Volunteers provide valuable assistance throughout Longwood Gardens. What sort of volunteer role is right for you? To guide you in completing your volunteer application, our most popular opportunities are described below.
Guest Information Volunteers
Greet and engage our guests, and answer questions about daily and seasonal activities events taking place at Longwood , Volunteers are stationed in the Conservatory and the Heritage Exhibit in the Peirce-du Pont House. Time commitment—one or two shifts per month, and training sessions, as assigned, each year.
Interpretive Docents—Conservatory, Pipes & Organ Gallery, Historic East Gardens
Longwood’s docent teams enthusiastically interact with guests, sharing knowledge of Longwood’s history, plants and events. These volunteers, who are trained in interpretation, actively engage guests, answer questions, and enhance our guest experience. Must be comfortable interacting with the public. Docents often stand for extended periods of time. Time commitments vary, based on docent’s assigned area. Volunteers should be prepared to work several morning or afternoon shifts several times monthly and participate in on-going training sessions.
Indoor Children’s Garden Volunteers
This team of volunteers offers kids and families fun and educational activities in and around Longwood’s amazing Children’s Garden. Volunteers must enjoy interacting with youngsters, and be at ease working in a fast-paced environment. Volunteers are needed seven days a week from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm. Training is provided. Time commitment is a minimum of four hours monthly, plus training sessions every two months.
Garden Ambassadors—Visitor Center
Volunteers welcome our guests during peak times at the Gardens, and provide information on the benefits of membership. Enthusiasm and a familiarity with Longwood’s membership programs are required. Volunteers work 2 to 3 hours shifts, standing and walking for most of the shift. Orientation and training provided by Longwood’s membership department.
These assignments are for volunteers who enjoy physical activity and being hands-on gardeners. Responsibilities include watering, potting, preparing soils, weeding, pruning, mulching and general plant maintenance. Assignments require kneeling, bending and some lifting. All volunteers who work in horticulture must purchase and wear safety-toed shoes.
Indoor Horticulture Assistants
Our indoor team participates on a year-round basis, usually one or more mornings per week. Volunteers assist in production greenhouses, research areas, the Main Conservatory and the Conservatory at the Peirce-duPont House. Each area features different plant collections, and all areas include seasonal displays.
Outdoor Horticultural Assistant
These assignments are more seasonal in nature, usually a morning per week between April and October. Volunteers are assigned to a section of the garden, such as the Idea Garden, Flower Walk, Peirce’s Woods, Hillside Garden, Rose Garden, Vegetable Garden, Italian Water Garden, or other landscaped areas.
Integrated Pest Management and Sustainable Practices Teams
Volunteers serve as scouts to identify and quantify insect populations and the presence of plant problems throughout the gardens. Hours can be flexible, but must be regular. One shift per week, on a year round basis.
Compost Tea Team
Volunteers assist in the brewing and distribution of compost tea fertilizer, in Longwood’s indoor and outdoor garden beds. Time commitment: 4–5 hours per week.
Tree Patrol Team
This team of volunteers monitors the health and status of trees and woody plants throughout Longwood year-round. Activities include inventory and tagging of accessioned trees, performing minor maintenance, and noting need for arborist intervention. Knowledge of plants and familiarity with using computers to record data are 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.
Education, Library, Archives, & Records
Volunteers help prepare for classes and workshops and help with set-up, registration, record-keeping and tidying up after classes. Assignments are on an as needed basis, and are class-dependent, so schedules will vary widely.
Assist library staff with daily activities, including assisting patrons, maintaining records, circulation, and projects as needed. Basic knowledge of computers is essential, along with the willingness to learn new software. Ability to bend, stretch and lift is required. Hours flexible, once a week to several times per month. Volunteers with an interest in photography and strong computer skills may apply to assist in Longwood’s digital gallery. Shifts and assignments are on weekdays, during business hours.
Volunteers monitor 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 would be helpful. Schedules can be flexible, as long as assigned areas are monitored as assigned. While these volunteers are a team, each team member works independently to perform data collection.
Longwood Gardens believes in empowering volunteers to develop and manage a variety of projects. These teams are guided by Longwood staff, but the teams plan and accomplish projects with a great deal of independence. Some examples of these teams are:
Each week this photography team identifies and documents especially notable plants in bloom and highlights garden features throughout the indoor and outdoor gardens. Team volunteers also prepare their images for upload to the Longwood image gallery. Images are ultimately selected for use on the Longwood website and other Longwood publications. Volunteer photographers must possess a solid background in digital photography, along with a good eye for subject selection and aesthetically pleasing composition. Computer skills and a willingness to learn processes are required. Team members are selected following an application process and portfolio review.
Facilities Maintenance Team
Volunteers lend support to Longwood’s facilities department, assisting with small projects including many preventative maintenance tasks. Assisting in the carpentry or paint shop, assembling or repairing benches, lubricating doors, and hanging photos are project examples. A background in basic woodworking and tool skills is helpful. Hours are flexible; minimum of three hours per month, year-round, mornings preferred.
Meadow Wildflower Team
Volunteers on this team gather on Wednesday mornings to conduct a bloom inventory of Longwood’s managed meadow, and take turns leading wildflower meadow walks for Longwood visitors on Saturday mornings in spring, summer, and fall. A basic knowledge of wildflowers is helpful, but the team is known for nurturing those with a strong interest in learning and participating on the team.
Team members are responsible for monitoring and maintaining Longwood’s bluebird and purple martin houses. Schedules are flexible and coordinated by team leaders.
Natural Lands Stewardship Team
Volunteers perform a variety of activities in Longwood’s 700+ acres of natural lands, working alongside Land Stewardship staff. Responsibilities include helping manage invasive plants in Longwood’s forest, wetlands and our newly expanded meadow along the new Rte. 52, plant ID and record keeping, restoration plantings, interpretive activities, leading other teams of volunteers helping with one-day team projects.
Volunteers lead scheduled walks for Longwood’s visitors for enjoyment and to raise awareness of Longwood’s bird populations. Team members also tally and record the number of species cited during walks. Walks are usually given on select Monday and Saturday mornings, year-round.
Several teams of volunteers work behind the scenes, helping prepare for Longwood’s Christmas display. Teams work, usually one day per week summer through early fall, to organize Christmas lights, create ornaments from gathered natural materials, and assemble décor elements.
This is just a sampling of the many ways volunteers lend support to Longwood Gardens. Team development and refinement are on-going.