Volunteering during Winter Lights

Looking for ways to give back this season? Volunteer with us at Winter Lights! From greeters to fire pit attendants to G-scale train operators, there are a variety of volunteer positions available. Opportunities are available for individuals and groups aged 18 or older.
Volunteers that complete three shifts will receive a complimentary ticket to bring a carload of guests or pass on to a friend!*

Volunteer Instructions

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 46 nights of Winter Lights, and there are special benefits for volunteers who work three or more shifts.

Click Here to Register

    • When you sign up,  registered volunteers will receive a confirmation email with the training materials attached. Volunteers should read over the appropriate training materials prior to reporting for their shift.
    • Volunteers are required to wear a face covering when indoors and when social distancing is not possible outdoors.
    • Winter Lights volunteer shifts are scheduled from 5:00-9:30 p.m., 5:30-9:30 p.m. or 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 www.ncarboretum.org.  We will attempt to contact volunteers by phone or email regarding cancellation as soon as possible.

*Not valid on Fridays, Saturdays or holidays.

2021 Volunteer Positions

  • This volunteer will assist volunteers with check in and obtaining their equipment. Once all volunteers have checked in, this volunteer will act as Greeter, stationed at the Education Center, where they will greet and assist guests. This is an indoor position. This position is reserved for volunteers with Winter Lights experience. If you are interested in this position, contact Cat Dillard, the Volunteer Coordinator.

  • Assist visitors with Wishing Tree and interactive games located outside the Education Center on the Veranda. This position requires exceptional customer service skills and the ability to stand for duration of shift. Must enjoy interacting with guests, especially small children and be outgoing. This is an outdoor position but will be shielded from rain and wind.

  • Assist staff with general customer service, sales, and restocking at gift shops in the Education Center Auditorium. This position requires great customer service skills, attention to detail and physical activity. This is an indoor position.

  • This volunteer will split their time at the Baker entrance and as a Floater. For the first part of the shift, this volunteer will assist guests with event related questions as they enter Baker Visitor Center. (Please note that Ticketing/Check-in take place at the Gatehouse.) For the second part of the shift, this volunteer will float to each volunteer station so volunteers have the opportunity to take a break.  This position requires great customer service skills and the ability to be on feet for duration of shift. This is an indoor/outdoor position.

  • Oversee and trouble shoot the operation of our G-scale model train, greet visitors and answer basic questions about the railroad exhibit. This position requires great customer service skills and the ability to be outside, sitting/standing for duration of shift. Previous experience with G-scale train operation is not required- training is provided. This is an outdoor position.

  • Tend small fires in warming stations (screened fire pits not used for s’mores) and monitor visitors for safety near fires as needed. This position requires great customer service skills, ability to manage fires safely and the ability to be on feet for duration of shift. This position is not recommended for volunteers with wood smoke sensitivities. Fire pits are located in the Heritage Garden and near Blue Ridge Court. This is an outdoor position.

  • Greet and direct visitors at designated outdoor stations, provide event information, answer basic logistical questions and act as a liaison to staff and campus police. This position requires great customer service skills and the ability to be on feet for duration of shift. Wayfinders are located at Baker Lawn, Grand Promenade, Garden Access, and EC Plaza. This is an outdoor position.

Benefits of Volunteering

Volunteers learn new skills, meet like-minded people and participate in the Arboretum’s largest fundraiser. Funds raised during Winter Lights help improve programming, exhibits and  gardens and help achieve the Arboretum’s mission of cultivating connections between people, plants and places. In addition to receiving discounts at Bent Creek Bistro 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 three shifts will receive a complimentary ticket to bring a carload of guests or pass on to a friend! Volunteers that complete 10 hours or more will also be invited to the Winter Lights preview in 2022. Volunteers with 40 hours or more, will also be invited to the 2022 Volunteer Appreciation event. 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 10 participants, can provide invaluable assistance during the Winter Lights event.

For more information, email volunteering@ncarboretum.org or call 828-412-8588.