Native Plant Trust

Volunteering

Make a Hands-on Contribution

Learn about plants. Feel valued. Have fun.

One of the best parts of volunteering for Native Plant Trust is the work itself. It's not only meaningful, but also downright fun: Train as a citizen scientist and hike New England's forests and fields to monitor rare plants. Dig your hands into the soil in Nasami Farm's greenhouses. Guide visitors at Garden in the Woods. Clean wild-harvested seeds for our growing seed bank. No matter what you do, you join a community of dedicated people who share your interests and a passion for the native plants of our region. We offer special programs to all volunteers, ranging from garden tours to slide presentations and lectures at brown-bag lunches.

Check out the locations and opportunities in the green boxes below, and use the embedded forms to apply. We look forward to meeting you soon!


Love to Ramble?

Plant Conservation Volunteers: Our roaming citizen scientists

As part of the New England Plant Conservation Program (NEPCoP), Plant Conservation Volunteers (PCVs) hike the wilds to search for rare plants, monitor and document plant populations, and perform other tasks that augment the work of our staff and other botanical professionals throughout the region. Since 1998, hundreds of PCVs have donated more than 50,000 hours of field work and provided invaluable data to state Natural Heritage Programs and related organizations in all six New England states. Visit this Conservation page to learn why PCVs are so valuable to the region's rare plants. Download this brochure to read more about what PCVs do, the trainings we run. 

Questions? Contact Micah Jasny, Botanical Coordinator: mjasny@NativePlantTrust.org; 508-877-7630 x3204

Click here to apply.

Garden in the Woods, Framingham, MA

Choose from seven different volunteer positions at our headquarters and botanic garden, 22 miles west of Boston.

  • Garden Guide Read more

    Our volunteer guides offer visitors a personal introduction to Garden in the Woods, Native Plant Trust, and the beauty and importance of native plants. Guides lead tours from mid-April to mid-October. Tours take about one hour and follow a mile-long trail through the woodland. Throughout the season, guides lead both informal drop-in tours at regular times (see schedule below) and scheduled tours for groups.

    Drop-in Tour Schedule

    April-August:

    • Wednesday and Friday at 11 a.m.
    • Saturday and Sunday at 2 p.m.

    September-October:

    • Wednesday at 11 a.m.
    • Saturday at 2 p.m.

    Who Should Apply?

    If you like to work with people, enjoy plants, gardening, or the natural world and have time to volunteer, you might make a great guide. Guides learn about the Garden’s history, native plants, horticulture, and botany, while helping visitors make connections to the natural world. You do not need teaching experience—our guides have a  variety of backgrounds and experience. Successful guides are open-minded, willing to learn, friendly, patient, reliable, and enthusiastic representatives of our organization.

    Responsibilities

    • Lead groups of approximately 10 people through the Garden.
    • Responsible for arriving on time, checking in with the Public Programs Coordinator or Visitor Center staff, helping to greet groups, and notifying the Public Programs Department if they are unable to come as scheduled
    • Must attend the multi-session spring guide training program at Garden in the Woods, become familiar with the guide training notebook, and “shadow” experienced guides 3 or more times before leading their first tour 

    Time Commitment

    We offer tours from mid-April to mid-October, and our busiest times are May and June. We request that our guides lead a minimum of 8 tours per year. Guides may sign up for weekday tours, weekend tours, or both. Guides must attend the spring guide training program. Please see the current training schedule below. 

    2019 Training Schedule (check back soon!)

    • Wednesday
    • Friday
    • Wednesday
    • Friday

    Benefits
    In addition to discovering and sharing plants and nature with others, guides receive free admission to Garden in the Woods. Guides enjoy opportunities to learn, grow as individuals, and to connect with others who have compatible interests. If you lead eight or more tours a year, you may take free classes with Native Plant Trust, space permitting. Seasonal talks and walks are also offered as refreshers.

