with membership and with the preliminary intake process. Proceeds benefit the Arboretum by financially supporting our programs and facilitating outreach. Cost should never be a deterrent to volunteering. Subsidies for partial or full payment of these fees are offered when requested and require a commitment of 25 volunteer hours per year. Here is the breakdown:
$40 New Volunteer Package - a one-time cost. This covers the background, home delivery of name tag, and entry into our database to receive the Volunteer News, special offers, and invitations to volunteer events.
$60 to $1,000 Membership. Membership has varying levels that you can choose according to your interests. A Solo Membership is available for those who request a subsidy.
If you have questions, please contact the Volunteer Center at [email protected] or 612-301-1203
At the MN Landscape Arboretum, volunteers outnumber staff 5 to 1. Our 1,200 + acres are lovingly maintained by outdoor enthusiasts, expert societies, and those eager to learn something new. We offer many volunteer opportunities throughout the year, not just gardening! Whatever your interests, we have something for you.
The spirit of volunteering engages the heart and mind. Here are some links that inspire the culture we strive to create within our volunteer program.
Be The Change
Food and climate justice are some of the most pressing issues of our time - you can make a difference
Become a Hospitalitarian
Create hospitality in everything you do
Challenge Assumptions, Enhance Objectivity
Imagine what's possible
The surprising benefits of volunteering
There are many benefits to volunteering. From mental and physical health, learning new things, staying connected, building a resume, and fighting off the effects of aging, there are limitless ways to improve your life through volunteering. The work is its own reward and you get out what you put in. It's one of the reasons I love volunteering when I'm not working at the Arboretum. - Kim Carrier, Volunteer Program Coordinator