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Volunteering at Skylands, The New Jersey State Botanical Garden

There are many areas of volunteer opportunities at Skylands, the largest and most active is that of gardening volunteers. Other volunteer activities include record entry, file and library maintenance, development of educational programs and materials, grant writing and fund raising, Geographic Information System mapping, carpentry, graphic arts and many areas of visitor interaction including seasonal public events. Volunteers who are interested in working in an area in which they are not experienced will receive training whenever possible. We provide training for all tour guides, including manor docents, gardens, wildflower, and family woodland hike leaders.

There are weekend gardening opportunities the third Sunday of each month during gardening season. Weekend garden volunteers meet on the third Sunday at the Carriage house at 1:30 PM. Please note that it is an Association rule that, for safety reasons, volunteers never work alone.

Click here to download the volunteer application. You may return your completed application by email, fax, or mail (see form).

Gardening Volunteer Opportunities

Volunteers assist in the upkeep of the many beautiful gardens here at Skylands. Learn while you help in planting, weeding, deadheading, and pruning, as well as checking for plant labeling and garden problems, including insects and plant diseases. Area leaders are available on volunteer days to provide guidance and answer questions.

Annual Garden

This is the only garden at Skylands where the plantings are mainly annuals. The eye catching displays change not only through the season but from year to year.

Perennial Border

A photographer's delight, the perennial border consists of eight beds planted with perennials of every kind including bulbs, shrubs, roses, groundcovers, vines and trees. The colorful floral display changes from season to season attracting hummingbirds, butterflies and other pollinators. Join the enthusiastic team effort to regularly weed, deadhead, prune and plant as volunteers enlarge and enhance Mr. Lewis' original cutting garden.

Hosta/Rhododendron Garden

The Rhododendron garden gives us a brilliant display of flowers from spring through summer. The garden also hosts a large collection of hosta that range in size from miniature to gargantuan. They sport a variety of foliage in shades of blue, green and yellow, along with white and gold variations. Volunteers work to identify and map the many cultivars, as well as maintain and mulch this spectacular garden.

Moraine Garden

New Jersey is home to many moraines, rocky deposits left by melting glaciers in the last ice age. Mr. Lewis created this interesting garden to reflect that landscape type, planting it with ground hugging alpine species that thrive on rocky slopes, with water seeping beneath. Volunteers working in this garden maintain the streams, weed and fill in plants as needed.

Octagonal Garden

The rock garden surrounding the Octagonal Pool was designed so that the many dwarf plants are at optimal viewing height in waist high raised stone wall beds. The garden has been carefully restored and the tiny plants are nicely displayed. Volunteers ensure these little jewels are maintained and the garden remains weed free.

Wildflower Garden

This pleasant and relaxing garden holds many wonders, as well as an opportunity to "Look, Listen and Reflect". As a volunteer maintaining this delightful area, you will see flowers and plants pop through the natural woodland gardens as the seasons progress: ferns, delicate wild flowers which change by season, including many spring blooming Japanese primroses and colorful flowering shrubs that offer berries to birds in the fall. The garden includes a frog/turtle/dragonfly friendly bog loved by children and volunteers alike.

Lilac Garden

More than 200 lilacs, planted in the 1920's grace one of Skylands favorite gardens and the pride of NJBG. Join the team effort to regularly weed, deadhead, prune and mulch the beds. Volunteers may be found in the Lilac garden every Wednesday morning from April through October. There are four Lilac Saturdays, when a Master Gardener gives lessons in Lilac care followed by hands on experience in plant maintenance. Adopt and care for a bed that will be "yours" to maintain and love. Peak bloom is Mother's Day weekend, when there is a special Lilac day and volunteers have the opportunity to greet visitors and brag about "their" fragrant beauties.

Summer Garden

This lovely little garden was originally the site of a rose garden planted by Mr. Lewis. Over time the roses were replaced by day lilies, which put on a colorful show during summer months. Summer annuals, varying from year to year, complement the daylilies and you can count on a cheerful display of daffodils in the spring. Volunteers weed to maintain this garden's beauty.

The All American Seed Selection Garden

This unique garden is planted with annual flowers grown from seeds provided by the All American Seed Company. Planted by state workers, it is maintained by volunteers. An informative August program describing the planting is given for the public.

The Greenhouse

Volunteers maintain plant inventory, propagate and divide plants, pot, label prune, deadhead plants to be sold at the annual spring plant sale. There is volunteer work in the greenhouse year round.

Non-Gardening Volunteer Opportunities

Manor House Tours

Trained docents lead tours of Skylands manor. Tours occur on selected Sundays and are approximately 45 minutes long. Volunteers interested in becoming docents will receive specialized training.

Fund Raising/Grant Writing

Interested volunteers assist the Fund Raising/Grant Committee to research, develop and write fund raising programs.

Geographic Information System (GIS) Mapping

The GIS system helps define spaces in the gardens. The plants within these spaces are identified and precisely located. The plant and location information is entered into a database, which is used to generate garden maps. Volunteers map the location of gardens, trees and plants to assist the GIS team as needed. Special training is provided.

Gift Shop and Visitor Center

This is where the most visitor contact takes place. Volunteers work as sales people and/or greeters. They stock, price, organize and maintain stock inventory in the store. The Gift Shop is open Sundays and during special events from April through December.

Library

The Association maintains an extensive gardening library. Volunteers file library materials, shelve and inventory books, magazines, photographs and other library materials.

Office Support

Volunteers assist the Volunteer Coordinator as needed with membership mailings, record keeping and file maintenance. Computer skills are helpful for this area.

Photography and Audio Visual

Volunteers with experience in these areas record and take photographs of the gardens and special events.

Programs, Seasonal, and Special Events

Volunteers assist with regular monthly and special programs by greeting guests, collecting tickets, serving refreshments and distributing literature during the programs. Volunteers also help with pre-program planning, set up and post program clean up. Some of our recurring seasonal events include:

  • Spring: Volunteer Luncheon. Plant Sale.
  • Summer: Concert Series. Craft Fair.
  • Fall: Harvest Fest. Bulb Planting.
  • Winter: Wreath Making. Holiday Open House.

Garden Tours and Family Woodland Walks

When weather permits, Skylands' volunteers offer hour-long garden walks every Sunday at 2 PM, May through October. Wildflower walks are given on five designated Saturdays and family woodland hikes are given the third Sunday of the month, May through September. Skylands' First Day hike, honored throughout the US at all National Parks is on January 1st. Volunteers greet guests at the Carriage House before walks or hikes. Special training is provided to hike and walk guides.

Volunteering at Skylands, the New Jersey State Botanical Garden, gives anyone who loves gardening or history an opportunity to pursue their passion in a beautiful setting while helping preserve one of New Jersey's most opulent botanical gems.

Click here to download the volunteer application. You may return your completed application by email, fax, or mail (see form).

Click here to download the NJBG/Skylands Volunteer Handbook.

 

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New Jersey Botanical Garden, P.O. Box 302, Ringwood, NJ 07456-0302 · (973) 962-9534
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