    Apply to Be a Garden Guide

  • Bloom Board Read more

    Description

    The bloom board kiosk lets visitors know what’s in bloom that week. Photographs of the plants in bloom are identified by their common and Latin names. Bloom board volunteers update the board every week. First, they walk through the Garden and check off which plants are blooming. Next, they obtain photos of those plants from our files and place them on the bloom board. They also remove photos of plants no longer in bloom and file them in the photo  boxes.

    Responsibilities

    Volunteers work Monday to Friday between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., at times that suit their schedules and the weather. Volunteers usually work in pairs and may request a specific partner. They may also choose to work by themselves.

    The bloom board should be updated before Saturday of each week. In the event that volunteers are unable to make it to their scheduled work day(s) they are responsible for finding their own bloom board volunteer replacements (e.g. they can swap weeks with another volunteer).

    Qualifications

    Familiarity with native plant identification is helpful and will speed up the time needed to ID plants. Depending on the week, the entire bloom-board process can take from
    1 ½ to 3 hours. 

    Commitment

    Bloom Board volunteers must commit to working three to four weeks a season.

    Training

    Experienced bloom board volunteers provide on-the-job training for new volunteers.

    Benefits

    The process of keeping the bloom board up-to-date provides a way of seeing the Garden at different times of the growing season. 

    Staff Contact

    Director of Public Programs, education@NativePlantTrust.org, 508-877-7630 ext. 3302

    Apply to Be a Bloom Board Volunteer
  • Stock Beds Read more

    Thank you for your interest! We are no longer accepting applications this year. Please check back for updates for the 2020 volunteer season. Winter applications preceding the volunteer season are preferred.

    * * *

    Spring applicants preferred

    Description

    The stock beds at Garden in the Woods are the in-ground nursery where we grow many of the woodland wildflowers that do not perform as well in traditional nursery settings. 

    Responsibilities

    • Weeding
    • Transplanting
    • Potting
    • Dividing
    • Various other propagation duties

    Qualifications

    • A strong back and knees are recommended.
    • Propagation experience is welcomed but not required.
    • The ability to work well in a group and commit to specific times for work.
    • Carpentry skills are of great use for any volunteers interested in building new beds.

    Commitment

    Schedules will be determined in early spring

    Training

    Training will occur on an as-needed basis, with at least one major training session in early spring.

    Benefits

    Volunteers will get the chance to learn in detail about the species grown in the stock beds, They will learn about how to create the correct growing conditions for each species, how to deal with species-specific problems, and how to propagate the species. 

    Staff Contact

    Uli Lorimer, Director of Horticulture  ulorimer@NativePlantTrust.org
    508-877-7630 x3401

    Apply to Be a Stock Beds Volunteer
  • Horticulture Read more

    Thank you for your interest! We are no longer accepting applications this year. Please check back for updates for the 2020 volunteer season. Winter applications preceding the volunteer season are preferred.

    ***

    Spring applicants only

    Description

    The garden is 45 acres, of which 15 are cultivated and maintained by the horticulture crew. Horticulture volunteers work alongside staff to practice ecological gardening and manage the Garden in the Woods collection using sustainable solutions. Responsibilities include but are not limited to: weeding, staking, mulching, raking, pruning, cutting back, and planting.

    Responsibilities

    Volunteers join our Wednesday morning crew, from 9 a.m.-11:30 a.m. If there is enough interest, volunteering may be opened up to one more weekday morning. The growing season begins in April. Volunteers may work until October or November, helping with fall cleanup.

    Qualifications

    Successful volunteers are friendly, enthusiastic, willing to learn on the job, reliable, and good representatives of New England Wild Flower Society. A good starting point is having an interest in native plants, gardening, or plant conservation.  Some physical requirements include a strong back and good knees, and a positive attitude is a must.

    Commitment

    Horticulture volunteers help with opening the garden during the busy spring season, weeding during the summer, and raking leaves in the fall. We prefer that volunteers commit to an entire growing season; however, we are flexible.

