Individual Volunteer Opportunities

Every day, volunteers contribute to Tyler in varying ways, from guiding tours to assisting with the Gardeners.

Below, you will find a drop-down menu listing the many roles performed by volunteers ages 18 and over at Tyler.

Please review each opportunity carefully before filling out our Individual Volunteer Application form. By clicking on each opportunity, you will find further details and a link to the specific job description.  Please submit the form electronically to Lexi Fowler at


American Chestnut Orchard Tenders

The loss of healthy and productive native chestnuts in eastern forests is one of the greatest ecological disasters in recent human history. Tyler’s volunteers support the arboretum’s cooperation with The American Chestnut Foundation (TACF) who’s goal is to breed blight resistance from the Chinese chestnut tree into the American chestnut tree, while maintaining the American chestnut’s characteristics. A chestnut orchard was planted on site in 1997 with seedlings from Pennsylvania. The purpose of Tyler’s orchard is to preserve the American chestnut genome while producing seeds through open and controlled pollination for work in other parts of the state.

By weeding, mulching, and pruning 150 trees, Tyler’s volunteers help assure the viability of a reservoir of the American chestnut. Nuts harvested each fall from these trees support breeding at other locations around the state. Tyler’s volunteers also learn about the disease that devastated our native chestnut tree as well as participate in controlled pollination activities to create first-generation hybrids.

A brief walk through of the work area and review of tasks are encouraged prior to deciding to join the group.

When: starting in April, Thursdays, 8:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

Families with youngsters between the ages of 12 and 17 are welcome to attend. Volunteers under the age of 18 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.

Click here to access the American Chestnut Orchard Tenders job description

Blue Bird Box Monitor

What initially began in 1970 to address the decline of bluebirds, the Blue Bird Box monitor program at Tyler is a wonderful outlet for individuals and families to learn about conservation and to practice conservation. 

Volunteers monitor bluebird boxes on Tyler property on a weekly basis from April through August. You don’t need to be a birder to take part; you just need to be a lover of the outdoors and have a commitment to nature.

Bluebird Box Monitors must be able to hike 2 miles without difficulties and must be comfortable being out in nature in all kinds of weather.

When: Seasonal from April through August on a weekly basis at a mutually agreed upon time.

Families with youngsters between the ages of 12 and 17 are welcome to attend. Volunteers under the age of 18 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.

Click here to access the Blue Bird Box Monitor job description.

Pollinator Preserve Guides

Are you personable and love to be around insects? Do you enjoy sharing the stories of our native plants and the insects that depend upon them? While our native butterflies and caterpillars get a lot of attention, our guides are also trained to share the entire Pollinator Preserve with Tyler’s visitors. The season starts in late spring/early summer before many of the butterflies are back and goes through to mid-October.

Guides: Daily morning and afternoon shifts are available from late spring/early summer to mid-October.

Families with youngsters between the ages of 10 and 17 are welcome to attend. Volunteers under the age of 18 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.

Click here to access the Pollinator Preserves Guides and Gardeners job description.

Pollinator Preserve Gardeners

Gardening for pollinators (hummingbirds and insects) provides a number of learning opportunities.  We will help you learn why certain plants were chosen and how to care for them based on the needs of nature. An added bonus to volunteers is witnessing the insects as they go through their various stages of growth.

When:  Tuesday mornings April through November with occasional other opportunities available.  A minimum of 6-8 hours per month is required during the busiest months (May, June, September, October). 

Click here to access the Pollinator Preserve Gardeners job description.

Clerical Support

As a clerical support volunteer, your valuable assistance provides the Development Office the ability to get a number of administrative tasks completed.  These may include preparing mailings, filing, possible data entry in Excel spreadsheets, and other clerical tasks as needed. Some roles may be short term while others take place throughout the year. 

When: mailings are monthly, morning or afternoon.  Other tasks performed at a mutually agreed upon time.

Click here to access the Clerical Support job description.


Are you creative, and do you love to express yourself through paint, glue, and glitter? If your craft room cannot contain your energy, why not come and join our crafting volunteers and put the magical touches on many of our displays? Most of the work takes place indoors, and volunteers are free to work at their own pace.

When: Seasonally between April and October and when needs arise throughout the year.

Families with youngsters between the ages of 12 and 17 are welcome to attend. Volunteers under the age of 18 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.

Click here to access the Crafters job description.


Do you find it easy to talk to groups of people and do you love to learn about plants, history, and conservation?

Does seeing smiling faces and fielding questions seem like your idea of a fun activity? 

If you love to teach, guide, and share stories, and if you like people and are happy speaking in public, you’ll probably make an ideal Docent.

We are particularly looking for volunteers to guide tours primarily on Thursdays through Sundays. When you sign up as a docent you’ll go through an extensive training and orientation period with the result being that you’ll become an expert in the history and layout of Tyler.

To succeed in this role, you’ll need to be able to walk 2 miles without difficulty and you must be comfortable working outdoors.

When: Most tours take place Thursdays through Sundays from late March until the end of November, scheduled mornings and afternoons, with occasional group tours during the rest of the week and year. Training begins in late March and continues into May.

Click here to access the Docent job description.

Lucille’s Garden (Edible Garden)

Do you want to learn (or hone) your gardening skills and help visitors learn about growing vegetables and fruit? Then this is the volunteer job for you.

In this role, you will provide day-to-day support to the gardeners in the Edible Garden, both in the vegetable display as well as other planting beds.

This role requires physical dexterity, an ability to bend and kneel frequently, and a tolerance for working outdoors.

We are particularly looking for volunteers with a positive outlook who like to be creative. Some experience with vegetable gardening, plant identification, and basic pruning and display planting is ideal. Master Gardener training is a plus but isn’t essential.

We ask that volunteers in this role be able to commit to a minimum of 8 hours per month during the busiest months of April through September.

When: Volunteer hours are available four mornings per week (including Saturdays) from March through December.

Families with youngsters between the ages of 12 and 17 are welcome to attend. Volunteers under the age of 18 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.

Click here to access the Lucille’s Garden job description.

Introduce visitors to Lucille’s Garden by sharing details on the plantings, ecosystem practices, and gardening methods. Garden Ambassadors promote the public to be actively involved in Citizen Science Projects, live demonstrations, and to participate in hands-on learning activities as scheduled. Ambassadors encourage the public to grow or enhance their own gardens through interpretive tours and serve as a resource to the public regarding their gardening questions as it pertains to Tyler’s gardens.

We ask that volunteers are available to volunteer at selected times associated with demonstrations, weekend Education Stations, tours and similar events.  

Natural Areas Team

Natural Areas Team: Currently recruiting

According to the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, plants such as garlic mustard, mile-a-minute, burning bush, and Canada thistle are some of the most invasive plants in the state. Here at Tyler, without careful control of invasive plants we stand to lose areas of natural habitats and with those losses, we’ll lose ecological diversity.

If you’d like to help stem the tide of invasive plants at Tyler, join our crew to help remove invasive plants from our meadows and woodlands so that our wildflowers and native plants can survive.

As part of this team you will learn how to successfully remove invasive plants, while learning how to identify native plants. To be successful in this role you will need regular access to email so that you can receive details about when the team meets to do its job.

When: Usually 8:45 am to 12:30 pm the third Saturday of the month year-round, weather permitting.

We ask that members of this team commit to a minimum of 5 Saturdays each year.

Click here to access the Natural Areas Team job description.

Special Events 

Do you love community events? Tyler’s quarterly Fireside Events, annual Plant Sale, and annual Pancake Breakfast Fundraiser require lots of help and many hands to be successful.

Our Fireside events take place seasonally on a quarterly basis on a Thursday or Friday. Each event will feature a seasonal theme with a variety of roles and opportunities available.

Volunteers are needed to assist with all phases of our spring plant sale, including labeling and caring for the plants prior to the sale, event set-up and take down, and assisting our customers on the three days of the sale itself. 

The Pancake Breakfast Fundraiser is held on a Saturday in February each year and features many service roles, including flipping pancakes, serving guests, and getting tables ready.

