Due to a heat index exceeding 90 degrees, the Millennium Trail and Elm Lick Trail will remain closed until further notice.

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Volunteer at Bernheim

More Information

For more information about volunteer opportunities, contact Rebecca Lumbrix via email.

Individual volunteers should be at least 16 years old. Those younger than 16 are encouraged to volunteer accompanied by an adult.

Bernheim welcomes volunteers from organizations, schools, or any group of people wanting to support Bernheim’s mission of connecting people with nature.

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Volunteer Opportunities

Our 100’s of volunteers are essential for Bernheim’s success in helping our visitors discover the wonder of Bernheim! From rugged trail work, gardening, and removing invasive species to helping in the cafe or gift shop, and assisting with youth programming —Bernheim has indoor or outdoor opportunities for everyone.

Ready to join us in being a voice for nature? All potential volunteers must attend a Volunteer Orientation prior to being scheduled for volunteer opportunities. Orientations generally take place on the first Wednesday and third Saturday of each month. Check dates and register for an orientation here.

Our volunteer opportunities include (but are not limited to):

Art Group

Work closely with our Arts in Nature team and join in on the weekly fun every Thursday. Tasks may include lending support to visiting artists in residence, general arts maintenance, assistance in building collaborative large-scale installations, and other arts-related projects that come up throughout the year. Each week is different, but always a good time! No art experience necessary.

Gardening Group

Summerworks helping plant in the Edible Garden at Bernheim.

Join our Thursday morning gardening group to assist the Horticulture department in enhancing the overall appearance of Bernheim’s arboretum, as well as helping maintain Bernheim’s plant operations within the nursery and greenhouses. These volunteers will also be involved with our Living Roof Program and special events.

Edible Garden Helper

Did you know this special garden provides 1000’s of pounds of fresh produce for Isaac’s Café throughout the year? Work with our Edible Garden Steward to keep the garden well-maintained and productive by weeding, mulching, planting, watering, working compost, and a variety of other activities. Bernheim’s Edible Garden focuses on edible plants and landscapes to help visitors of all ages and backgrounds understand how they can grow food themselves, at home, and in their community.

Nursery Assistant

Summerworks program helping clean and organize the Hoop House in the nursery at Bernheim, Shot by Andrew Sellers.

This is a seasonal volunteer opportunity to help our Edible Garden staff with potting plants, weeding, taking inventory, minor repairs to greenhouse structures, stepping up plants, tending to seed starts, and other tasks in the Nursery. This opportunity takes place on Tuesday mornings.

Garden Harvest Prep Assistant

This volunteer position works with the Edible Garden and the Café teams to assist with harvesting, prepping, and preserving the season’s harvests to ensure that we’re making the most of all our garden has to offer. This position will have shifts on Wednesday and Friday mornings.

Volunteer Naturalist

Bernheim’s award-winning Naturalist Program provides volunteers with an in-depth learning and service experience. The Naturalist Program begins each winter and creates a volunteer community through an inspired curriculum where volunteers will significantly increase their knowledge of Bernheim’s natural ecosystem.

These dedicated volunteers lead various Bernheim educational programs and hands-on discovery stations at events and programs. Note: Naturalists are required to volunteer at least 60 hours per year.

Naturalist Assistant

Want to be involved in the Naturalist Program, but don’t have 60 hours a year available to volunteer?

Become a Naturalist Assistant and provide support to our team of Volunteer Naturalists through direct involvement with our E.C.O. Kids programs and other special events.

Volunteer Play Ambassador

Volunteer play facilitators – ambassadors for outdoor free play as we call them – help visitors maximize their play experience in Bernheim’s Playcosystem. They interact with families to help them understand the value of outdoor play, risk in play, self-directed free play, and other play topics.

Maintaining the ‘loose parts’, performing light landscape maintenance, and keeping the play space in a low-risk condition are also part of the fun. Play facilitators must be comfortable initiating conversations with Bernheim visitors of all ages. Minimum of four hours per month preferred.

Gift Shop Assistant

Gift Shop at Bernheim Forest

Volunteers work side by side with staff in all aspects of Visitor Services, such as greeting visitors, answering phones and questions, and labeling and selling merchandise. Our LEED Platinum Visitor Center is the hub for visitors looking for information, gifts or just a place to relax and enjoy nature. Our visitors are our biggest asset (besides our volunteers!), and we need you to help us take care of them.

Isaac’s Cafe Assistant

Isaac's Cafe at Bernheim Forest

Isaac’s Café is a local favorite for a healthy lunch — using produce from Bernheim’s Edible Garden, along with breads, meats, and cheeses from small businesses in the surrounding community. As a café volunteer, you will work closely with staff in all areas of food service including food prep, making lunches, taking orders, and washing dishes. Join a fun group of talented and conscientious food lovers and share the sustainable story behind their meal!

Information Desk Volunteer

These warm, friendly Volunteers ensure every visitor feels welcome and a sense of belonging at Bernheim!

Help answer phones, greet guests, and share information about all there is to do and see.

Forest Steward

Prefer a more behind-the-scenes role in volunteering? Then consider becoming a Forest Steward! Join Bernheim’s Research Coordinator and learn more about native plants, Bernheim’s woody ecosystem, and the many invasive plant species that threaten the health of our forest. Forest Stewards meet on Wednesday mornings and spend a few hours clearing forest areas of these harmful plants.

Trail Ranger

This critical volunteer position ensures visitors’ safety throughout our 40+ miles of trails. Volunteer Trail Rangers attend a Training Hike with the Natural Areas staff, where they learn the basics of trail stewardship and maintenance. After attending training, Trail Rangers can volunteer independently to check the trails for hazardous conditions, pick up litter, and perform basic trail maintenance that keeps Bernheim’s trails a favorite destination for hikers!

Trail Inspection Report | Trail Ranger Log

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