    Training

    The horticulture staff provides on-the-job training.  

    Benefits

    Volunteers enjoy opportunities to learn, to grow as individuals, to share with others who have compatible interests, to enjoy a beautiful setting, and to contribute to the cause of native plant horticulture.

    Staff Contact

    Anna Fialkoff, Horticulturist, afialkoff@NativePlantTrust.org, 508-877-7630 ext. 3404

    Apply to Be a Horticulture Volunteer
  • Philanthropy Read more

    Description

    Our Philanthropy volunteers assist with a variety of interesting and important projects throughout the year, including research, database maintenance, mailings, and donor/member events.

    Responsibilities

    • Attention to detail and accuracy are very important for this volunteer role.
    • Volunteers must understand the need for and be committed to maintaining confidentiality when working with member/donor records.
    • Volunteers should be positive and enthusiastic about helping Native Plant Trust and its supporters.
    • Volunteers should be willing to learn about our mission and our region-wide activities.
    • Volunteers are responsible for arriving on time and checking in with the Philanthropy staff for scheduled sessions, and for notifying us if they are delayed or unable to attend as planned.

    Qualifications

    Successful Philanthropy volunteers are friendly, enthusiastic, willing to learn on the job, patient, respectful, reliable, and enthusiastic representatives of Native Plant Trust. They are computer-savvy, comfortable working with Microsoft Word and Excel, and have a pleasant telephone manner.

    Commitment

    Philanthropy volunteers must be committed to working at least two 2-hour sessions every month.

    Training

    Database and other training will be provided as needed.

    Benefits

    Philanthropy volunteers enjoy hands-on opportunities to learn about membership and fundraising initiatives, to express their philanthropic and conservation values in activities that are practical and meaningful, and to obtain a personal sense of reward from giving back to an organization whose mission they believe in. 

    Staff Contact

    Philanthropy Assistant, development@NativePlantTrust.org, 508-877-7630 ext. 3802

    Apply to Be a Philanthropy Volunteer
  • Shop + Native Plant Sales Read more

    Description

    The Society relies on volunteers to help keep the native plants we sell in peak condition and to help answer customer questions in the plant sales area. The Garden Shop & Native Plant Sales volunteer will help out in the plant sales area and the plant holding area by maintaining plants, assisting customers as needed, and assisting the Plant Sales Coordinator. 

    Responsibilities

    • General plant maintenance including watering and weeding 
    • Some plant receiving
    • Labeling and moving plants around
    • Potting and dividing plants
    • Helping to inventory and count plants 
    • Helping to answer customer questions as needed

    Qualifications

    Successful Garden Shop volunteers are friendly, enthusiastic, willing to learn on the job, patient, reliable, and enthusiastic representatives of Native Plant Trust. Volunteers should have strong backs, good knees, and a positive attitude. The ability to work independently is also important. If you are interested in native plants, gardening, enjoy helping customers, and love getting your hands dirty, this position might be a good fit for you.  

    Commitment

    We offer weekday and weekend volunteer opportunities. Volunteers must be willing to work on a regular basis, ideally one 3-hour morning shift per week. Volunteers are responsible for arriving on time, checking in with the Plant Sales Coordinator or Garden Shop Manager, and notifying the Garden Shop if they are unable to come as scheduled. 

    Benefits

    We offer volunteer/new staff training in the early spring, as well as on-the-job training. Volunteers enjoy opportunities to learn about native plants, to share with others who have compatible interests, to enjoy a beautiful setting, and to contribute to native plant horticulture. Special programs are offered to volunteers, ranging from garden tours to slide presentations and lectures at brown-bag lunches. 

