Information for Corporate/Large Group/Fraternal Volunteers
The limited staff at the gardens consider our volunteers to be very noteworthy members of our team. With 180 acres to oversee, we could not maintain the Gardens without their support. We rely heavily on our volunteers and we try to insure their involvement and experience here is rewarding in every way. Volunteer work includes outside and greenhouse workdays, event coordination including the running of our numerous activities, and even general office work. From potluck dinners to offsite volunteer trips to sharing hot chocolate or cold water after a garden workday, our volunteers have become cohesive & productive part of the team!
New volunteer orientations are held monthly and review many of the areas where volunteers are needed and can offer their skills. Each prospective volunteer is asked to submit a Volunteer Application to the Volunteer Coordinator, MaryAnne McMillan, and attend the orientation meeting, which includes a summary of the Rutgers Gardens and its history, a review of policies and procedures, and a discussion of volunteer positions and opportunities. Volunteers receive additional job training relative to those specific assigned volunteer jobs.
Volunteer Orientation Dates-
Orientation takes place on the dates listed below at 6pm in the Holly House or the Rutgers Gardens office Unless otherwise noted
January 25 (Rutgers Gardens office)
September 23 (12 noon Rutgers Gardens office)
November 8 (Rutgers Gardens office)
Please contact MaryAnne McMillan if you would like to attend a Volunteer Orientation.
Volunteers will help the Rutgers Gardens Children’s program coordinator with the school/camp programs that visit the gardens and with the Community Youth Garden (a vegetable garden for Children). An interest in children and sharing learning opportunities with them is important. Volunteers also needed to assist with the maintenance of the Community Youth Garden.
Volunteers are needed for the many special events that are held at the Gardens. Volunteers, both novice and serious gardeners, are needed to help plan both our fundraising and educational events. Events help fund our educational mission while raising public awareness of the programs and activities of the Gardens. Events include participation in Rutgers Day, our Spring Plant Sale, Open House, the Gardens Party ,and Fall Festival.
Volunteers will support the Rutgers Gardens through plant sales at the Farm Market every Friday from 11:00 pm-5 pm in May through November. Volunteers will inform the farm market visitors about activities and events scheduled at Rutgers Gardens and help with the general set-up needs of the event.
Seasoned volunteers will mentor newer volunteers as they oversee and tend specific gardens throughout the Gardens. Depending upon the garden, the volunteer’s tasks may include helping with the garden design, planting, maintenance and putting the garden to bed in the fall. Volunteers are needed to help our staff/interns maintain our 60+ cultivated acre property. Seasonally, there is a need for help with transplanting flowers and shrubs, pruning of trees and bushes, spreading wood chips and the removal of brush and invasive plants.
Volunteers are needed to staff the garden’s gift shop on weekends from April through October. The Gift shop will also be open during special events. Tasks will include greeting and interacting with our many visitors, assisting with stocking, and the set-up of shop displays. Customer service skills are helpful. Volunteers in the Gift shop will also hand out information about the gardens and the various educational events held here.
On Tuesday and Thursday mornings from 10am -12 noon, volunteers can come and learn in the greenhouse by helping complete the week’s to do list. Learn how to properly water, propagate, prune, divide and pot up plants in the greenhouses. Volunteers will be trained in these tasks by Rutgers Gardens staff and seasoned interns. They will learn the accepted Greenhouse procedures and will gain knowledge about the plants found in the greenhouse.
Volunteers will perform administrative duties including mailings (stuffing, labeling, sorting etc.), data entry, filing and the delivery of promotional literature/garden newspapers to various locales in the community.
Volunteers will lead a 90-minute tour two Saturdays a month at 2 p.m., rain or shine, as well as group tours by request during weekdays. Tours will include school groups, adult visitors, and garden clubs. Docents will be given training and a garden tour script.
Aside from the obvious benefits of helping the community and the Gardens, active volunteers who work a minimum of 30 hours per year, will not only learn new skills and make new friends but receive the following benefits: