Fuel Your Passion!

Volunteer at the Edith J. Carrier Arboretum and Botanical Gardens

As a volunteer with the EJC Arboretum, your passion for gardens and nature can inspire and make a difference in vital arboretum programs and gardens and grounds features, both to the public served and to the arboretum administrators and staff. The Volunteer Program for the EJC Arboretum has become an essential element that keeps the arboretum beautiful and inviting. Become part of a generous, enthusiastic group, formed in 2001, who volunteer to support the EJC Arboretum through landscaping and greenhouse tasks, plant labeling and identification, event and sale support, assisting in classes, workshops and programs, among other volunteer activities.

To sign up to be an EJC Arboretum Volunteer, you must be at least 18 years of age, fill out a form from one of the four options below, indicating which area you are most interested in. We hope that you know the arboretum staff, and the community that loves the EJC Arboretum, appreciates you!

The twenty to thirty minute Volunteer Orientation will be held in the Frances Plecker Education Center. Orientation attendance is necessary before volunteering may begin. Don't forget to mark your calendar!

Community Volunteers
and Trail Stewards

Interested in volunteering with the EJC Arboretum? Interested joining as a Trail Steward?

Click here for the online
volunteer application

Court-Referred Service

If you have been referred to the EJC Arboretum by the District Court, please fill out our community service application by using the of the link below:

Click here for the online
community service application

Course Required Volunteers

If you have been referred to the EJC Arboretum by your instructor for a requirement in class, please use the following link below to submit your application:

Click here for the online
course required application

Volunteer Projects

If your sorority or fraternity organization is interested in a volunteer project, please fill out our form by using one of the link below:

Click here for the online
organization project application

JMU students — interested in other or additional volunteering opportunities? Please visit the Community Service-Learning website.

Docents/Tour Guides Volunteers:

Docents make the magic of the arboretum come alive for our guests and share their enthusiasm for and knowledge about the arboretum with community members, student groups, and other visitors. The goal for our tours is to provide free educational support to local schools, community groups, and garden and nature enthusiasts. Docents will lead advance-scheduled, 45 minute to one hour tours of groups of 20 or less. They are responsible for meeting tour guests, escorting them through the arboretum trails, promoting visitor learning, and protecting the integrity of plant collections. Tour Guide Docents are supervised by the Arboretum Education Coordinator after learning a one-hour scripted presentation. For more information email the Arboretum Education Coordinator using this link.

Commitment: Docents are asked to be familiar with at least one 45 minute to an hour tour's content, and learn the answers to typical specific questions pertaining to the arboretum and its plant collections and gardens, operations, and upcoming programs and events. Docents can infuse their own personalities and enthusiasm into their presentations. Docents will commit to serving in their selected group demographic when called upon with at minimum 2 weeks advance scheduling notice.

Hands-On and Events Volunteers:

The arboretum administrators encourage grounds and events volunteers to bring and use their own favorite tools, but will provide other garden tools from arboretum inventory. It is recommended volunteers use gloves as they feel necessary, and to dress comfortably depending on forecast weather and activity level. Each volunteer should bring water in a reusable container, especially for warm season activities. Bug repellant may be needed for outdoor garden activities in warm seasons. Volunteers are asked to wear a name badge at all times when on the grounds, sign in and out from the arboretum office at the beginning and end of each shift and maintain and tally hours worked. Hands-on volunteers are needed weekdays during business hours.

Frances Plecker Education Center Assistants:

Volunteers can support the administrative components of the arboretum by being greeters to receive visitors in the Education Center during the business week. Other areas of administrative volunteering can include coordinating other volunteers and assigning volunteers tasks, overseeing the art exhibit program, updating various social media sites and blogging, and many other business kinds of activities during weekday business hours.

Trail Stewards

Join the EJC Arboretum's new activity group: the Trail Stewards, a Master Naturalist, Master Gardener service group at the arboretum open to any certified Master Gardener or Master Naturalist. Click here for the online volunteer application and specify your credentials.

2015 EJC Arboretum Volunteer of the Year: Betty Forrest

Portrait of 2015 Volunteer of the Year, Betty Rosson Forrest

2014 EJC Arboretum Volunteer of the Year: Trail Steward, Dwayne Martin

Trail Steward, Dwayne Martin

Grounds open free to the public, dawn to dusk, 365 days a year.
The Arboretum offices in the Frances Plecker Ed Center are open weekdays. Calls and emails are answered from 8:00 am to 4:00 pm, except holidays. Check the website calendar for holiday closings.

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Directions to the EJC Arboretum
Edith J. Carrier Arboretum at James Madison University
(540) 568-3194
780 University Blvd, MSC 3705
Harrisonburg, VA 22807