Volunteers make up a huge component of our organization, from our Board of Directors to a Horticulture volunteer pulling weeds. Our 175 acres need constant care and attention, and our volunteer contingent helps us immensely by cleaning up our plant beds, planting bulbs and young plants, watering, mulching and so much more!

But volunteering at Norfolk Botanical Garden is not only gardening – volunteers work in every department, inside and outdoors. Yes, there is lots of mulching and weeding done year-round, but volunteers also assist our administration team with paperwork, conduct retail transactions in our gift shop and event volunteers greet guests as they enter our visitor center!

Our Policy

  • Families are welcome to volunteer together; the youngest family member must be at least 10 years old.
  • Volunteers younger than 16 are required to work alongside a parent or family member at least 18 years old.
  • Minimum age for volunteers working on their own is 16 years.

We welcome students, scouts, or clubs who want to come out as a group for a special project. The ratio of adults to youth is 1 adult to every 5 youth, and the adults will work alongside the younger volunteers.

Norfolk Botanical Garden policy prevents us from honoring court-related or court-ordered community service.  For a list of organizations that do, please click here.

The Benefits of Giving Your Time

When you volunteer at Norfolk Botanical Garden, you gain a variety of valuable personal benefits. You can try a new field of interest or expand your existing skills doing something you love. You’ll also meet new people with common interests, feel good about yourself and improve your community.

In addition to the wonderful new skills you’ll gain as a volunteer, there are a variety of other benefits to volunteering at the Norfolk Botanical Garden, including:

  • Free Admission to several local museums*
  • Borrowing privileges in the Frederic Heutte Horticultural Library
  • Member rate for one adult education class per issuance of GROW Magazine (after 25 hours)
  • Volunteer appreciation events
  • Free boat rides (space permitting)
  • 10% Discount in our Gift Shop and at our café, Marigold and Honey

*Admission to local museums is based on the individual policy of each museum.

For more information contact:

Phong Luu, Volunteer Coordinator
Norfolk Botanical Garden
6700 Azalea Garden Road
Norfolk , VA 23518-5337
E-mail: volunteer@nbgs.org

To get started please go to https://nbg.volunteerhub.com and create an account.
Please email volunteer@nbgs.org with your desired session and whether you are a new or returning volunteer.

Volunteer Opportunities

Horticulture Volunteer

Purpose: Horticulture volunteers assist in keeping Norfolk Botanical Garden beautiful by performing essential garden maintenance such as weeding, pruning, dead-heading, planting, watering, mulching and debris clean up.

Essential Duties and Responsibilities:

  • Arrive on time with professional demeanor and appearance
  • Maintain regular contact with Horticulture staff member to whom assigned
  • Work with Horticulture staff to prune, weed, dead-head, water, mulch, clean debris and plant in flower beds and natural areas as assigned
  • Be flexible and willing to work with different Horticulture staff members depending on Garden’s needs
  • Provide excellent customer service if approached by a garden guest, including answering garden-related questions

Reports to: Horticulturalist and/or Horticulture Curator

Time Commitment: Volunteer must commit to at least one shift per week for the first month and a minimum of 50 hours in a year-long period. Schedule may be determined by volunteer and/or Horticulture staff member.

Qualifications

For this position, the candidate must:

  • Be strongly commitment to providing volunteer hours
  • Be comfortable working alone for brief or long periods of time
  • Be a self-starter and eager to learn
  • Must pass a national and local criminal background check

Prior horticulture or gardening experience preferred but not necessary; volunteer will be trained on all aspects of the job.

Equipment Used/Provided: Gloves, trowels, shovels, rakes, pruning shears (large and small), weeding instruments, wheelbarrows, buckets, tree and limb cutters, etc.

Physical and Environmental Conditions:

  • Auditory: Must be able to understand instructions delivered in normal conversation to self or with an interpreter/chaperone/guardian/parent
  • Visual: After training, must be able to identify weeds and other trouble spots in a plant collection or flower bed
  • Environmental: This is an outdoor opportunity that experiences frequent exposure to direct sunlight, high heat, humidity, cold and mild inclement weather such as a light rain.
  • Physical: This is physically demanding, outdoor manual labor that requires frequent standing, walking, bending, stooping and pulling. Must be able to lift 25 pounds.

To get started please go to https://nbg.volunteerhub.com and create an account.
Please email volunteer@nbgs.org with your desired session and whether you are a new or returning volunteer.

Butterfly House Volunteer

Volunteer this summer in the Garden’s Butterfly House. Greet guests and answer questions about the native butterflies and caterpillars in the house.