    Staff Contact

    Noni Macon, Retail Manager, nmacon@NativePlantTrust.org, 508-877-7630 ext. 3209

    Apply to Be a Garden Shop + Native Plant Sales Volunteer
  • Library Volunteer Read more

    Description

    The Lawrence Newcomb Library is a learning and research resource located at Garden in the Woods. The library contains thousands of volumes that document current and historical knowledge and best practices in native plants, conservation, botany, horticulture, landscape architecture, and related fields. These resources are available on a reference basis to our members. Library volunteers catalog, assist to accession and de-accession, and oversee the well-being of the library materials.

    Who Should Apply?

    If you like to work in quiet yet collaborative spaces with learning materials, if you enjoy organization and detail-oriented tasks, and if you are comfortable using a computer, you might make a great library volunteer.

    Responsibilities

    Under the leadership of a fellow volunteer librarian:

    • Catalog the library materials in the computer database, label them, and place them properly on the shelves
    • Assist in any necessary reorganization of library materials
    • Assist occasional members to find and utilize library materials
    • Assist in accessioning or de-accessioning library materials
    • Assist in the care of the library materials through such activities as researching an utilizing protective accessories

    Time Commitment

    The library is open year-round at Garden in the Woods, and library volunteers meet on Wednesdays. We request that our library volunteers support Native Plant Trust with a minimum of 16 hours per year. 

    Qualifications

    Some familiarity or background with book collection care and maintenance is desirable, but not required. All that is required is a willingness to learn. 

    Benefits

    Volunteers enjoy opportunities to learn, grow as individuals, and to connect with others who have compatible interests. Upon completion of 16 volunteer hours each year, you are welcome to take programs for free. Volunteers also enjoy special appreciation events and enrichment activities. 

    Staff Contact

    Lindsey Schreier, Public Programs Coordinator: 508-877-7630 x3303; lschreier@NativePlantTrust.org

Nasami Farm, Whately, MA

Help propagate plants at our nursery in western Massachusetts

In this bucolic landscape two hours west of Boston, a small staff grows genetically diverse plants that are adapted to the region's climate and support healthy ecosystems. We specialize in propagating common, widespread New England native plants grown from seed, which we harvest throughout the region using sustainable principles. During the summer, Nasami Farm's Garden Shop offers customers a wide selection of plants for ecological landscaping and restoration.

Volunteers work under the supervision of staff in our seed room, in our outdoor gardens, or in our greenhouses. Schedules and activities vary with the season, with winter being usually the slowest time. Volunteers help out most intensively during the growing season, though some tasks extend throughout the year. 

Tasks

  • Help to clean and process seed for short-term storage  
  • Propagate plants by transplanting seedlings and doing a limited amount of seed sowing
  • Maintain plants in our greenhouses by weeding, pruning, and tidying
  • Help maintain garden beds by weeding, mulching, raking, and edging
  • Office tasks and data entry
  • Assist with community outreach by writing articles or working a local event booth 

Qualifications

This volunteer position is based in Whately, MA. Experience is welcomed but not required. Some tasks are physical, so having a strong back and knees is helpful. Propagation work requires standing for long periods of time in a sometimes hot and sometimes cold greenhouse. Propagation and seed cleaning require steady hands, good eyesight, attention to detail, and patience. 

Commitment

The schedule and activities vary with the season. Tasks that require more training, such as propagation and seed cleaning, often require a weekly time commitment. 

Training

Volunteers receive on-the-job training. 

Benefits

Volunteering at Nasami Farm is a unique opportunity to learn about propagating and growing our region’s native flora from seed in a hands-on environment. Volunteers have a chance to connect with other people who have similar interests, spend time around knowledgeable staff, and contribute to the cause of native plant conservation and horticulture—all of this with the beautiful backdrop of the Pioneer Valley. 

Staff Contact

Alexis Doshas, Propagator and Facilities Coordinator: 413-397-9922, adoshas@NativePlantTrust.org

Apply to Volunteer at Nasami Farm

All Over the Region

Volunteer program hosts offer continuing education students a personal greeting and guidance at our program locations


Description

Hosts greet students year-round on various dates and times, at Garden in the Woods, Nasami Farm, and many other program locations throughout New England. 

