Governors Gardener

Governors Gardeners work alongside the Island's Horticulture team to care for the Island's sprawl­ing mead­ows, young for­est groves, orna­men­tal flowerbeds and land­scaped hill­sides.


Position Description:

Governors Gardeners:

  • Per­form sea­son­al gar­den­ing tasks includ­ing plant­i­ng, prun­ing, weed­ing, water­ing, rak­ing, mulching and trans­plant­i­ng 
  • Learn to iden­ti­fy and remove inva­sive plants, under the direction of our expert Horticulture staff
  • Cre­ate a catalog of Island bio­di­ver­si­ty by pho­tograph­ing and doc­u­ment­ing ani­mal and plant life on the Island
  • Serve as a friend­ly, help­ful and infor­ma­tive resource for visitors
  • Support Governors Island Nature events, including nature walks, community service days, and seed ball workshops

This is an on-Island position. Governors Gardener shifts take place on weekday mornings year-round. There are no weekend gardening shifts. Shifts are approximately 3.25 hours long. Volunteer projects take place throughout the Island's diverse landscapes, and shifts are organized by zones of the Island (ie Mondays on Discovery Hill, Fridays in Liggett Terrace). Volunteers manage their schedule and sign up for open shifts in their volunteer profile.

Governors Island is a haven for local wildlife, and our Horticulture team is dedicated to sustainable, ecology-based landscape management. This role is a great opportunity to spend time in the outdoors, learn about local biodiversity, and meet like-minded individuals.


Volunteer Expectations

Governors Gardeners are expected to commit to at least 10 volunteer hours each month. This is equivalent to about 3 volunteer shifts each month. This regular commitment ensures the Island's gardeners have reliable support to complete ambitious projects and allows volunteers to develop an in-depth knowledge of the Island's landscapes.


Successful Governors Gardeners volunteers:

  • Enjoy being outside, manual labor, and getting dirty
  • Are comfortable bending, lifting, and kneeling
  • Care about biodiversity and are curious about habitat restoration
  • Are attentive to safety procedures and instruction
  • Arrive to shifts as scheduled

While experience gardening is helpful, it is not necessary to volunteer! Volunteers will work under the direction of the Island Horticulture team and are expected to follow instructions. This is an entirely outdoors positions, so volunteers should feel comfortable working outside in various conditions, performing manual tasks, and getting their hands dirty.

Prior to your first shift, volunteers are required to schedule a call with the Island's volunteer team to review expectations and arrival instructions. Additional training will be provided during on-Island shifts.

All Governors Gardener volunteers receive a free volunteer T-shirt and name tag at their first volunteer shift. This shift not only acts as your uniform, it allows you to board the Governors Island ferry for free. This applies to Trust for Governors Island-operated ferries and is not applicable to New York City Ferry.

If you have any questions about this position, please reach out to