Any additional special events will be communicated to this team.

Trail Stewards

If you’re a keen hiker of Tyler’s 17 miles of trails and you’ve ever wondered what it takes to keep the trails in top shape, here’s your chance to help maintain them.

If you are handy or have experience in trail clearing, join the Trail Steward group as they keep the trails safe, well-marked and in top condition all year round. Volunteers are assigned different trails to monitor and maintain at their own schedule and we provide all the tools needed.

Trail Stewards must be able to work alone when necessary and must be physically fit and able to carry tools in and out of work sites.

When: Mutually agreed upon time.

Click here to access the Trail Steward job description.

Garden Ambassador

Do you enjoy talking with people about the many aspects of gardening? Our Garden Ambassadors spend their volunteer time engaging with our visitors as they answer questions, provide garden tours and participate with demonstrations and hands on activities.  

The Garden Ambassadors focus on either the Pollinator Preserve or Lucille’s Garden and help the public gain an understanding of the garden by sharing details and the stories of the plantings, practices, ecosystems and gardening methods. 

When: Fridays and Week-ends for scheduled activities with opportunities to also volunteer throughout the week.  Training begins in late March and continues into May.  

Click here to access the Garden Ambassador job description.

Horticulture Crew

Do you like working outdoors and don’t mind getting dirty? Then why not join our dedicated and fun-loving Horticulture volunteer group in the care and upkeep of our landscape?

This is an active role and you must be able to walk and stand for extended periods of time outdoors (in all sorts of weather, rain or shine). You will work with knowledgeable staff who are experienced in many the horticulture tasks that keep Tyler’s grounds looking their best.

Samples of the type of work you can choose to do include weeding, maintaining paths, basic pruning, setting up events, planting, brush clearing, mulching, chipping, garden clean up.

Some knowledge of gardening is helpful but is not essential.

When: year-round on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, 8am – noon.  Additional opportunities are available on occasion.

Click here to access the Horticulture Crew job description.


Do you have great photography skills and love nature?  Our photographers provide top quality digital images (still images or video) for Tyler’s needs: communications, programs, and outreach.

You may be asked to cover events, photograph plants or even insects. Or use your imagination to photograph what catches your eye when visiting Tyler. 

When: as agreed upon

Click here to access the Photographers job description.


Tyler’s StoryWalk® is enjoyed by so many of our visitors and this small team of volunteers does the work to make it happen. The books are changed about five times per year as new books are laminated and secured in the cleaned stations. Aiding in the selection of appropriate StoryWalk®* materials and completion of related tasks may be available.

When: as scheduled every other month

Click here to access the StoryWalk® job description.

Wister Rhododendron Garden

Gardening and history collide at the 13-acre Wister Rhododendron Garden which contains over 1500 rhododendrons and azaleas. Tasks such as planting, mulching, pruning and weeding are needed to maintain the health of this wonderful collection. You will be working under a stately canopy of shade trees, and be caring for other plants which support the ecology and aesthetic of this garden. In this role, you will also have the opportunity to learn about caring for plants in the Rhododendron family, learn about larger scale garden maintenance and learn about the history of the Wister Rhododendron Garden, rhododendron hybridizing and the different hybridizers whose work is displayed in the garden.

Click here to access the Wister Rhododendron Garden job description.


We can always use writers to assist with articles and social media posts that are Tyler centric.  If you have a skill for writing that provides good imagery along with information, let us know. The material is meant to engage Tyler’s readership in a meaningful way.  Gain inspiration at Tyler but you have the freedom to work from home.

When: mutually agreed upon time

Click here to access the Writers job description.

Would you like to be involved with Tyler’s Plant Records team as they keep our inventory of trees and shrubs up to date? We need volunteers that are detail oriented and like to work outdoors as they help us keep accurate records of the plant labels and the plant locations. Database printouts and maps assist in your work.

A working knowledge and interest in plant ID is very helpful but not necessary. You will be exposed to many areas at Tyler and the first to know about new plantings.

When: Volunteer hours are available year round, once per week on Wednesday mornings. Click here to access the Plant Records job description.