Butterfly House is open June 16 – September 30, 2017

Basic job requirements:

  • Butterfly House Guides are proactive.
  • Butterfly House Guides – smilingly – approach visitors and welcome them. They make sure that the doors are closed after people enter and leave the Butterfly House.
  • Butterfly House Guides answer questions about the butterflies and plants.
  • Guides direct the visitor to the appropriate resource for questions they cannot answer.
  • Butterfly House Guides help all visitors have a safe and fun experience.
  • Make sure all children enter and leave with parent, guardian ,or group. If a child is wandering without the parent, please stay with the child. If possible find out their name and/or age or where their parent was last seen. Some children may be too young to provide any information. Immediately radio all staff for assistance to locate the missing parent.

Butterfly House Basics Orientation (New volunteers are required to attend 1 session)

  • Wednesday, May 17 at 6pm to 9pm
  • Wednesday, May 24 at 6pm to 9pm
  • Wednesday, June 7 at 6pm to 9pm
  • Monday, June 12 at 10am to 1pm
  • Wednesday, June 14 at 6pm to 9pm

To get started please go to https://nbg.volunteerhub.com and create an account.
Please email volunteer@nbgs.org with your desired session and whether you are a new or returning volunteer.

Gift Shop Volunteer

Purpose: Gift Shop Volunteers promote sales generation through highly professional customer service during each guest transaction while working as part of a cohesive team with Gift Shop staff.

Essential Duties and Responsibilities:

  • Generate sales and informs manager of fast selling product and trends
  • Provide high level of Guest Service
  • Arrive on time, with professional appearance
  • Will learn to perform sales transactions on POS system, learn product knowledge gives general information to our guests about the garden
  • Works as a team with other members of the staff and follows in-store policies and guidelines
  • Help Gift Shop staff maintain merchandising standards and monitor store appearance inside and out

Reports to: Store Manager

Time Commitment: Shifts as determined by Store Manager. Volunteer must be able to commit to at least one day a week for a four-hour shift.

Qualifications

For this position, the candidate must:

  • Be comfortable learning a computer register system. Computer literacy not mandatory. Training will be provided if needed;
  • Must pass a national and local criminal background check Equipment Used/Provided: Computer register and telephone Physical and Environmental Conditions:
  • Auditory: Ability to participate in routine conversations in person or via telephone.
  • Visual: Assist with upkeep of merchandising and visual layout of store.
  • Environmental: Some light outdoor labor required for garden patio, i.e. assists with general straigtening and cleaning, occasionally watering patio plants.
  • Physical: Standing, walking and moving through store during your shift. Stocking inventory requires bending, kneeling, reaching overhead. Uses broom and a lightweight vacuum cleaner.

To get started please go to https://nbg.volunteerhub.com and create an account.
Please email volunteer@nbgs.org with your desired session and whether you are a new or returning volunteer.

Internships

Butterfly House Intern

Position Title: Educational Docent Intern – Butterfly House (Unpaid)

Description: Norfolk Botanical Garden is looking for a qualified intern to join our Adult Education team. Our Adult Education department provides quality educational programs for our guests, and seeks an intern who can participate in our Educational Docent Program in our Butterfly House. This intern should be prepared to work in a customer service-based environment, and will finish the internship having gained broad experience in various aspects of Biological Sciences; Education; Communications; Parks, Recreation and Tourism or related fields.

Program Goals: At the end of the internship, the Intern will understand and develop skillsets with regard to:

  1. customer service and public speaking
  2. the development and verbal/visual delivery of educational programs.
  3. the structure and functionality of a special event within the educational outreach and tourism industry.
  4. the collection, preservation and study of Virginia’s native butterfly population.

Responsibilities:

  • Greet the guests entering the house and lead tours educating the public on the lifecycle of butterflies.
  • Collect and preserve butterfly eggs for study, preservation and fostering.
  • Assist the Volunteer Coordinator with recruiting and training volunteers for the Butterfly House.
  • Assist Volunteer Coordinator with developing and maintaining Butterfly House educational program.
  • Direct the visitors to the appropriate resource for questions you cannot answer utilizing a radio.
  • Assist staff with planning and implementation for two special events: Butterfly Festival in July and Monarch Tag and Release in September.
  • Other duties as assigned.

Requirements: Norfolk Botanical Garden is looking for an undergraduate student in the Hampton Roads area who is majoring in Biological Sciences; Education; Communications; Parks, Recreation and Tourism or related fields. This person should have excellent verbal and written communication skills, with heavy emphasis in customer service. Knowledge or interest of biological sciences is a bonus, and will be considered when choosing the best applicant for this internship position.

  • Must be comfortable speaking to individuals and groups.
  • Able to work outside and stand for the entire shift in high heat, humidity and light rain.
  • Able to walk to and from the Butterfly House to the parking lot; approximately ¼ of a mile.
  • Frequent bending, stooping, reaching and lifting up to 25 pounds required.
  • Strong interest in butterflies and other pollinators.
  • Customer service experience.

Dates: June 4th – September 24, 2017. Dates flexible to accommodate school requirements.

Hours: Minimum 20 hours per week, weekend and evening work required.

Shift: 2:30pm-7:30pm.

