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1927 Map of the Arboretum

Volunteer Opportunities

Volunteers help children explore the natural world. Photographs by Jon Hetman, Nancy Sableski, Kevin Schofield, and Julie Warsowe.
Volunteers help children explore the natural world. Photographs by Jon Hetman, Nancy Sableski, Kevin Schofield, and Julie Warsowe.

Volunteers are essential to the Arboretum’s educational mission of fostering knowledge and appreciation of life science and the natural world. Please consider participating as an Arboretum volunteer—enjoy the rewards of connecting people with the world of plants.

Volunteer Field Study Guide with children on Hemlock Hill. Photographs by Jon Hetman, Nancy Sableski, Kevin Schofield, and Julie Warsowe.
Volunteer Field Study Guide with children on Hemlock Hill.

Field Study Guides

Make a difference as a volunteer guide in our Field Study Experiences. Lead small groups of children from Boston area schools through hands on, active learning programs. Guide recruitment is ongoing; we are always interviewing for new guides. To learn more, submit a volunteer application, or contact Manager of Children’s Education Nancy Sableski at 617.384.5239 or by email.

Arboretum Interpreters

Engage with visitors young and old, help people find their way, share your fascination for plants, and communicate how the Arboretum is a living museum. Interpreters are trained to use a small display in the landscape and to interact with visitors in casual, one-on-one or small group interactions. To be contacted to learn more about the program, please fill out and submit the volunteer application, or contact Sheryl White, Coordinator of Visitor Engagement and Exhibitions, at 617.384.5251.

Arboretum Docents

Share your love of plants. Become an arboretum docent and lead landscape tours for groups of adults. Tours include a combination of Arboretum information, current plant highlights, natural history, and botany. To be contacted to learn more about the program, please fill out and submit the volunteer application, or contact Sheryl White, Coordinator of Visitor Engagement and Exhibitions, at 617.384.5251.


Volunteer leading a spring tour.
Arboretum staff and children looking at magnolia leaves.
Interpreters jumping for joy during training.
Volunteer measuring a tree with children as part of the field study program.
Interpreters completing a flower dissection as part of their training.
Volunteer observing a tree with two children during field study programs.
Arboretum volunteer chatting with visitors in the landscape.
Arboretum staff member journaling with children as part of the field studies program.
Volunteer chatting with a visitor in the bonsai and penjing pavilion.
Students collect scientific data. Photographs by Jon Hetman, Nancy Sableski, Kevin Schofield, and Julie Warsowe.
Volunteers lead students through the landscape. Photographs by Jon Hetman, Nancy Sableski, Kevin Schofield, and Julie Warsowe.
Volunteer leading tour through the landscape

Photographs by Jon Hetman, Nancy Sableski, Sheryl White, and Regina Mission.


Past Programs

Tree Spotters Citizen Science Program

Active from 2015 through 2020, the Tree Spotters Citizen Science program partnered with the National Phenology Network (NPN) to train citizen scientists to collect phenology data from 15 native tree species at the Arnold Arboretum. The program began as an initiative of the Temporal Ecology Laboratory (formerly located at Harvard University), and later became an official Arnold Arboretum program in 2018.

During the program’s six-year span, hundreds of volunteers submitted over 330,000 phenological observations to the NPN’s database. These data can be accessed on the Data Resources page, or using the NPN’s Phenology Observation Portal or Phenology Visualization Tool.

While the official program concluded in December 2020, Tree Spotters continues as a volunteer-run citizen science group at the Arboretum. Please contact dschissler@fas.harvard.edu for more information.

Many thanks to Tree Spotters participants for their hard work and dedication to the program over the years!