Our Unique History

Unlike many public gardens, the garden you see today is the result of a volunteer-led, grassroots effort. Without the dedication, ongoing appreciation, passion, and hard work of our volunteers, the Garden would not be here! 

Hours in 2023


Volunteers in 2023


Hours in 2023


Volunteers in 2023


Why do you volunteer

at the Botanical Garden of the Ozarks?

Gayle Howard

“From my first day at the very first volunteer training class in 2006, I have felt at home and a part of BGO. There were other people just like me who I could tell about my compulsion to dig up plants in my yard and move them around like furniture, knowing they would understand. I have fond memories of playing Butterfly Jeopardy with school kids, the unexpected appearance of two long black snakes at a Greening of the Garden, working with loyal admission volunteers under challenging circumstances, and the premiers of Chefs [in the Garden], Little Sprouts, Firefly Fling, and International [Festival]…all of which have become hugely popular. The BGO is, and always will be, an important part of my life.”

Martha McBride

“Volunteering for the Botanical Garden has been a very rewarding experience. I’ve had the pleasure of watching the Garden almost from the very beginning. I’ve made many friends and enjoyed many beautiful events over the years. BGO is such an asset to the community. It introduces young children to gardening & nature. And it is a wonderful place for adults to come together to learn more about nature as well.”

Joyce Mendenhall

“I volunteer at BGO because it makes me feel like I am helping my community, the environment, and educating people in addition to working in such a beautiful place. It is so important to me that BGO is, and always has been, a ‘grassroots’ organization. Without volunteers it would not exist.”

Joyce Richards

“Beautiful setting; Beautiful people; No pressure; Great staff who shower you with gratitude and make you feel like you’re part of the family; Gives one a feeling of accomplishment and that you’re contributing to the community.”

Judy Smith

“More than 15 years ago, the sign on Crossover said, “Botanical Garden coming soon,” and I said “When?” So in 2007 I was ready to see it, to become a member and to volunteer. I love the many ways I can help – gardening, guiding tours, working events, teaching school groups, all surrounded by beautiful gardens.”

Martha Ward

“The Botanical Garden is a wonderful place to be and volunteer. It’s also a family composed of staff, other volunteers and members – all of whom care about the Garden. I’m proud to be one of the many volunteers who have helped the Garden function and grow. My current role in reception gives me the opportunity to welcome visitors and introduce them to a place I love.”

Joan Wimberly

“I feel honored to have been involved (even in a small way) during the beginning stages of the Botanical Garden. And it gives me such a deep feeling of gratitude and pride to still be around to see how the Garden has grown and become such an important part of the NWA Community.”

Volunteer Opportunities

Admissions Office

Volunteers work in the visitor’s center daily in four-hour shifts. They greet guests of the garden, provide information about admission prices, memberships, and upcoming events. They answer phones and direct calls to staff as necessary. Additionally, admissions volunteers may take cash, cards or tickets during special events.

General knowledge of computer software preferred. Initial training of our ticketing system required.

Education/Field Trips
Volunteers help educate children and adults alike about the importance of nature, gardens, and plants through field trips, family events, and various programs. All educational volunteers will receive training.
Garden Tours
Volunteers help educate children and adults alike about the importance of nature, gardens, and plants through tours of the garden. All educational volunteers will receive training.
Event Hospitality

Volunteers serve year-round at Garden events in areas such as food and beverage set-up, serving, restocking and clean-up. Volunteers may also serve as gate greeters, ticket scanners, stage runners, and floaters. Most events are in the evening or on the weekend.

Volunteers work outside under the supervision of trained horticulturists. Tasks include planting, weeding, mulching, dead-heading, pruning, and more. Opportunities consist of several hours a few times a week throughout the entirety of the year. Hours are available on weekday mornings only. Group and independent volunteer opportunities are available year-round. No experience required.

Volunteers will help with the weekly recycling on Sunday afternoons. Also needed at signature events to help our community partner, Food Loops.

Community Outreach

Outreach volunteers educate the public on BGO events and community activities by distributing posters, pamphlets, and information at various events around Northwest Arkansas (requires a minimum of 15 volunteer hours in other areas of the garden).

Children’s Programming
Volunteers help facilitate our weekly preschool program, Little Sprouts. Volunteers are needed for set-up, clean up, and program assistance which usually consists of a craft or project. Events are held on Wednesday mornings from May through October. There is also an elementary program in the summer, Garden Buds.
Butterfly Program
Volunteers maintain the Butterfly House daily, monitor the House during events and programs, and help to educate school children and guests about the butterfly life cycle. All volunteers will receive training.
Class Ambassadors
Volunteers help the teacher get situated, greet registrants as they arrive, and scan their tickets. Before the class begins, the Class Ambassador will thank everyone for coming, list the garden’s upcoming events, and introduce the teacher. At the end of the class, the volunteer will help the teacher pack up their materials. Volunteers are welcome to stay and observe the class.
Volunteers work with staff to maintain the Garden structures and facilities. Often involves use of hand tools, power tools, and other gardening related tools. Experience using maintenance tools such as tractors, zero turn lawn mowers, string trimmers, hedge trimmers, chain saws, and leaf blowers is preferred. Ability to lift 50 lbs. preferred.
Volunteers work with Communications Manager to photograph and video classes, events, and various programs at the Garden. Must own your own camera and have experience with photography or videography. Must be available evenings and weekends.

My Impact Tutorial

Volunteer Handbook