An active community of volunteers is essential to supporting the mission of The Arboretum. Throughout a normal year, volunteers participate a variety of activities. From weekly gardening groups to running our annual plant sale, there are many ways to get involved, meet new people, and have an impact in The Arboretum.

What is the Arboretum Auxiliary?

The Arboretum Auxiliary is a group of enthusiastic people who volunteer their time and expertise to help The Arboretum meet its Mission Statement. The Auxiliary is divided into various activity groups, each with an area of responsibility within The Arboretum, working with staff members. Volunteers receive The Arboretum e-newsletter, and can join dedicated Volunteer Information Sessions and as well as our Auxiliary email list. People have been volunteering at The Arboretum for many years. The idea of a formally organized Auxiliary began to grow in fall of 1994. Through the vision and hard work of a handful of dedicated volunteers, it became a reality on January 19th, 1995, when over 70 people attended an Open House to learn more about the new organization. Auxiliary members have had an actual hand in nearly every area of The Arboretum. We look forward to hearing from potential volunteers, and finding ways to match your interests with our needs.

The central aims of the Volunteer Auxiliary are to:

  • Develop and maintain an active, engaged group of participant volunteers working to support The Arboretum's needs,
  • Promote public interest in The Arboretum, and
  • Generate funding for The Arboretum.

Who can join the Arboretum Auxiliary?

Anyone with an interest in The Arboretum who is able to offer an occasional few hours or a regular time-commitment is welcome to join The Arboretum Auxiliary. The Auxiliary is made up of people who offer to perform and carry out a service requested, agreed upon, and supervised by The Arboretum staff and/or the Auxiliary Group Leaders, without monetary payment or a tax receipt.

If you are interested in joining us to volunteer with The Arboretum Auxiliary, please contact us at arbor@uoguelph.ca for an application form.

We look forward to seeing you!

Types of Volunteer Roles and Activities:


  • Foyer Reception Desk: Welcome visitors and provide information about The Arboretum. Answer telephones and direct calls. Assist with office support, bookings and mail-outs when needed. Deal with sales items.
  • Miscellaneous office duties and mailing assistance: Occasional assistance to label and stuff packages of information, newsletters, program and course information, sent to Arboretum Friends, volunteers, schools.
  • Data Entry/Filing: Enter information into Arboretum databases (Access), such as workshop and bookings evaluations and surveys.
  • Research & develop contact lists:  Update media contact list (such as for press releases to newspapers).
  • Posting Flyers throughout city for events/fundraisers.
  • Update free listings (i.e. Rogers, Cogeco, Tourism Ontario etc) with dates of workshops
  • Filling brochures racks in The Arboretum Centre as well as throughout the grounds with applicable brochures.


  • Grounds and Physical Resources: Assist staff with the maintenance of The Arboretum plant collections, grounds and gardens.
  • Gardening Group: Assist staff with Arboretum garden maintenance.  Activities include perennial plant care (dividing, transplanting, deadheading, pruning), planting, weeding and spring and fall clean-up.
  • Plant Sale Group:  Seed preparation and germination, potting up donated and stock plant material (woody and herbaceous). Also includes summer maintenance: weeding and watering, labeling and inventory for annual sale.
  • Trail clean-up:  Removing branches/debris from trails.
  • Gardening Group 2 - Frances Ball Rose Collection: Assist staff with the upkeep of species, shrub, Old Garden and Special Series rose beds involving spring cleanup, pruning, weeding, and edging.
  • Seed Group: Assist staff with collecting and cleaning seeds, sowing seeds in preparation for Annual Arboretum Auxiliary Plant Sale, Arboretum collections or seed sharing programs.


  • Annual Plant Sale – Organize/plan for the annual sale, assist with sale set-up. Provide assistance on the day of the sale in September.
  • Special Events – Organizing & Planning:  Work as a member of a team on all aspects (planning through to implementation) of various events/fundraisers for The Arboretum.
  • Fundraising: Organize, plan and put into action various activities to raise much needed funds for The Arboretum, such as Presentations, Family Fun day or other similar programs.


  • Docents Group: Volunteers trained to have a good knowledge of The Arboretum grounds, collections, history and programs to lead organized group tours of The Arboretum, or give talks about The Arboretum to community groups.


  • Office: Keep records and organize paperwork. Also includes faxing and photocopying.
  • Publicity: Prepare promotional material for Special Events.
  • Newsletter: Collate, edit and word process regular correspondence with volunteers.

Note: Individuals who wish to apply for volunteer positions with the Arboretum must complete an application form. Volunteers will be selected at the sole discretion of the Arboretum, according to suitability and need. Volunteers working with vulnerable groups such as children or the elderly may be required to obtain a satisfactory police record check including a Vulnerable Sector Query (“PRC”). PRCs must be updated every 2 - 3 years. Additional information can be found in The Arboretum’s Policy for Volunteer Screening. All new Arboretum Auxiliary Members must participate in an introductory/orientation tour of The Arboretum (scheduled as required). All Auxiliary Members must sign a liability waiver on an annual basis. Training will be provided for different activities as required. To comply with University policies Auxiliary members are not allowed to use power tools nor allowed to operate power equipment.