Volunteer at Gorgeous Local Gardens

Volunteer at Gorgeous Local Gardens: Even if you have no growing space of your own, you can plant community seeds with volunteer opportunities at public gardens and arboretums
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Highlands Botanical Garden
At this garden at Highlands Biological Station, where Southern Appalachian flora grow in a natural forest, volunteers consult with staff members and directors to figure out how best to apply their interests with the facility’s needs. A few of the roles available include working in education, horticulture, or herpetology; each requires a short application and a minimum time commitment that’s bound to be time well spent. “We’re teaching our volunteers,” says Volunteer Coordinator Hillrie Quinn. “We make sure they gain something from the process.” Contact Quinn at (828) 526-2385 or hillriemquin@gmail.com; www.highlandsbiological.org/botanical-garden.

The North Carolina Arboretum
Nestled just off the Blue Ridge Parkway south of Asheville, the state-run North Carolina Arboretum holds volunteer interest meetings once a month and posts open positions and applications online. Opportunities include art and graphic design, exhibit setup and breakdown, education, and more. Get involved with adult education as a guide, or excite younger generations through the Citizen Science, Wee Naturalist, or EXPLOREcorps programs. E-mail volunteering@
ncarboretum.org or call (828) 665-2492, ext. 219; www.ncarboretum.org.

Bullington Gardens 
Once a private nursery, Bullington Gardens in Hendersonville is known for its unusual selection of trees. According to Director John Murphy, this “garden with heart” is focused on creating a relationship between people and plants. Murphy and volunteers work closely with special-needs children and adults, using garden activities to teach basic job skills. This year, volunteers can help with projects that include renovating a pollinator garden and establishing a small meadow, as well as fund-raising, education, and event organization. Contact Joellen Johnson at thegardens@bullingtoncenter.org or (828) 698-6104, or apply online at www.bullingtongardens.org.