Governors Island relies on individual volunteers to help keep this incredible public space welcoming and beautiful for all. The Friends of Governors Island’s volunteer program has something for everyone, whether you’re hoping to try your hand at gardening, meet new people, or become a true Island insider.
What we’re looking for in our individual volunteers:
- Passion about public spaces and the value they bring to urban environments
- Excitement about getting to know new people
- Joy in being outdoors
- Commitment to environmental and community stewardship
Learn more about our volunteer opportunities below. Registration for new volunteers will open in late winter 2024. Please complete this interest form to be notified when applications are available.
Please note, to volunteer with the Friends of Governors Island you must be 16+ years of age.
Looking to get your whole team or company involved? Check out Corporate Opportunities with the Friends of Governors Island and bring your group out to the Island for a fun, fulfilling and rejuvenating day outside the office.
Got a green thumb? As a Gardening Volunteer, you will assist the Trust for Governors Island Horticulture Staff in caring for the Island’s sprawling meadows, young forest groves, ornamental flowerbeds and landscaped hillsides. Governors Gardeners:
- Perform seasonal gardening tasks including planting, pruning, weeding, watering, raking, mulching and transplanting (all require ability to bend, lift, and kneel)
- 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
Governors Gardeners make a regular commitment to the Island, developing in-depth knowledge of the Island’s unique landscapes and needs. Shifts are available on weekday mornings and are available to individuals 18+ years of age.
Want to share your enthusiasm about Governors Island with other visitors and help build a community of supporters? Island Ambassadors are a vital part of the Visitor Experience team. Ambassadors:
- Serve as a friendly, helpful and informative resource for visitors around the Island
- Answer visitors’ questions about the Island’s events and attractions
- Provide directions to visitors to navigate around the Island
- Help staff the Island’s welcome center and info desk
- Support public programming, including Governors Island Arts, Pumpkin Point, and more
Following training by Friends of Governors Island staff, Ambassadors are true Island insiders, supporting our mission to be a welcoming, inclusive resource for all New Yorkers. Ambassadors must be 18+ years of age and are asked to commit to ten volunteer hours each month.
Love Governors Island and want to share your enthusiasm about its history with visitors? Tour Guides:
- Lead in-depth public walking tours (approximately one hour in length)
- Learn the Island’s history as a military base and development into one of New York City’s most dynamic public spaces
- Stay up-to-date on current programming and future plans
- Answer visitors’ questions about the Island’s programming and attractions
- Develop communication skills as an educator and historian
Tour Guides receive thorough coaching from Island staff before leading impactful experiences for visitors. We ask that Tour Guides lead at least three tours each month.
Interested in working with Governors Island’s most famous (and cutest!) employees — a family of landscaping sheep? Sheep Stewards:
- Ensure the safety and comfort of Island sheep through attentive supervision
- Guarantee sheep have adequate food and water
- Follow rigorous protocol to escort sheep safely between restoration zones in Hammock Grove
- Educate visitors about the importance of biodiversity and the Horticulture team’s work to manage invasive species on Governors Island
Sheep Steward positions are available on weekends during the Spring and Summer. Given the importance of the sheep’s wellbeing, Sheep Stewards undergo a thorough training process in Spring and are expected to make a regular commitment throughout the Summer.