Join our volunteer community supporting the Arboretum with their time and talents. We welcome young, old, and everyone in between to become a part of our valuable group of volunteers. Enjoy fresh air and sunshine as you weed a garden bed, maintain the trails, or lead a children’s activity. Whichever project you choose, know that you are contributing to this living legacy.

Volunteers who complete ten or more hours in a year are invited to our annual Member & Volunteer Appreciation Picnic.

Please contact the Arboretum if you are interested in volunteering with us!

Volunteer Opportunities

Children’s Naturalist

This volunteer will assist with leading field trips. Applicants will supervise children grades k-8 in groups of up to 25 children, guide pre-written field trip activities and facilitate hands-on learning. Teaching experience a plus! Training will be provided. Weekdays.


Spend some quiet time in the sunny Vista Room sorting, labeling and shelving books. You will also enter books into an Excel spreadsheet. Training will be provided. Weekdays.

Adopt-A-Bed Gardener

If you enjoy being outdoors and getting your hands dirty you can sign up to weed and maintain one of our perennial beds. Gardening experience is helpful but not necessary. Weekdays or weekends.

Arboretum Program & Event Assistant

Be part of Arboretum classes and events by helping with setup, sign in of attendees, activities, and clean up. Please contact us for upcoming opportunities. Evenings and weekends.

Arboretum Ambassador

If you enjoy interacting with the public, this opportunity is for you. Ambassadors will join staff at outreach events throughout the Des Moines metro. At the event you will hand out literature, answer questions and potentially help with a children’s craft. Weekdays and weekends.

Office Assistant

Help out in the office folding brochures, cutting paper supplies and other simple projects as needed. Weekdays.

Prairie Steward

Enjoy our acres of restored prairies by helping maintain the plantings through weed control and clearing invasive trees. Training provided. Weekdays and weekends.

Trail Steward

If a walk is a part of your exercise regime, consider becoming a trail steward. By walking one (or more) of our trails every two to three weeks you can report trail safety issues and observe trees and shrubs for disease or insect problems. Weekdays.

Adopt-a-Grove Gardener

Our thousands of trees and shrubs provide opportunities for volunteers to help with a wide variety of tasks, depending on the season.

We need help weeding around the tree and shrub groupings throughout the year. Summer is the time we prune the crabapple trees. During the fall, we need to measure hundreds of trees and shrubs. Measuring is an ideal task for partners. Training is provided for all of these duties. Weekdays and weekends.

We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give. ~Winston Churchill

Want to volunteer?