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An overview of our volunteer positions is below. Please refer to this when completing your volunteer application. Positions currently open are noted with an Apply Now button. However, you are welcome to submit an application for any position at any time. All applications are kept on file for a year, and are reviewed as opportunities become available.
Interpretive docents—Conservatory, Pipes & Organ Gallery, Historic East Gardens, or Meadow Garden
Longwood’s docent teams enthusiastically interact with guests, sharing knowledge of Longwood’s history, features and seasonal displays. Informally engaging with guests one-on-one, our docents answer questions, share Longwood’s interpretive themes, and enhance our guests' experience. Docents are trained in interpretation, and receive in-depth training on the details of seasonal displays, garden highlights, and Longwood history. In addition to initial training, docents attend specialized training several times throughout the year to enrich their knowledge of horticulture and the Gardens. Docents often stand and walk for extended periods of time; shifts average 3 hours. Time commitments vary, based on assignment. All docents should be prepared to volunteer several daytime shifts each month, as well as occasional evening shifts during special events and holidays. The Meadow Garden and Historic East Garden docents, whose roles are seasonal because they are stationed outside, often volunteer more frequently, in order to meet their volunteer commitment. Currently, there are openings for Historic East Garden and Meadow Garden Docents.
Garden Ambassadors—Peirce-du Pont House, Conservatory, or Webb Farmhouse
Garden Ambassadors greet and engage our guests, and share information about daily and seasonal activities and events taking place at Longwood. Our Garden Ambassadors receive training in guest services and Longwood history. Each team receives specialized training on their assigned area. Volunteers are stationed at welcome desks in the Conservatory and Peirce-du Pont House, year-round. The volunteer time commitment is two or more shifts per month and training sessions, as assigned. The Webb Farmhouse Garden Ambassadors are scheduled seasonally, from spring through fall. As a result, they tend to volunteer more frequently during the season, in order to meet their volunteer commitment. Opportunities for volunteering include weekdays and weekends. Evening opportunities are available during the holidays, and occasionally for select special events, and summer evenings when the Gardens are open later. Shifts average 3.5 hours. Currently, there are openings for Webb Farmhouse and Peirce-du Pont House Garden Ambassadors.
Garden Ambassadors—Visitor Center
Garden Ambassadors in the Visitor Center welcome guests during peak times and provide information on events, garden highlights, and the benefits of membership. Volunteers are assigned three to four times monthly, in two to three hour shifts, standing and walking for most of each shift. Volunteers in this role should expect that their assignments will include weekends and early evenings. These volunteers may also be called upon to greet bus groups during busy times. Individuals with excellent guest service skills, familiarity with Longwood, and who enjoy a fast-paced environment, are good candidates for this role. Training and orientation are provided.
Indoor Children’s Garden Volunteers
This team of volunteers offers children and families fun and educational activities in and around Longwood’s Indoor Children’s Garden. This is a great opportunity for volunteers who enjoy interacting with youngsters in a fast-paced environment. Volunteers are scheduled in the Children’s Garden every day between 10:00 am and 2:30 pm, in two hour shifts. Team members are expected to volunteer two or more shifts per month and also attend training sessions. Volunteers stand and walk for most of their shift. Initial training is provided and on-going training sessions take place every few months.
Gardening and Horticulture Support
Gardening at Longwood is a physically active volunteer role. Whether helping in the production greenhouses, the Conservatory or outdoor garden areas, assignments require walking, standing, kneeling, bending, reaching, and light lifting. Specific duties vary, depending on the assignment. Projects may include potting, watering, weeding, mulching, pruning and general plant maintenance. All gardening volunteers must purchase and wear safety-toe shoes. All other tools and gear will be provided. Unless otherwise noted, gardening takes place from 7:00 am to 11:30 am, Monday to Friday.
Indoor Gardening Assistants
Indoor gardening volunteers assist Longwood’s gardeners in the Main Conservatory, the Peirce-du Pont House, and behind the scenes in production greenhouses, nursery and research areas. Gardening assistants are assigned to a specific garden area, and work closely with Longwood’s gardening staff to conduct research, maintain displays and plant collections, or help with production, depending on assignment. Indoor gardening assistants help year-round, usually on the same morning each week, Monday through Friday. Basic gardening experience required; training specific to each area is provided.
Outdoor Gardening Assistants
Longwood’s outdoor garden areas are divided into sections. Volunteers are assigned to a section and come regularly, usually the same morning each week, to help Longwood’s gardeners maintain their section. This role includes planting, grooming, and garden maintenance, as well as display change-overs. Basic gardening experience required; training specific to each garden area is provided. Outdoor gardening activity takes place from spring through fall, and is weather-dependent. Currently, there are openings for spring and summer 2016.
Weekend Watering Teams
Longwood’s weekend gardening volunteers help ensure that our displays are refreshed and groomed over the weekend. Activities include deadheading, staking, watering and tidying areas. Scheduling is flexible for this early morning role. Volunteers plan their schedule with Longwood’s section gardeners, and commit to helping two or more times per month. Outdoors, these volunteers are busiest May to September; indoors, this team is active year-round. Volunteers who enjoy gardening and would like to help Longwood, but might only have weekend availability, are good candidates for this opportunity. Training specific to the assigned garden area will be provided. Currently, there are openings for the 2016 gardening season.
Meadow Gardening Team
This gardening opportunity is for those who enjoy active, hands-on gardening, and also have a keen interest in meadow ecology, habitat and management. This team meets one morning each week, between Monday and Friday, to help Longwood’s Meadow Gardener with weeding, planting, and invasive species control. Except for areas where the meadow meets the stream or woodland, most gardening activities are in sunny areas. There are openings for the 2016 gardening season.
