Volunteer Opportunities

Enjoy being outdoors? Have a love for Mother Nature and the beauty of the Park Commission's diverse gardens? Join our volunteer team.

Bat Box MonitorsCooper Gristmill
Friends' GroupsFosterfields Living Historical Farm
GardenWorksGreat Swamp Outdoor Education Ctr
Adopt-a-TrailPyramid Mtn Natural Historic Area
Frog Call Volunteers 


Bat Box Monitors

The Morris County Park Commission is looking for volunteers interested in assisting with the monitoring of bat boxes on park properties.  Volunteers will be required to attend a training session and can work alone or in small groups.
In order to get an estimate of the effectiveness of these structures in attracting and supporting bat colonies, each occupied box should be monitored according to established protocol 4 times between mid-May and the end of July.  Monitoring will include initially briefly shining a flashlight into the bat boxes in mid-May to check for the presence of bats.  If bats are detected, volunteers will wait quietly nearby just after sunset and count the bats emerging from the box to feed.  Volunteers will conduct these emergence counts twice in mid to late May for occupied boxes.  Bat pups are typically born in June and by mid-July are able to fly.  Two more emergence counts will be conducted in July to monitor the reproductive success of the colonies, as pups emerge from the boxes with their mothers.  Emergence counts may last up to 45 minutes each night. Weather conditions during monitoring may be hot, humid, and buggy and volunteers will need to walk out of the park in the dark after emergence counts.
This monitoring effort will allow us to judge the effectiveness of bat boxes on Morris County Park Commission lands and hopefully lead to an expansion of the bat box program. All data collected will be reported to the NJ Endangered and Nongame Species Program to assist in their ongoing research.  Scout, school, or other organizations are welcome to contact the Park Commission to inquire about building and installing new bat boxes on park properties as well as assisting with monitoring efforts. Volunteers under the age of 16 must be accompanied by an adult.
Interested individuals or groups should contact:
Matt Trump
Natural Resources Management Program Supervisor

Friends' Groups

Friends of The Frelinghuysen Arboretum
PO Box 1295
Morristown, NJ 07962-1295
Friends of Fosterfields and Cooper Gristmill
73 Kahdena Road
Morristown, NJ 07960
Friends of Historic Speedwell
333 Speedwell Avenue
Morristown, NJ 07960
The Willowwood Foundation

The Mount Hope Conservancy



"Gardens are not made simply by sitting in the shade" - Rudyard Kipling

The Frelinghuysen Arboretum, Willowwood Arboretum, and Bamboo Brook Outdoor Education Center welcome you to visit, and hope you become a horticulture volunteer in the GardenWorks program, now in its 22nd year.

For a few hours each week, horticulture volunteers come together and work on a range of garden projects. It’s a rewarding way to have fun, while learning many valuable skills for maintaining and beautifying your garden, including watering, mulching, weeding, edging, trimming, pruning, cutting back, propagating, and raking. All you need to bring is a pair of gloves and enthusiasm. Gardenworks is a flexible, friendly, and fun gardening program for adults of all ages. Tools and refreshments are provided.

The Frelinghuysen Arboretum in Morris Township, once known as Whippany Farm, extends its welcome by featuring beautiful home demonstration gardens, rose and woodland gardens, and collections of shrubs and trees. Willowwood Arbortum, once named Paradise Farm, is situated on 130 acres of rolling farmland and offers Cottage, Mediterranean, Woodland, and Formal gardens. The Lilacs, Magnolias, and Cherries are popular as well. Bamboo Brook Outdoor Education Center, originally known as Merchiston Farm, is the former home of Martha Brookes Hutcheson, one of the first women to be trained as a landscape architect in the United States. The historic gardens were restored in 2010 and include a tumbling stream, two large pools, and extensive plantings.

The GardenWorks volunteers meet each week from April through November, as follows:

  • The Frelinghuysen Arboretum meets on Tuesdays, 9 a.m. to 12 noon at the directory in the main parking lot.
  • Willowwood Arboretum meets on Wednesdays, 9 a. m. to 12 noon at the directory in the main parking lot.
  • Bamboo Brook Outdoor Education Center meets on Thursdays, 9 a.m. to 12 noon in the staff parking area, second left upper parking area. The program has been extended to include the recent garden renovation of this historic site.

Opportunities for community or corporate groups are available by special arrangement. Let the beauty of the gardens surround you while sharing hands-on experiences with others who have similar interests.

For more information, contact:
Patti Millar
Horticulture Volunteer Program Coordinator
Phone 973.326.7629


Adopt-a-Trail Program

The Adopt-A-Trail Program is a great way to give back to our outstanding trails system. We have the largest trail system in New Jersey. Volunteers are needed to help with light maintenance and keeping us informed about trail needs.
  • An orientation session provides training in pruning skills, blazing, and more.
  • Our volunteers independently work their adopted trail. We ask for trail reports three times per year.
  • A 2 year commitment is required.
  • This is a great way to stay fit!
For more information, contact:
Russell J. Nee
Assistant Superintendent of Trails
Phone 973.631.5136


