General Info - Volunteer

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Volunteer Opportunities in the Regional Parks

Volunteer is the magic word in the Northern Virginia Regional Park system. Volunteers make gardens grow at Carlyle House Historic Park and Meadowlark Gardens, give tours and programs, staff visitor and nature centers, assist with clerical tasks and special events, work on trail and landscape improvements and do more and more and more ... Transform a couple of hours each month into an adventure! Call one of the parks listed below and use the magic word:




Youth Park Enhancement Program, Summer
Ball's Bluff Battlefield Regional Park, Leesburg

Carlyle House Historic Park, Old Town Alexandria
Meadowlark Botanical Gardens, Vienna
Pohick Bay Regional Park, Lorton
Potomac Overlook Regional Park, Arlington
Trail Work Days, various Regional Parks
Upton Hill Regional Park, Arlington


Ball's Bluff Battlefield Regional Park
Leesburg, Virginia

Volunteer battlefield interpreters are needed to bring the Battle of Ball’s Bluff to life. On October 21, 1861, just three months after the 1st Battle of Bull Run, the North and South clashed on a bluff overlooking the Potomac River. The daylong battle was a resounding victory for the South. Though small in scale, this early battle of the Civil War had far-reaching consequences.

Volunteer battlefield interpreters can bring the Battle of Ball’s Bluff to life for visitors of all interest levels and for groups of schoolchildren and adults. Training will prepare volunteers to offer weekend and weekday tours, ranging from a 45-minute general introduction to the battle to an hour and a half in-depth tour. Interpreters must be able to walk a moderately difficult terrain while talking to visitors.

Please contact the park manager at 703-737-7800 for more information about becoming a Ball’s Bluff interpreter.



Carlyle House Historic Park
Old Town Alexandria, Virginia

Open the door to history as a docent at the Carlyle House. Docents (from the Greek meaning "to teach") guide tours through the historic house, teach the cultural heritage of Alexandria and work with a dedicated staff to give each visitor an enjoyable glimpse into life at the Carlyle House in the 18th century.

Requirements - The two magic ingredients for docent volunteers are an enthusiasm for meeting people and an interest in history. Docent schedules include two weekday shifts (10 a.m. - 1 p.m. or 1-5 p.m.) or one weekend shift (Saturdays, 10 a.m.-1 p.m., 1-5 p.m., or Sundays, noon-5 p.m.) each month.
Training - Attend training sessions. Read and study the docent training manual. Follow tours of the houses to experience examples of content and techniques. Compose your own tour combining basic information with material of particular interest to you.
Benefits - Free parking at nearby city underground parking garage while you work at the Carlyle House, a ten percent discount on gifts and books in the Carlyle House, fun and educational day trips, discounted admission to interesting lectures and receptions, participation in special events such as Christmas Candlelight tours, living history programs and the Carlyles' Housewarming and the opportunity to work in a friendly, caring atmosphere.

For more information about Carlyle House Docent opportunities, call 703-549-2997.



Meadowlark Botanical Gardens
Vienna, Virginia

Volunteers work in many areas of Meadowlark Botanical Gardens. At the Visitor Center, volunteers help staff the gift shop, greet the public and organize the library.

The gardens blossom with endless possible projects. With the horticultural staff, volunteers may help mulch, weed and plant an existing garden or establish a new one. While some volunteers prefer to work on a variety of tasks, others enjoy tackling specific projects. Dedicate your efforts to specific collections such as the Potomac Valley Native Plant Garden or oversee the development of a particular database.

The Meadowlark Botanical Gardens staff encourages "pride of ownership" through specific volunteer projects and provides an enthusiastic environment of discovery and public service.

Volunteers are recognized for their contributions in garden publications and at special events during the holidays. Other benefits include invitations to participate in staff field trips and programs at other gardens, free admission to Meadowlark Botanical Gardens and free quarterly newsletters.

Establish your volunteer role at Meadowlark Gardens; call 703-255-3631.



Pohick Bay Regional Park
Lorton, Virginia

• Park Greeters -- from the gatehouse in the main park, greet park patrons, disseminate information, collect fees
• Golf Course Marshalls and Starters -- coordinate tee times, keep play moving on the course and make minor golf course repairs

Benefits -- when volunteering eight or more hours a week, volunteers may have free use of park and golf course facilities

Call 703-339-6104 or email the park at to get involved.



Potomac Overlook Regional Park
Arlington, Virginia

Volunteers are an invaluable part of the Potomac Overlook Regional Park and Nature Center team. Volunteers commit 4-5 hours a month, enjoy free park newsletters and calendars of events, free admission to park programs and invitations to the holiday gathering. A variety of volunteer positions are available:

* Nature Center Assistant - greets visitors, answers telephone, accepts program reservations
* Birthday Party Helper - sets up for weekend birthday parties, greets host, delivers short natural history program (no experience necessary)
* Concert Helper - sets up and staffs donation/refreshment table at biweekly concerts
* Natural Resources Inventory Recorder - inventories and categorizes sightings and collections of natural inhabitants of the park such as plants, insects and birds

Potomac Overlook Volunteer Work Days - Usually the first Saturday of each month, from 10 a.m. to noon. Pitch in on trail, landscaping, garden and nature center projects.

Interested? Call 703-528-5406 for more information.



Trail Work Days
Various Regional Parks

Periodically the Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority gathers willing volunteers for Trail Work Days at various regional parks. Tasks range from basic trimming and clearing to building steps. All levels of experience are welcome.

To find out when the next trail project is scheduled, contact the park in your area and leave a message with your contact information for the manager.



Upton Hill Regional Park
Arlington, Virginia

Friday Pull Days: Join other volunteers and the staff of Upton Hill Regional Park on Friday mornings to remove invasive plant species from the park. We provide tools and gloves for these workdays. Call a day ahead at 703-534-3437 to let us know that you will be attending so we can verify that we plan to work based on the weather forecast. This is part of an on-going project to remove invasive plant species that are killing mature trees and eliminating native ground cover. Areas we clear are monitored for a few seasons to insure that the invasive plant species are not growing back. Later, we will work to introduce native plants and trees back into the areas. If you cannot attend Fridays but would like to volunteer to help us with this project, call the park office at 703-534-3437 and we can discuss various options.

Gardeners Needed: Upton Hill is looking for Master Gardeners or others interested in gardening to help create new garden areas around the playground in the lower park and to help us maintain shrubs and plants at the miniature golf course, entrance signs and flower boxes.

Have an Interest in Local History? Upton Hill is working to create a file of historical information on the Upton family, Upton Hill's role in the Civil War and other information related to Upton's history. Volunteers are needed to catalog information we have collected and to perform research at local libraries and archives.

We are always up to something at Upton Hill, so if you are interested in volunteering time during the week or on weekends, we can use help with: office work, answering telephones, painting, trail maintenance, landscaping, helping run children's mini golf birthday parties, creating displays for bulletin boards, wayside exhibits or kiosks, fliers for upcoming events, etc. Maybe you have an artistic streak and can help with photography, creating graphics for signs, advertisements and fliers or painting murals? We are currently working on a marketing plan. If this is your expertise, volunteer to help!

Shopping around for a place to do your Eagle Scout Project? Do you need volunteer service hours for school? Call the park office and find out what opportunities may be available.

Call Upton Hill Regional Park at 703-534-3437.