Internship Duration: 25 hrs per week for 16 weeks; approximately 400 hrs total

Salary: Unpaid Internship

Reports to: Lauren Tafoya, Butterfly House Manager

Wedding & Special Events Intern

Position Title: Weddings & Special Events Intern (Unpaid)

Description: Norfolk Botanical Garden is seeking a high energy, creative, individual to fill the full time position of Weddings & Special Event Intern. The position will assist with the planning and implementing of small and large-scale Garden weddings, events, corporate and social rentals and group sales that promote NBG as a top tier venue and attraction. This is a great opportunity in a highly competitive and exclusive job market! This intern should be prepared to work in a customer service-based environment, and will finish the internship having gained broad experience in various aspects of Hospitality; Marketing; Communications; Parks, Recreation and Tourism or related fields.

Program Goals: At the end of the internship, the Intern will gain experience with regard to:

  • professional development for those interested in pursuing a career in the events and or tourism industry
  • the structure and functionality of an event and tourism venue as well as event sales and implementation
  • networking within the industry

Responsibilities:

  • Assist with weddings, corporate events, Garden events and group tours as directed by the Wedding Director.
  • Provide coordination for and support all events and tours on or off garden grounds.
  • Assist staff to ensure billing accuracy with the potential to learn the selling of venue amenities to potential clients.
  • Maintain departmental consistency through the use of Altru event and client database, forms and contracts as well as organizational systems provided for the department.
  • Attend weekly departmental meetings and appropriate logistical meetings with garden staff.
  • Maintain detailed, accurate files in order to service guests, clients and the Garden in the most expedient and knowledgeable manner.
  • Maintain an excellent working relationship with team members at all levels of the Garden to maintain professionalism and a positive working environment.
  • Check and route incoming telephone and email inquiries as directed.
  • Represent self and the Garden with the highest level of integrity and professionalism, a service focused approach with a positive and sincere attitude.

Requirements: Norfolk Botanical Garden is looking for an undergraduate student in the Hampton Roads area who is majoring in Hospitality; Marketing; Communications; Parks, Recreation and Tourism or related fields. This person should have excellent verbal and written communication skills, with heavy emphasis in customer service. Knowledge or interest of special events planning, hospitality or sales is a bonus, and will be considered when choosing the best applicant for this internship position.

  • A minimum formal high school education or GED with college degree or coursework preferred.
  • Excellent communication skills both written and verbal, computer literate – prefer strong Microsoft Office proficiency.
  • Warm, personable and energetic demeanor and professional attire is a must, exceptional attention to details.
  • Must be able to work nights, weekends, long hours and consecutive weekends.
  • Must pass a national and local criminal background check. Dates: Dates flexible to accommodate school requirements.

Hours: Maximum 40 hours per week, weekend and evening work required.

Shift: Varies Internship Duration: Duration flexible to accommodate school or personal requirements.

Salary: Unpaid Internship

Reports to: Jessica Hintz, Director of Weddings & Special Events and Lena March, Lead Wedding Coordinator

Special Volunteer Programs

WOW Leaders in Training

June 29-August 31

The WOW Children’s Garden is a great place for teenagers to learn about nature, gain leadership skills, make new friends, and earn volunteer hours for resumes and college applications. The Leaders in Training program provides each teen with a NBG volunteer t-shirt, and allows the LITs to set flexible work schedules throughout the summer in the Children’s Garden. LITs are also encouraged to attend Thursday WOW Leader Meetings each week, which include leadership development games and horticulture activities. For a complete job description please click here.

Cost: $20/person ($25/person for not-yet-members)

Registration opens May 1st

Ages 14-17

To REGISTER, please call (757) 441-5830 ext 463.

CORPORATE AND MILITARY GROUP VOLUNTEERING

Limited availability. Volunteer groups are typically placed with one of our Horticulturalists and assist with work in our natural areas. Tasks such as spreading mulch, pulling weeds, cleaning plant debris such as pinecones or sticks, etc., are the most common opportunities we offer. This is a physically demanding outdoor opportunity that experiences frequent exposure to direct sunlight, high heat, humidity, cold and mild inclement weather such as a light rain. This is outdoor, manual labor that requires frequent standing, walking, bending and stooping. Volunteer groups must be capable of working independently with little supervision for extended periods of time.

School, club or organization staff and/or parent chaperones must accompany and supervise the students/children at all times. Projects are selected at an age appropriate level and may include simple tools, such as trowels, rakes, glue, scissors, etc.

School, club or organization groups must obtain permission from the parents of students/children before they participate in a volunteer event at NBG. NBG does not provide permission slips – the school, club or organization must use their own. It is the responsibility of the sponsoring school, club or organization and site supervisors to maintain emergency contact information for each student/child who participates for use in cases of an emergency.

For a complete description of school and group expectations and policies, please click here.

If you have read the school and group expectations and policies, you may fill out a Volunteer Event Request and email it to: volunteer@nbgs.org.