Volunteer FAQs

As either a regular volunteer, or as someone who is thinking of joining the ranks of the 600+ people who give of their time, their expertise, their wisdom, and their hard work each year, it’s possible you have questions about just what volunteering at Tyler entails. Below we some of these questions. If you have questions we don’t cover here, please contact:

Julia Lo Ehrhardt

Community Outreach Manager
610-566-9134, ext. 305
jlo@tylerarboretum.org

Yes. Tyler has several opportunities for families who want to volunteer together. All we ask is that any children under the age of 16 who wish to volunteer are accompanied by a responsible adult during the time they are volunteering.

The minimum age to volunteer as an individual is 16. Young people ages 12 to 15 years old are welcome to volunteer as long as they are accompanied by a parent or guardian, or by a responsible adult who is 18 years old or older.

No. We welcome all levels of volunteer commitment, even if you can only contribute a few hours a month. We do though differentiate between active volunteers (who have given 20 hours and greater in a contiguous 12-month period) and non-active volunteers (who have not worked 20 hours but who remain on our list of volunteers).

That depends. Our volunteers come from all walks of life and bring all kinds of life and career experience to the mix.

We particularly welcome volunteers who are outgoing, who are comfortable working with diverse groups of people, and who are not afraid of hard work. In terms of skills we welcome participants with real-world, practical skills.

Those skills might be in teaching, in history, or in carpentry and construction. They could be in database management, accounting, or outreach. They could be in gardening, in crafting, in conservation, customer service, retail, or business, or in any one of a dozen or more different areas.

Active volunteers receive the following:

  • Monthly Volunteer e-newsletter;
  • Invitation to the Annual General Meeting in February and the Volunteer Recognition Event in November;
  • Tickets to museums and public programs for April admission. This is part of the Brandywine Museums and Gardens volunteer month celebration;
  • The ability to nominate recipients for the Tyler Awards
  • Take part in volunteer field trips and workshops when scheduled by supervisors.
  • 15% discount on merchandise from the Visitor Center.

Yes, we have volunteer positions in clerical and crafting that are based indoors.

For more details, please contact:

Julia Lo Ehrhardt

Community Outreach Manager
610-566-9134, ext. 305
jlo@tylerarboretum.org

Absolutely! We host several special events throughout in which volunteers play an important role, whether that’s giving directions, answering questions about exhibits, brewing coffee, making arts and crafts, supporting staff, and much more. These event jobs and the sign-up links are posted in the monthly Volunteer E-newsletter. Most shifts are 4 hours long and can be as flexible as you need them to be.

Yes. Most of the tasks we need volunteer help with place a volunteer with a member of staff who will usually walk you through whatever needs doing; you will not be thrown in at the deep end! Several volunteer roles (Ambassadors, Docents and gardening volunteers) include extensive training which is usually detailed in the relevant role descriptions. For sample job descriptions, please check individual volunteer roles.

Generally, no. In cases of severe weather or in weather advisories we do not put volunteers or staff at risk. In the case of severe weather we generally curtail or cancel all volunteer activity. The exceptions to these cases may be when outdoor volunteers are working with Tyler staff during episodes of light rain or during snow flurries.

Yes of course. We work with corporate, high school, college, and civic groups throughout the year. We are happy to accommodate group sizes from 6 to 50 people to work on a range of tasks throughout the Arboretum’s grounds, as well as indoor tasks. Although we do not provide food for corporate or community groups, you’re free to have catered food brought in and we’re happy to arrange outdoor and indoor dining and meeting space to meet your needs.

To learn more about the ways in which your business or community group can get involved at Tyler, please check the Corporate Volunteers & Service Organizations page.

We ask that our volunteers abide by a set of simple guidelines:

  • Treat all staff, visitors, and trustees with courtesy and respect.
  • Understand and support Tyler Arboretum’s mission statement.
  • Abide by Tyler’s policies and procedures.
  • Select a volunteer opportunity that best fits your interests, abilities, your skill set, and your experience.
  • Attend orientation and training sessions as scheduled.
  • Be sincere in your offer of service and show commitment to your assignments.
  • Represent the Arboretum in a positive and professional manner at all times.
  • Track your hours.
  • Let us know if you cannot be available or if you are ill.

Members of Tyler staff will do their best to accommodate your in the following ways:

  • Provide you with a written position description.
  • Provide adequate training and effective supervision.
  • Make sure you have the equipment and materials necessary for the job.
  • Afford you a safe, friendly, and appropriate working environment.
  • Give you clear assignment of appropriate tasks and clear instructions.
  • Provide effective communication.
  • Give you the opportunity for feedback, suggestions, and evaluation on performance.
  • Provide you with adequate lead time for jobs whenever possible.
  • Afford you every opportunity for learning and gaining experience.
  • Provide recognition for you volunteer work and efforts.

If you have questions about any volunteer opportunity at Tyler that we don’t address here, please contact:

Julia Lo Ehrhardt
Community Outreach Manager
610-566-9134, ext. 305
jlo@tylerarboretum.org