Longwood’s Meadow Stewards walk the Meadow Garden and monitor plantings, paths, signs and structures to ensure that areas are clear and prepared for guests. The stewards also scout for daily highlights to share with fellow volunteer teams and guests. This morning activity is geared for volunteers who enjoy walking and performing light maintenance. The meadow steward’s walking loop is about three miles of varying terrain. Once trained, these volunteers can vary their schedule, coordinating with gardeners and other team members to ensure coverage.
Tree Patrol Team
This team of volunteers monitors the health and status of trees and woody plants throughout Longwood Gardens on a year-round basis. Activities include inventory and tagging of accessioned trees, performing light maintenance, and noting the need for arborist intervention. Knowledge of plants and trees, as well as familiarity with using computers to record data, is essential. The ability to walk significant distances over varying terrain is also required. The team coordinates and plans the times for their patrol walks on a periodic basis. Walks are usually conducted early on a weekday morning.
Meadow Bloom Log and Wildflower Walk Team
Volunteers on this team gather on Wednesday mornings to conduct a bloom inventory of Longwood’s Meadow Garden, and take turns leading wildflower meadow walks for Longwood visitors on weekends in spring, summer, and fall. A basic knowledge of wildflowers is helpful. However, the team is known for nurturing those with a strong interest in learning, and then sharing that knowledge with Longwood guests. Bloom log attendance and active participation at walks is expected, as well as attendance at team meetings and training sessions. Wednesday and weekend availability are required to participate.
Volunteers lead scheduled walks for Longwood’s guests for enjoyment and to raise awareness of Longwood’s bird populations. Team members also tally and record the number of species sighted during walks. Walks are usually given on select Monday and Saturday mornings, year-round. Birding experience, including being able to assist guests in using binoculars and spotting birds, is required.
Team members are responsible for monitoring and maintaining Longwood’s nearly 200 bluebird houses, as well as tracking and recording data associated with Longwood’s bluebird project. The team members plan their own schedule. Activity is greatest during the spring and early summer months, when birdhouses require frequent visitation and inspection. However, team activity, planning and data management continue ten months per year.
Education, Library, Archives and Records
Volunteers prepare for continuing education classes and workshops by helping with setup, registration, recordkeeping, and tidying up after classes. Orientation and training are provided. Assignments are on an as-needed basis, and are class dependent. Volunteer assignments are organized well ahead of time, soon after the schedule of upcoming classes has been set. Class schedules vary, and include a number of evenings and weekends.
Library volunteers assist staff with daily activities, including assisting patrons, maintaining records, circulation, and projects as needed. Basic knowledge of computers is essential, along with a willingness to learn new software. Ability to bend, stretch, and lift is required. The Library is open Monday through Friday, closed weekends. Volunteer opportunities are only available on weekdays, during business hours between 8:00 am and 5:00 pm.
This team of volunteers monitors all areas of the Gardens to record plant bloom times for Longwood’s extensive plant records system. A horticultural background and basic understanding of nomenclature are very helpful. Volunteers must be able to use a computer and iPad to track and upload data to Longwood’s systems. IPads are provided for use in the garden. Schedules can be flexible, as long as assigned areas are monitored according to schedule. While our phenology volunteers function as a team, the team members conduct their surveys independently to collect and upload data. This role includes walking and standing for extended periods of time.
Plant Records and Archives
Longwood Gardens maintains an extensive plant records system that includes several database programs and Longwood’s herbarium. Volunteers with strong computer skills assist in data maintenance. Another team of volunteers helps with the preparation and mounting of plant specimens. Training is provided. In all records and archives projects, accuracy and attention to detail are essential. Volunteers typically provide assistance one weekday morning per week. This opportunity is not available on weekends.
Digital Gallery and Photography
Volunteers with strong computer skills and a keen interest in photography may apply to assist in Longwood’s Digital Gallery or as a volunteer photographer for Longwood. The images in the Digital Gallery, many of which have been taken by our volunteers, help support the efforts of the Gardens by documenting displays, research, exhibitions, garden highlights and events. Images may be used in Longwood publications, on Longwood’s website, for social media, or other purposes that serve the needs of the Gardens. Volunteers use their own digital camera equipment. Training in using Longwood’s systems and the Digital Gallery, as well as art direction, is provided. Photographers meet as a group several times each year. However, volunteer photographers typically complete assignments independently. The schedule of assignments is posted and updated frequently. Having a flexible schedule is helpful in being available to accept a variety of assignments.
Volunteers provide administrative support to various Longwood departments. Strong computer skills and experience with database entry are required. Good communication skills, accuracy and attention to detail, and the ability to work independently once trained are important. Volunteers on this team also help with administrative tasks such as assembling manuals, conducting inventories, and performing mailings. Scheduling can be flexible. Volunteers should be available for a three-hour shift several times per month. Typical office hours are 8:00 am to 5:00 pm, Monday through Friday. Data administrative assistants in the Visitor Center may also be scheduled on weekends, on an as-needed basis.
Facilities Maintenance Team
Volunteers lend support to Longwood’s Facilities Department, assisting with small projects including many preventive maintenance tasks. Assisting in the carpentry or paint shops, assembling or repairing benches, and lubricating doors are project examples. A background in basic woodworking and tool skills is helpful. Hours are flexible. Volunteers should be prepared to help five or more hours per month, year-round, early mornings preferred. Facilities volunteer teams are only scheduled on weekdays, not on weekends.
Several teams of volunteers work behind the scenes, helping our gardeners prepare for Longwood’s Christmas display. Teams gather one morning each week spring through early fall, to create ornaments from gathered natural materials and assemble décor elements. Basic craft experience, accuracy and attention to detail are required.
This is an overview of the roles volunteers perform in support of Longwood Gardens. Seasonal teams and project volunteers are recruited on an as-needed basis. Please check back frequently for current opportunities.