Who Should Apply?

If you like to work with people, enjoy plants, gardening, or the natural world and have time to volunteer, you might make a great host. Hosts offer simple logistical support to instructors and students on the day of the program. Successful hosts are open-minded, willing to learn, friendly, patient, reliable, and enthusiastic representatives of Native Plant Trust.

Responsibilities

  • Greet instructors and students when they arrive on property and guide them to program location.
  • Prepare materials such as handout copies for instructor
  • Open and lock gate if necessary
  • Open and close classroom space if necessary
  • Ensure participants sign in
  • Similar support duties

Time Commitment

Our programs run year-round, on a variety of days, times, and locations. We request that our hosts support programs for a minimum of 16 hours per year, for programs of their choosing. 

Benefits

Hosts enjoy opportunities to learn, grow as individuals, and to connect with others who have compatible interests. Hosting a program also means taking it for free; upon completion of 16 volunteer hours each year, you are also welcome to take further programs for free. Volunteers also enjoy special appreciation events and enrichment activities. 

Staff Contact

Lindsey Schreier, Public Programs Coordinator: 508-877-7630 x3303; lschreier@NativePlantTrust.org

<Google form TK: Apply to Be a Program Host>

For Nasami Volunteers, It's All about the Plants

Take it from writer Marnie Smith, a long-time volunteer from Vermont

Maybe the wind is blowing across the open fields at Nasami Farm in Whately, and there is a bite in the air. Or a cool rain has come up and the skies are gray. Never mind—everyone knows that once you're inside the greenhouse with your hands in the dirt, the weather doesn't matter. That is why on any given morning in spring, summer, and fall, no matter the weather, you can find a group of people of all ages and backgrounds gathered in the greenhouse talking, laughing, and working with native plants. One thing I noticed when I started volunteering at Nasami Farm—it’s all about the plants. It takes a whole year (often longer) of collecting, planting, growing, organizing, and planning to produce the beautiful collection of native New England plants on sale from April to October at the farm and at Garden in the Woods. As a volunteer, if you are not working directly with plants, you might be preparing for their celebrated arrival in some way or another.

On volunteer workdays, as folks wander into the main building, the atmosphere is friendly and warm. People greet each other and may gather up gloves and tools for the work ahead. Before long, we head to  the greenhouses for sowing or transplanting, or pull up chairs in the classroom to clean seeds that have been harvested in the wild. This is a group you can talk plants with, or garden tools, or your personal recipe for compost tea with no worry about how you will sound. Nasami volunteers come from Vermont, Connecticut, and just down the road. We all have one thing in common and that is a love for and excitement about the mission of Native Plant Trust. Nasami Farm's goal is to grow and sell locally sourced New England native plants from seeds sustainably collected by staff and trained volunteers. 

The best thing about volunteering at Nasami Farm is the opportunity to learn. Among the tasks we do are planting, pruning, or grooming plants; cleaning and sowing seed; and raking, mulching and other chores around the farm or in the office. As you work alongside staff members and other volunteers, you can learn about how seeds are collected, stored, propagated, and grown into plants. There are also opportunities to work in the garden beds around the farm that display native plants. Many of the volunteers are avid native plant collectors and gardeners who are happy to share information about how native plants perform in their gardens or what plants are easy or hard to grow. The staff members always have time to answer questions and share information about planting and taking care of native species.

Becoming a volunteer at Nasami is rewarding and addicting! If plants and gardening are something you like to share with others, and if you like hands-on work in the company of friendly fellow gardeners, give it a try. Volunteers are always needed to help with plants in the greenhouses and to manage the native plantings and gardens around the farm. 

* * *

Want to volunteer at Nasami Farm? Contact: Alexis Doshas, Propagator and Facilities Coordinator: adoshas@NativePlantTrust.org; 413-397-9922.

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“Volunteers do not necessarily have the time; they just have the heart.”