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Interested in Volunteering at Portland Japanese Garden?

Portland Japanese Garden is not accepting volunteer applications at this time. 

Becoming a Volunteer

Volunteers with Portland Japanese Garden must be: (1) at least 16 years of age, (2) able to make a six-month commitment to volunteering, and (3) be a member, or able to become a member of Portland Japanese Garden. More information about membership here.

Our volunteer onboarding process consists of four steps:

1.     Apply – Prospective volunteers are asked to complete this online application.

2.    Meet with Us– After your application has been reviewed, applicants will be invited to meet with our Volunteer Coordinator for an in-person interview. This short meeting gives us a chance to get to know your skills, interests, and availability a little better so that we can match you to one of our ten volunteer programs. Interviews will start in March for spring volunteer positions.

3.    Attend a Volunteer Orientation– This 90-minute session provides volunteers with the history, mission, and omotenashi (or Japanese customer service policy) of Portland Japanese Garden.

4.    Shadow a Current Volunteer – In some cases, we may require a new volunteer to shadow an experienced volunteer for their first 3 shifts or until the new volunteer feels comfortable in their role. This is required of new volunteers entering the Village Host, Bonsai, and Horticulture Volunteer Programs.

Available volunteer opportunities

Below are brief descriptions of the volunteer opportunities that are available in spring 2020.

Village Host

Village Hosts are friendly and outgoing. They enjoy meeting new people and are not afraid to approach visitors to show them all that the Garden has to offer. Village Hosts play an important role in orientating visitors as they enter the Cultural Village and are fonts of information. They advertise for tours, cultural demonstrations and exhibits and they encourage visitors to consider purchasing a membership to the Garden. Village Host shifts are two hours long and are available weekdays and weekends from 10-2pm between March and October.

Bonsai Terrace Docent

Bonsai Terrace Docents greet visitors as they enter the Bonsai Terrace. They provide information about the seasonally rotating bonsai on display and they are responsible for watching the plants and ensuring that they aren’t disturbed by visitors (touching, knocking over, plucking blossoms, etc.). Prior knowledge of bonsai is not required, but is a plus. Bonsai Terrace shifts two hours long and are available on weekdays and weekends from 10-2pm between April and October.

Exhibition Docent

Docents are responsible for welcoming visitors to the Gallery and providing information about the artworks on display. They are not the static guards that you might see in a large art museum. They are teachers, sharing what they learned or love about the art to visitors.  Docent shifts are two hours long and are available on weekdays and weekends during the run of an exhibition. We encourage docents to sign up for two 2 hour shifts per month during an exhibition. Each exhibition lasts for approximately 2 months.

Horticultural Support

Our Horticulture Support program is perfect for the person who is eager to get their hands dirty and loves being outside and working in all types of weather. Tasks include: weeding, sweeping, raking, and clearing away debris, weeds, and ivy. Horticulture volunteers do not do any pruning or work that requires in-depth horticulture knowledge. Horticulture shifts are four hours long and are only available on Mondays from 8-12pm. All horticulture volunteers are asked to commit to a regular weekly schedule of 1 Monday per week, or 4 Monday shifts per month.

Contact our volunteer department

If you have any questions about volunteering at Portland Japanese Garden, please contact the Volunteer Department by emailing [email protected] or by calling 503-542-9306.

Policy Against Discrimination

At Portland Japanese Garden we celebrate diversity and are committed to creating an inclusive environment for all employees and volunteers. We recruit, employ, train, encourage, and recognize our volunteers for their hard work without regard to race, color, national origin, creed, religion, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, marital status, parental status, disability, age, veteran status, or any other status protected by law. It is also the policy of Portland Japanese Garden that all employees and volunteers are entitled to a work in an environment free from all forms of discrimination. Discrimination or harassment based upon any of these factors is inconsistent with the policy and philosophy of Portland Japanese Garden and will not be tolerated at any time.