Please note:  we are currently accepting volunteers 18 years or older for the Winter Lights event only. Check back in January for information on regular volunteering opportunities.

Volunteering during Winter Lights

Looking for ways to give back this season? Volunteer with us at Winter Lights! Last year, we were grateful to have more than 250 volunteers donate 4,000 hours the course of the exhibit. From greeters to fire pit attendants to G-scale train operators, there are a variety of volunteer positions available. Click here to sign up!  Opportunities are available for individuals and groups!

Volunteer Requirements

  • All volunteers should visit VolunteerHub to register and sign up for volunteer opportunities. To sign up for events, simply click “sign up” on the shift (or event) that you are interested in. Volunteers are encouraged to sign up for 2 shifts or more during the 45 nights of Winter Lights.
  • All volunteers should plan to attend the Winter Lights volunteer training. Three sessions are offered: Tuesday, November 1, Wednesday, November 2 and Thursday, November 10. Volunteers only need to attend one of the three training sessions. Training sessions will take place in the Education Center Auditorium from 5:30-7:00 p.m. Please sign up on the calendar for one of these training sessions.
  • Winter Lights volunteer shifts are scheduled from 5:30-10:00 p.m., seven days a week. We recommend that volunteers give themselves ample time to arrive on campus by 5:30 p.m. You should consider work, commute times and other engagements before signing up for events.
  • Winter Lights will take place rain or shine. In the event of a severe weather warning or other unforeseen condition, we may have to cancel Winter Lights for the evening. Event cancellation will be decided no later than 3:00 p.m. on the date of the event. Cancellation notice will be posted on the homepage of the Arboretum’s website  Volunteers may also contact the main line at (828) 665-2492. We will attempt to contact volunteers by phone or email regarding cancellation as soon as possible.

Benefits of Volunteering

Volunteers learn new skills, meet like-minded people and make a positive impact on the environment while helping achieve the Arboretum’s mission of cultivating connections between people and plants. In addition to receiving discounts at The Savory Thyme Café and Connections Gallery gift shop, all active volunteers receive special invites to workshops, events and training throughout the year. We appreciate all the time and talents that our volunteers give but we also recognize volunteers that give more!

Volunteers that complete 5 hours or more are invited to the Winter Lights Wrap Up Party on January 5. Volunteers that complete 10 hours or more will also be invited to the Winter Lights preview in 2017. Volunteer with 20 hours or more, will also be invited to the 2017 Volunteer Appreciation Luncheon. All active volunteers who give a minimum of 50 hours of service a year receive a free parking pass for the extent of their commitment.

Corporate & Group Volunteers

Service organizations, corporate teams, garden clubs, fraternities and sororities…any organized group, up to 20 participants, can provide invaluable assistance during the Winter Lights event. To find out how to sign up your group,  email or call 828-665-2492 ext. 219.