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 community 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!

Unload Plants, Earn a Discount!

Our native plant sales staff needs your muscle! Volunteer to help unload plant shipments at Garden in the Woods between March 14 and April 12, and at Nasami Farm between April 15 and April 25, and we will reward you with 25% plant order discount!

To volunteer, please email shop@NativePlantTrust.org. Thank you!

Love to Ramble?

Plant Conservation Volunteers: Our community 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. Visit this Conservation page to learn more about the program and how to apply.

Garden in the Woods, Framingham, MA

Choose from several 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, May, and June: Wednesdays at 11 AM & Saturdays at 2 PM
    • July, August, September, and October: Saturdays at 2 PM

    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 Garden guide training in the spring, become familiar with the guide training manual, and shadow experience guides before leading their first tour.

    Time Commitment

    We offer tours from mid-April to mid-October, and our busiest times are May and June. Guides may sign up for weekday tours, weekend tours, or both. Guides must attend the spring guide training program.

    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 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.

    Apply to Be a Garden Guide

  • Native Plant Highlights Read more

    Description

    The Native Plant Highlights entry sign guides visitors to the most impressive flora in the collections throughout the season. Photographs of the plants in bloom are identified by their common and Latin names. Volunteers update the board every other week. They walk through the Garden with a form to notate the best specimens in each garden section at that time; historical data is provided as a reference point. They then submit the form to Public Programs staff to be designed with images for the entry sign.

    Responsibilities

    Volunteer shifts are available every other Thursday beginning at 10 a.m. Volunteers sign up for slots using our volunteer scheduling calendar. Volunteers may sign up for every other Thursday, or for fewer slots as their availability allows.

    Skills & Experience

    Familiarity with native plant identification is helpful and will speed up the time needed to ID plants. Depending on the week, the entire native plant highlights process can take from two to four hours.

    Commitment

    Native Plant Highlights volunteers must commit to working at least three shifts between April and October.

    Training

    Experienced 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.

    Apply to Be a Native Plant Highlights Volunteer

  • Stock Beds Read more

    Thank you for your interest. Winter applications preceding the volunteer season are 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

    Skills & Experience

    • 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

    Description

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

    Responsibilities

    Volunteers join our Wednesday morning crew, from 9 a.m.-11:30 a.m. The growing season begins in March or April, depending on weather. Volunteers may work until October or November, helping with fall cleanup.

    Skills & Experience

    Successful volunteers are friendly, enthusiastic, willing to learn on the job, reliable, and good representatives of Native Plant Trust. 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

    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

    Uli Lorimer, Director of Horticulture
    Ulorimer@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.

    Skills & Experience

    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

    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

    Skills & Experience

    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

    Apply to Be a Garden Shop + Native Plant Sales Volunteer

  • Special Events Volunteer Read more

    Description

    Garden in the Woods hosts numerous special events throughout the year for thousands of visitors, including Trillium Week, busy weekend days in the spring, and more. Special events volunteers support staff to ensure the events are enjoyable for attendees.

    Who Should Apply?

    If you enjoy interacting with the public, can keep a calm and positive attitude during a busy time, and believe in the value of visitor services, you may make a great special events volunteer.

    Responsibilities

    Special events volunteers may be asked to assist with:

    • Event set-up
    • Event check-in
    • Directing parking
    • Providing basic information about the Garden
    • Alerting staff to visitor needs or situations

    Time Commitment

    Special events volunteer opportunities are on an as-needed basis. They occur several times throughout the year, and each event generally requires a time commitment of two to four hours. Depending on the event, volunteers may also be required to attend a brief training. We request that special events volunteers commit to at least two event per year.

    Benefits

    Volunteers enjoy the opportunity to interact with visitors and to be part of the Garden team at its most celebratory times. Volunteers also enjoy special appreciation events and enrichment activities.

    Apply to be a Special Events Volunteer

Nasami Farm, Whately, MA

Help propagate plants at our nursery in western Massachusetts

Description

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

(Karen) Miho Connolly, Nursery Coordinator: 413-397-9922, kconnolly@NativePlantTrust.org

Apply to Volunteer at Nasami Farm

All Over the Region

Wherever Native Plant Trust offers public programs and community outreach, we need help from enthusiastic, knowledgeable volunteers.

  • Community Outreach Volunteer Read more

    Description

    Native Plant Trust strives to maintain and cultivate strong connections throughout New England. We receive many requests to have staff provide informational materials at events throughout the region. However, most of our staff is based in Framingham, MA, and is often unable to attend functions at a distance. Community outreach volunteers support Native Plant Trust by sharing about the organization’s work and resources at events (such as meetings and fairs) in their local areas.

    Who Should Apply?

    If you are active in your local community, attend or are on the planning committee for large events related to Native Plant Trust’s mission, and enjoy sharing resources with the public, you may be a great community outreach volunteer.

    Responsibilities

    Community outreach volunteers:

    • Receive and store small amounts of Native Plant Trust informational materials
    • Familiarize with Native Plant Trust and stay up to date on current initiatives
    • Complete a brief online training or handbook
    • Sign up for and table at area events where Native Plant Trust information has been requested
    • Identify, sign up for, and table at area events where Native Plant Trust materials would be appreciated
    • Serve as a logistical liaison for any preparation details pertaining to a tabling event (e.g., paperwork)

    Time Commitment

    Community outreach opportunities are primarily made available on the basis of requests Native Plant Trust receives (though a volunteer may take initiative to table at an area event where they believe our organization’s information would be appreciated). If a request is made for an event in your area, it will be posted as an opportunity on your state-specific community outreach volunteer scheduling calendar. We post these events as far in advance as possible, and we request that volunteers make an effort to table for local requests. Tabling opportunities may be between two and eight hours, on any day or evening. Community outreach volunteers may also be required to complete a brief online informational training.

    Benefits

    Volunteers enjoy the opportunity to interact with future Native Plant Trust supporters and to be a critical part of Native Plant Trust’s regional growth. 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.

    Apply to be a Community Outreach Volunteer

  • Volunteer Program Host Read more

    Description

    Volunteer program hosts offer continuing education students a personal greeting and guidance at our program locations. 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 hosts reach out to us to schedule themselves for programs of their choosing.

    Benefits

    Hosts enjoy opportunities to learn, grow as individuals, and connect with others who have compatible interests. Hosting a program also means taking it for free. Volunteers also enjoy special appreciation events and enrichment activities.

    Apply to Be a Program Host

SOS_beach_grass_shells_AbigailUrban.jpg

Can’t Volunteer?

Consider supporting our vital work with a donation. Thanks!

Donate
Hypericum_frondosum& Pholisora_catullus_Jaffe_reduced.jpg

Catch the Buzz

Take our courses to learn how to support the pollinators plants depend on!

Sign Up Now
Magnifying glass insect

Insatiably Curious?

We offer certificate programs in botany and in native plant horticulture and design.

See Certificate Programs

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