Volunteer Opportunities

We offer many fun and rewarding volunteer opportunities throughout the year. Most opportunities are during weekday business hours, and can be short or long term. Benefits include free training, discounts on educational programs and membership, and a year-end recognition event. Individuals from the community, retired persons, students, and youth ages 15 and older are welcome to complete our online application form.

Volunteer FAQ's

Garden Guides

Garden Guides (docents) conduct tours and interpret the gardens and arboretum to adult groups and visitors, serving as ambassadors to the public and assisting with special events.

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Natural Areas

Native plant conservation, trail maintenance and invasive plant removal are major focuses for volunteer efforts in our Natural Areas, including the Mundy Wildflower Garden and over 40 sites within the Cayuga Lake Basin.

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Volunteers help our staff maintain plant collections in our gardens, greenhouse and arboretum. Work includes planting, weeding, watering and mulching -- getting your hands dirty and learning as you go.

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Youth Program Facilitators

Volunteers help conduct a variety of engaging, hands-on programs for schools, youth groups and families, including Wildflower Explorations for 3rd graders, and the popular Judy’s Day family event.

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Volunteer Stories

Learn about the experiences of three of our volunteers in these interviews by our Learning by Leading students.


Teresa’s Story!

Garden Guide and Master Gardener Teresa Craighead shares how a space in her life was filled and grew into bountiful opportunities with the Cornell Botanic Gardens.


Gregory’s Story!

Professor Emeritus Gregory Page shares how Cornell Botanic Gardens was integral to teaching his art classes.


Gavin’s Story!

Gavin Ratliff, a current senior studying landscape architecture, tells us how the design of the Cornell Botanic Gardens and his own passions work together to create enriching experiences.