2023 Volunteer Data

  • 18,395

    hours of time donated

  • 365

    on-site volunteers

Without volunteers, there would be no Reiman Gardens.

Reiman Gardens was built on the freely given labor of love provided by volunteers from the community. From there it has flourished to a department which manages over 300 regular, onsite volunteers. In addition, thousands of community volunteers support Reiman in various capacities throughout the year. Whether you are in high school, college, a young professional, a busy family, a student organization, a local non-profit, an employer, a retiree, or something in between, we can use your passion, time, and energy to further the mission of Reiman Gardens.

Reiman Gardens is a certified Service Enterprise.

A Service Enterprise is an organization that strategically leverages volunteers to achieve operational efficiency and grater social impact. Service Enterprises are among the top 11% of nonprofits in the country in volunteer engagement and organizational performance. You can learn more about Service Enterprise here.


Onsite Opportunities

Onsite volunteers who have completed the online orientation:

  • set their own schedules
  • select opportunities to participate in projects that interest them
  • receive first access to all volunteer opportunities through our volunteer management system, Better Impact

  • weekly outdoor gardening in designated spaces
  • seasonal outdoor gardening projects 
  • indoor gardening in the Hughes Conservatory
  • plant preservation and special projects
  • pot-washing and greenhouse maintenance
  • Produce Donation Program initiative to fight food insecurity in Story County

  • youth and family docents: lead small groups of school children through hour-long tours with hands-on projects
  • adult docents: guide visiting groups through various outdoor and indoor spaces on tours
  • youth day camps: assist education staff or share a skill or passion project with small groups of children
  • classroom assistants: assist volunteer staff in adult education courses like flower arrangement
  • lecture hosts: welcome guests and speakers to programs and maintain a positive atmosphere 

Volunteers add value to our public event by working alongside staff, preparing decorations and materials, set-up and clean-up, directing traffic, helping vendors, and more. Behind-the-scenes and front-facing opportunities make this a fun activity for all!

Whether you love insects or would prefer to keep your distance, there are ways to help our Entomology department. Get trained to docent in our butterfly wing, help in the entomology lab, or simply survey butterflies in your neighborhood for the Iowa Butterfly Survey Network research.

From filing and scanning to building and planning, we have a lot of important volunteer opportunities behind the scenes. If you have a skill, we'll put it to use!

It takes hundreds of hours to prepare materials before our many events. We can create a packet of take-home materials for you to pick up; put on your favorite music, podcast, or tv show and help us cut stencils or other easy craft project. Bring it back when you're done--and pick up more if you wish!

Offsite or Group Opportunities

Busy schedule? Don't live in Central Iowa? Leader of a group looking for a way to give back? We have volunteer opportunities for all!

All are welcome to volunteer for special events without the need to complete a full volunteer orientation. Sign up yourself, friends, or a whole group of people at once.


If none of the Community and Group Volunteer Opportunities above work for you, we can custom build a volunteer opportunity for your group!

Email rgvolunteers@iastate.edu.

Include the name of your group, how many will participate, the dates/times you are hoping to come, and any other relevant information about your group's needs and desires. Our Manager of Volunteer Engagement will be in touch!

The Iowa Butterfly Survey Network (IBSN) encourages people to take an active role in conservation. IBSN conducts research using volunteer citizen scientists of all skill levels to collect data for yearly population surveys of butterfly species in the state of Iowa. Volunteers are trained in survey techniques specifically developed for butterflies.

IBSN Volunteer Application

IBSN volunteer in the field.