Become a Smithsonian Gardens Volunteer!

Volunteers are essential to our mission of connecting people with plants. Each year more than 80 volunteers donate their time to help in virtually every area of our Smithsonian Gardens.

VolunteersVolunteers provide diverse expertise and experience to our programs, gardens, greenhouse and special events. In turn, volunteers work alongside expert staff and have many opportunities for learning and gaining experience.


Garden Volunteers

Smithsonian Gardens seeks a volunteer to help grow and maintain the garden beds, as well as inform visitors about the plant collection and answer casual inquiries. The volunteer will work outside from April through October. With staff supervision, the volunteer will prepare planting beds, plant, weed, prune and deadhead, water and harvest.

This position is for someone interested in performing general gardening practices outdoors who is enthusiastic about gardening, communicates well with staff and the public and doesn't mind repetitive tasks like weeding (sometimes for extended periods of time).
Energetic attitude; willingness to work in hot weather; ability to stoop, bend and lift 50+ lbs (not necessary but a plus); flexibility in daily gardening chores (pruning, planting, weeding, deadheading, watering, harvesting...); plant identification skills or a willingness to learn. 
Schedule: Once a week in 3-6 hour shifts

To submit an application, click here. Scroll down the Opportunity Search Results and locate the Garden Maintenance Opportunity. Click on Opportunity Details to apply. For questions about the application process, contact us at  

Garden Interpreters

Smithsonian Gardens seeks energetic, courteous, and personable volunteers to engage visitors in our gardens. Volunteer interpreters (who will be trained in interpretation) will interact with visitors of all ages, encouraging them to explore plants, design, and horticulture through conversation, storytelling, and hands-on activities in Smithsonian Gardens near the National Mall. Interpreters will offer visitors immediate, informal, and interactive experience that may include artifacts, teaching objects, games, and directed activities in the gardens.  Volunteer interpreters will also answer general questions about Smithsonian Gardens and enhance our guest’s experience. Interpreters stand for extended periods of time. Volunteers should be prepared to work several morning or afternoon shifts several times monthly and participate in on-going training sessions.

Excellent interpersonal and communications skills; ability to comfortably engage visitors in their surroundings; stamina to spend up to two hours standing and walking in the gardens. 

The position requires volunteers to work outdoors and to complete two three-hour (weekend or weekday) shifts per month from April through October.

Training Requirements

Several training sessions on content and interpretive techniques will be provided in 2014. All Garden Interpreter Volunteers must attend all the training before contact with the public and participate in on-going training sessions. Training includes a two-part learning program that combines six weeks (24 hours) of classroom and field study with 26 hours of experiential learning.

Application Process
To submit an application, click here. Scroll down on the Opportunity Search Results and locate the Garden Interpreter Opportunity. Click on Opportunity Details to apply. For questions about becomng a Garden Interpreter or the application process, please contact us at

Other Opportunities

Greenhouse Volunteers

Working at the SG Greenhouses, where duties might include propagation of the annual plants or the care and maintenance of annuals, perennials, orchids, and tropical plants. We are not currently recruiting for Greenhouse Volunteers. If you are interested in a Greenhouse opportunity, we encourage you to submit an application. Applications will be kept on kept on file for 1 year or until the next recruitment.




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