Volunteer to be a Guide

Second grade students participate in Old Plants

Second grade students participate in Old Plants

Field Study Experiences


Make a difference, have fun, and explore the Arboretum. Become a School Program Guide and lead small groups of upper-elementary schoolchildren through an active learning program about plants and the natural world.

Staff Contact

To learn more or to ask questions, please call Nancy Sableski, Manager of Children’s Education, at 617.384.5239 or by email.

You can also submit a volunteer application and we’ll get back in touch with you.


The Arnold Arboretum, Jamaica Plain, MA
Directions are available.


  • Attend 4 training days in fall and spring
  • Lead a group once a week in fall and spring
  • Participate in evaluation of program.

Required skills & abilities

  • Guides must be capable of understanding and conveying basic botanical principles in English to children. They must apply open-ended, inquiry-based teaching methods and must be able to manage a group of 6 to 12 children while engaging them on their level.
  • Guides must be able to move freely in the landscape, which has some hills and unpaved paths, and must be able to be outdoors for two hours in mild-to-moderate weather conditions with a group of children.
  • A college background is helpful but not necessary. Experience working with children is preferable. Extensive horticultural knowledge is not required.

Time commitment

We ask School Program Guides to make a two-year, four season commitment. This means agreeing to guide a group of children one morning a week (9:00am–1:00pm) in fall and spring for two years. Prior to the start of each season, guides attend four training classes (10:00am–1:00pm) at the Arboretum to learn the field study programs and the basics of botany, and to become familiar with the Arboretum landscape.