Volunteer Opportunities

As a Duke Forest volunteer, you are directly involved in improving the Forest and helping us to carry out our teaching and research mission.

  • Work indoors or out in the field with Duke Forest staff and other volunteers.
  • Learn new skills and put your talents to work.
  • Make a difference in your community.

The Forest is in need of volunteers for a variety of activities. Please contact us if you are interested in volunteering in one or more of the areas listed below, or you believe you can assist the Forest in other ways. Subscribe to our News & Events list and select “Volunteers – General” to be contacted about upcoming volunteer opportunities.

  • Trail Maintenance & Forest Management – Put Your Back into It 
    The Forest contains many miles of walking paths. These trails provide researchers and educators with easy access routes into the forest interior while also providing enhanced hiking and nature viewing opportunities to recreational users. Volunteers are needed to cut back encroaching vegetation, install water bars and stabilize trails.
  • Office Management & Data Entry- The Inside Job 
    Managing the Duke Forest involves a lot more than simply taking care of the trees. Volunteers are needed to assist with data entry, document scanning and grant writing.
  • Field Trip Leader – Walk and Talk on the Wild Side 
    Volunteers are needed to lead interpretive tours on the weekend for the general public. These walking tours help to educate citizens about the Duke Forest’s research and teaching mission while also explaining the ecology, history and management of the Forest. A background in botany, ecology or forestry is helpful, but is not required.
  • Prescribed Burn Crew Member – Cool Heads Needed (please contact us directly by email or phone if interested)
    Duke Forest conducts prescribed fires to improve wildlife habitat and to prepare areas for tree planting. Fire crew members are needed for a variety of fire-related duties. Official training and/or experience conducting controlled burns is helpful, but not required.

Upcoming Activities


Friday, May 25, 2018
Trail building and erosion repair in the Couch Mountain area of the  Durham Division

8:30am – 12:30pm

Join us for a morning of much needed trail work in the Couch Mountain area of our Durham Division. With supervision from Duke Forest staff, you will use hand tools to create new trail, repair erosion damage, and remove debris. This event is appropriate for volunteers 16 or older and will require hiking and moderate to high physical exertion. There are a maximum of 8 spots available, so please sign up soon by clicking the button above!

Duke Forest will provide work gloves, tools, snacks, and water. As always, please wear closed-toed shoes and bring anything else that keeps you comfortable in the woods (e.g. sunscreen, bug spray, etc.).  We’ll send specific location and parking details as the date gets closer.

Please remember to bring a signed waiver form with you:
Volunteer Waiver

Registration Closed


Past Events

Friday, May 25, 2018, 8:30 – 12pm Trail building and repair

Friday, February 23, 2018, 8:30 – 12pm Tree Planting

Friday, October 28, 2016, 1 – 4pm – Research site clean-up

Friday, November 4th, 2016, 1 – 4pm – Research site clean-up

Friday, April 29, 2016, 1 – 4PM – Tree damage mitigation

Friday, April 22, 2016, 1 – 4PM – Tree damage mitigation

Saturday, March 19th, 2016, 9 – 12PM – Tree damage mitigation

Saturday, October 10, 2015 9 – 12PM – Invasive plant removal

Saturday, October 31, 2015, 9 – 12 PM – Shepherd Nature Trail project


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