Volunteer in the Gardens

We're always ready to make new friends!

Do you love plants? Do you love to garden? The MSU Horticulture Gardens staff relies on a dedicated group of volunteers who help us accomplish many tasks each year. No experience is necessary - though you may find new ways to use your skills to help! With 14 acres of planted gardens and many tour groups who visit every year, there are plenty of opportunities for you to help. Hands-on work may involve annuals, vegetables, perennials, roses, native plants and more - in fact, you name it!  The opportunities are endless and every week the work is different as the season progresses.

Volunteers generally meet every Tuesday morning during the spring and summer from 9am-Noon, weather permitting.  We also need volunteers to man our Visitor Booth which is open from 9:30 am to 4:30 pm Monday-Friday, during summer. Sign up for a 3.5-hour shift, either morning or afternoon. We encourage volunteers to sign up with a friend.

Each year, we hold an awards reception in December to recognize our volunteers and all that they contribute to the success of our gardens. Every year, one or more of our volunteers receive the prestigious Volunteer of the Year award. The awardees receive a brick engraved with their name and the year of the award. These bricks are installed in the Perennial Garden Walk as permanent recognition of the volunteer's contributions to our gardens. Some volunteers log innumerable hours, and these awards are a tribute to their dedication!  See the list of our past awardees.  



Marie Miller, 2023
Volunteer of the Year






Our Volunteers Are Amazing!

Our dedicated volunteers donate thousands of hours of garden labor and educational instruction each year. Our labor volunteers help us keep our gardens looking great. Our docent volunteers help us educate thousands of children and adults each year in a variety of science- and nature-based programs. All of our volunteers help keep events and fundraisers running smoothly!

Here is a list of the number of hours donated by our volunteers over the last several years:

Year Docent Hours Labor Hours Total Hours
2023 1110.6 1571 2681.6 
2022 1053.4 1479.5 2532.9 
2021     1,001
2020 ------ 537 537
2019 1,238 1,630 2,868
2018 1,475 1,756 3,231
2017 1,417 1,700 3,117
2016 1,514 1,254 2,468


To learn more and to receive weekly emails about volunteer opportunities, contact:

Abby Makowski, Volunteer Coordinator

(517) 353-0330