Cooper Gristmill

The 1826 Cooper Gristmill provides a glimpse into the rich heritage of Milltown. In the late 19th century, the town thrived; the restored and operational gristmill is one of the few survivors of that era. The gristmill is open to the general public May through October when guided tours of the mill as well as a variety of educational programs and demonstrations are offered. From April through June and from September to mid-November, the mill is available for pre-scheduled school tours.
  • Miller’s Assistant - Help staff set up the mill, interpret the technology to visitors, bag flour and/or meal, and assist with closing procedures for the day. Vacuum the mill, and aid in other tasks as needed. With staff, clean the millpond of plant material and dig out the tailrace. Training provided.
  • Mill Tour Helpers - Assist with set up for programs, and work with school, camp, scout, and adult groups as they tour the gristmill and partake in various activities. Help with closing, and aid in other tasks deemed necessary. Training provided.
  • Program Demonstrators - Help with scheduled programs and special events that feature domestic and industrial chores of that late 19th century. Based on your own expertise, ask us about presenting a program to the public that illustrates a craft or skill of the 1880s.
For more information, contact:
Samantha Hartford
Phone 908.879.5463


Fosterfields Living Historical Farm

The first living historical farm in NJ, Fosterfields is open to the public Wednesday – Sunday, April through October. Visitors can meet the various farm animals, engage in period farm and domestic chores, tour The Willows, explore the Transportation Exhibit, make reservations for guided youth and adult tours, and enjoy special programs. Events and activities at Fosterfields are based on the Foster family’s journals, diaries, records, and accounts.
  • Farm Tour Guide - Lead school, camp, scout, and adult groups on tours of the historic farm and farmhouse. Engage participants in hands-on activities. Tours are 1½ or 2 hours in length. Training provided.
  • Willows Docent - Give tours to children and adults of the historic Gothic Revival mansion, The Willows, built in 1854 for a grandson of Paul Revere. House is restored to the period 1880-1902. Training provided.
  • Heirloom Gardener - Assist with the planting, weeding, harvesting, and interpreting the farm garden where vegetables representative of the Fosters’ time period are grown.
  • Family Activity Center Assistant - During the spring and fall, assist visitors in making farm and seasonal crafts. Also, interact with the public in playing games that were popular during a bygone era.
  • Seamstress - Sew period attire for staff and volunteers. Historic 1920s patterns are provided.
  • Clerical Assistant - Help staff with copying and collating documents, labeling and stuffing envelopes, and handing out programs and tickets on busy weekends.
  • Collections Volunteer - Help staff maintain the historic artifact collections. Assist with computer data entry, object inventory, and digital photography. Training provided.
For more information, contact:
Alli Harley-Kong
Phone 973.631.5344


Great Swamp Outdoor Education Center

Our "outdoor classroom" borders the Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge. School groups, scouts, clubs, and the general public are invited to visit the park and attend the Center's many nature programs. The Center is open 7 days a week, 9:00am to 4:30pm.
  • Weekend Greeter - Help with greeting visitors, phone calls, and providing information about the Center and its activities to visitors so naturalists are free to run programs.
  • Special Events - Help with special events such as Earth Day, Maple Sugar Fest, etc. We will provide any training needed for the event.
  • Hiking - Assist on hikes.
  • Photography - We need help with taking photos at all of our programs.
  • Volunteer Form
  • Student Volunteer Form


Pyramid Mountain Natural Historic Area

Pyramid Mountain is a natural historic area that includes three mountains and two stream valleys. It has over 1,500 acres of beautiful terrain and 20 miles of nature trails in Montville, Boonton Township, and Kinnelon with scenic views and several prominent geological formations. The Visitors Center is open Wednesday through Sunday, from 10am to 4:30pm.
  • Weekend Greeter - Help with greeting visitors, phone calls, and providing information about the Center and its activities to visitors so naturalists are free to run programs.
  • Special Events - Help with special events such as Monarch Fest, Earth Day, Maple Sugar Fest, etc. We will provide any training needed for the event.
  • Hiking - Assist on hikes.
  • Snowshoe Sunday Helper- Sweep on hikes and help people try on snowshoes during the winter months.
  • Volunteer Form
  • Student Volunteer Form


Frog Call Volunteers

The Morris County Park Commission is looking for volunteers interested in surveying park properties for the presence of frog and toad species. Volunteers will be required to learn the calls of frog and toad species, attend an orientation session, and survey their assigned sites at least once a month.
Amphibian call surveys will help the Park Commission gauge the presence, abundance, and seasonality of frog and toad species in the parks. Prospective volunteers will receive a CD of the calls of NJ frog and toad species. Once volunteers have studied the calls, they will meet with a member of the Natural Resources staff to assess their identification skills and review the monitoring protocol. Volunteers will be assigned specific monitoring sites, which they would be expected to visit at least once a month through August.
Call surveys will be conducted during the evening, and volunteers need only be at each site for a short time. Volunteers will record weather conditions and then listen for 3 minutes keeping track of the different species they hear. All completed data sheets are required to be returned to the Natural Resources staff monthly. Volunteers must be comfortable walking short distances in the park after dark and provide their own flashlight. Weather conditions vary over the monitoring period and it is recommended that volunteers dress for outdoor conditions. A trained volunteer may have an untrained friend or family member accompany them when conducting surveys. Volunteers under the age of 16 must be accompanied by an adult.
The Morris County Park Commission utilizes this data to establish a database to track amphibian species presence and activity over the years. Long term monitoring by dedicated volunteers will have a significant impact in achieving this goal.
Interested individuals or groups, please contact:
Matt Trump
Natural Resources Management Program Supervisor