US National Arboretum


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Volunteering at the Arboretum

volunteer groupThe National Arboretum has over 150 volunteers, many of whom have been with us over 15 years. Volunteers play an integral role in Arboretum programs and assist in almost every area and endeavor, performing jobs ranging from gardening to education and research support. On average more than 18,000 hours of volunteer service are provided each year. Many volunteers contribute their time and talent on weekdays, although there are some weekend positions available.  Volunteers receive orientation and training. We ask most of our volunteers to contribute a minimum of 4 hours weekly for a one-year commitment.

Come Garden with Us

volunteerHave you always wanted to garden, but didn't know where to start?  Are you an avid gardener, but would like to learn new skills?  If you answered yes, then the Volunteer Gardener Training is what you are looking for.  Come join the team of volunteer gardeners at the U.S. National Arboretum!

This coming February all current and prospective volunteers are invited to attend the Volunteer Gardener Training.  Each class is taught by professional horticulturists and researchers from the U.S. National Arboretum. Class topics include botany, pruning, plant identification, weed removal, soils, integrated pest management, and a tour of the U.S. National Arboretum.

The four week training will take place on February 5th, 12th, 19th, and 26th, 2015.  Each class will run from 8:45am-1:30pm.

At the end of the training, new volunteers will have the opportunity to select which gardens they are interested in volunteering.

To register, please contact the volunteer office: 

Phone: 202-245-4563
Email: .  

Help Others Enjoy the Arboretum

Do you enjoy working with people and being outdoors?  Are you a lifelong learner?  If your answer is yes, come join the team of Arboretum Volunteer Guides and Docents and share your love of plants and the Arboretum with visitors from around the world. 

What do docents and guides do at the National Arboretum? 
Docents enhance the visitor experience by providing visitors with valuable information and answering questions at the front desk or at outdoor information stations.  Guides connect visitors to the Arboretum through interpretive tours. They lead walking tours of individual collections or bus tours of the entire grounds for groups such as general visitors, special interest groups, professional organizations, or school groups. 

What will be taught during the training?
The training will cover two subject areas. Three sessions will focus on how to be an interpreter and how to lead tours. The remaining sessions will cover Arboretum history along with information about the Arboretum’s research and collections and gardens. Together the techniques and information will give volunteers a firm foundation to assist visitors and to lead tours.  

When is the training? 
The volunteer guide training will take place on:Bob

  • February 18th   – 9:30am-2:30pm
  • February 25th  – 9:30am-2:30pm
  • March 4th  – 9:30am-2:30pm
  • March 11th  – 9:30am-2:30pm
  • March 18th  – 9:30am-2:30pm
  • March 25th  – 9:30am-2:30pm 

What are the volunteer requirements?
Volunteer guides and docents are expected to provide visitors with quality information in a professional, friendly manner. They should feel comfortable working with the public and in front of groups. No experience is necessary, but a strong desire to learn is required.  Volunteers may sign up to be a guide, docent, or both. Service requirements are a minimum of 50 hours per year with a minimum commitment of 1 year.

What are the benefits?
Arboretum volunteers receive many benefits for volunteering, such as annual training, field trips, in-service professional development programs, and annual recognition events

How do I register?
For more information or to register, call the Volunteer Office at 202-245-4563 or email  

Volunteer Groups

Is your group seeking a one-day volunteer opportunity?

The U.S. National Arboretum welcomes groups of various sizes to volunteer on the grounds and in the gardens. Volunteer groups assist with invasive species removal, weeding, mulching, and litter pick up. Group projects vary depending upon the season. Workdays are scheduled for a minimum of 3 hours to a maximum of 6 hours. Contact the volunteer coordinator for more information about scheduling a group volunteer workday.

If you are interested in finding out more about any of the above volunteer opportunities, click here for a fillable application or please contact:

  USNA Volunteer Coordinator
  3501 New York Avenue, NE
  Washington, DC 20002
  Tel: (202) 245-4563
  Fax: (202) 245-4575
  USNA Volunteer Coordinator

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Last Updated   December 31, 2014 7:55 AM
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