Volunteer Opportunities

Nature Needs You – Join our Volunteers!


If you enjoy being outdoors or sharing your love of nature with others, consider joining the volunteers at the Houston Arboretum & Nature Center. Volunteers help with education programs, conservation projects, guest services, special events, and behind-the-scenes support.

One of the benefits of volunteering at the Houston Arboretum & Nature Center is the training that’s provided – whether it’s learning new skills for your volunteer job or expanding your knowledge of the natural history of our area. For some volunteer positions, training can be done “on-the-job” as you work with staff and other volunteers. Other jobs require attending a training session and possibly “shadowing” staff or an experienced volunteer.

Opportunities are available both weekends and weekdays.

Some of the things you can do as a volunteer:

• Work outside on trails and conservation projects
• Introduce nature to the next generation as a School Tour Guide
• Learn about nature up-close as part of the Discovery Room Team

For detailed information on each job, click on the job name below.

School Tour Guides

Lead 10 students with their adult chaperone on a mission to discover the plants and animals in our forest, meadow, and pond habitats. Over 10,000 school children experience nature first-hand through these tours- for many it is a first-ever experience in visiting a forest. School tours are offered September through May. (Tuesday – Friday)Volunteers are trained on particular topics for each grade level, K-5 as well as middle school programs. After attending training classes, volunteers follow experienced tour guides and staff to gain more experience before leading their first tour. Please note: Minimum age to volunteer as a tour guide is 18 years.

The Discovery Room

The Discovery Room is filled with hands-on exhibits, microscopes, aquariums and more to give a good interpretation of the flora and fauna of our area. Discovery Room volunteers greet, encourage and assist visitors of all ages in exploring the Discovery Room. The Discovery Room is open Tuesdays through Sundays, closed every Monday. Weekday shifts: Morning (9:30 a.m. – 1 p.m.) or afternoon (12:30 – 4 p.m.) Weekend shifts: Volunteers can sign up for a 2 or 4 hour shift (Shifts are 10 a.m. – 12 p.m., 12 – 2 p.m., 2 – 4 p.m.) Please note: Minimum age to volunteer is 16 years. Training and 3-month minimum commitment required.

Front Desk/Nature Shop

Volunteers work at the center of the action! Greeting people from all over the world and introducing them to the Arboretum’s services and policies; answering the phone and referring calls as needed, and assisting customers in the Nature Shop to pick out that gift that is “just what they wanted”. If you’re a people person- this is a job for you! (Weekdays)You’ll meet people from around the world and make their experience at the Arboretum fun and memorable. You’ll also get to see the latest, greatest items for sale in the shop. Morning and afternoon shifts available. After a general orientation, training is provided by staff on a one-on-one basis. Due to training, this volunteer position requires a 3 month commitment.

Trail Workers

Our volunteer trail workers get instant satisfaction and a good workout! Every Tuesday and Thursday morning and the 1st and 2nd Saturdays of each month, trail workers assist staff in maintaining our 5 mile trail system. Mulching, weeding, pruning, and planting are ongoing tasks in our living “exhibit”.Trail Work & Conservation volunteers assist with maintenance of the nearly 5 miles of trails as well as work to improve the grounds as wildlife habitat. Typical work projects can include repairing boardwalks, mulching trails, removing invasive plant species, or working on erosion control projects.Volunteers work on projects supervised by staff at set dates/times – currently the first and second Saturday of each month from 9 a.m. to noon and every Tuesday andThursday from 9 a.m. to noon. Training is on-the-job. Anyone wishing to participate MUST contact the Director of Volunteers. Minimum age 16 (with signed parent consent form), or 14 if volunteering with a parent/guardian. Groups must schedule in advance.


Our volunteers work with staff on Wednesday and Friday mornings from 9 a.m. to noon to maintain the plant beds near the building that demonstrate planting for wildlife. Learn names of plants, proper gardening techniques, and enjoy a good day’s work! You’ll learn the secrets of attracting wildlife to your yard with native plants as well as organic gardening methods.

Children's Class Assistants

These volunteers assist staff naturalists with monthly weekend classes or homeschool classes for children ages 5 to 12. Learn more about a variety of nature topics as you assist staff naturalists with children’s classes one Saturday morning each month. Help with indoor and outdoor activities and crafts. Minimum age to volunteer: 16. Training provided.

Discovery Camp Assistants

Volunteers help naturalists with nature camp classes for children 5 to 12 years, which are scheduled during school breaks. Volunteers assist in the classroom with crafts and activities, as well as guiding outdoor walks and activities. March & June– August; weekdays, 8:30 a.m.– 3:30 p.m. Minimum age to volunteer: 16. Training provided.

Special events volunteer opportunities

Come help with one or all of these fun, educational events throughout the year: Arbor Day (January), Earth Day (April), National Trails Day (June), and ArBOOretum (October).

Other Volunteer Opportunities

include Clerical/Computer Assistants, Photographers, and more.

Find out how you might donate your time and talents, call the Volunteer Manager, Lynne Hester at 713-366-0375 or send an email. All volunteers are required to complete the Volunteer Application Form and Background Release forms and be invited for an interview.


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