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Volunteer Positions

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Volunteers are essential to the daily operations here at the DLC. (Click here to watch a video showing just how essential and wonderful our volunteers are!) We offer a variety of volunteer opportunities that require different time commitments and focus on different interests. Please select one or multiple volunteer opportunities and apply directly online for the positions. Our volunteer coordinator should reply to you shortly.

Thanks so much for your interest. We’re excited to hear from you!


Garden Volunteer

Are you looking to get your hands dirty and work outside? If so, we need you! The Duke Lemur Center (DLC) is looking for volunteers to help care for the DLC vegetable garden, pocket prairie, tropical garden, and landscaping around the grounds. The veggie garden and various fruiting plants provide a supplemental organic food source for our resident lemurs. The pocket prairie, tropical garden, and landscaping around the center serve as food for native pollinators, while also beautifying the spaces where our guest tour and learn about our conservation mission. Garden duties include planting, weeding, watering, harvesting, composting, and occasional hard labor of working the soil. No gardening experience necessary, but is always helpful. A 2 hour commitment per week is required. While at work in the gardens, volunteers are welcome to pause and watch the lemurs!

Requirements to become a Garden Volunteer:

Commitment to work a 2-hour shift each week for a minimum of one year
Proof of COVID-19 Vaccination, including a booster
Proof of current health insurance
Age 18 or above

We are currently accepting applications for new Garden Volunteers! Click here to apply to the Garden Volunteer position! If you have questions regarding the position, please contact Erin Hecht at erin.hecht@duke.edu.


Technician Assistant

The Technician Assistant (TA) program at the Duke Lemur Center began in 2008 and is designed to give students and the public an opportunity to volunteer their time and be involved in the husbandry of lemurs. TAs assist full-time Primate Technicians with a variety of animal care tasks, including diet preparation, cleaning of animal areas, development of enrichment, behavioral observations, and daily upkeep of the facility. Our TA volunteers are an invaluable resource for the center and include undergraduate, and graduate students, as well as professional and retired members of the community.

Requirements to be a Technician Assistant:

Commitment to work one 4-hour shift each week for a minimum of 6 months
Proof of COVID-19 Vaccination, including a booster
Results of TB test that has been administered within a year of start date (requested upon acceptance)
Proof of MMR Vaccine
Proof of current health insurance
Age 18 or above

We are no longer accepting applications for the Technician Assistant position. If you have any questions about the position, please contact Erin Hecht at erin.hecht@duke.edu.


Education Docent

The DLC’s education program has expanded in amazing ways over the last few years, including accommodating more visitors with open house-style tours during the summer months. With this growth comes an increased need for volunteer help. Education Docents assist with open houses and other on-site events, engaging with guests and answering questions about the lemur colony. Docents are stationed at a specific location on the tour path to share with guests about one particular lemur species and about the overall mission of the DLC. No previous lemur knowledge is required, as new Docents will receive training from the DLC education staff!

In 2022, this position will require a couple of training sessions in late April (dates will be announced when application opens), and then will require at least three 2.5-hour shifts each month from May – September, but there may be additional opportunities to assist the Education staff or other DLC departments throughout the remainder of the year and until open houses resume in 2023. Volunteers who train as Education Docents are welcome to stay in that role, or they can use this training process as a stepping stone to train as a full-fledged DLC tour guide for the 2023 tour season. We are excited to announce that beginning in 2022, we are opening up this position to high school students and reducing the minimum age requirement to 14 years old!

Requirements to be an Education Docent:

  • Proof of COVID-19 Vaccination, including a booster
  • Proof of current health insurance
  • Age 14 or above
  • Commitment to wear a face mask (covering nose, mouth, and chin) for up to 2.5 hours outdoors in all weather
  • Commitment to work at least three 2.5-hour shifts per month from May – September 2022
  • Shifts will be available weekly on Thursdays and Fridays 4:30 PM – 7:00 PM, as well as on Saturdays and Sundays 9:30 AM – 12:00 PM
  • Attendance of one virtual Zoom orientation at either of the following dates/times*:
    • Tuesday 4/5/22 1-2pm EST
    • Saturday 4/9/22 1-2pm EST
  • Attendance of one 90-minute on-site orientation at any of the following dates/times*:
    • Thursday 4/14/22 1-2:30pm, 2-3:30pm, 5-6:30pm, or 6-7:30pm (EST)
    • Saturday 4/16/22 9-10:30am, 11am-12:30pm, 1-2:30pm, 3-4:30pm (EST)

*Note: depending on the number of applications we receive, we may consider adding additional virtual and on-site orientation dates and times, but there is no guarantee that applicants who cannot attend one of the options above will be considered.

We are no longer accepting applications for the Education Docent position. If you have any questions about this education position, please contact Megan McGrath at megan.mcgrath@duke.edu. If you have any general questions about the volunteer program or other volunteer positions, please contact Erin Hecht at erin.hecht@duke.edu.


Museum of Natural History Volunteer

The DLC Museum of Natural History is one of the most important collections of primate fossils in the country. In addition to lemur, monkey, and ape relatives, we have tens of thousands of fossils of plants and animals that lived alongside these ancient primates. If you are interested in working with fossils and learning how to conserve, catalogue, and store materials in an active research collection, we would love for you to volunteer as part of our team! Projects in the collections include helping to generate 3D digital models of our specimens, creating housing that will protect and stabilize materials, producing data for our research database, and helping to share the collection with visitors to the Division of Fossil Primates. No previous experience is necessary. We will work with you to develop the skills you need.

Requirements to become a DFP Volunteer:

Commitment to work a 2-4 hour shift each week
Proof of current health insurance

If you are interested in becoming a Fossil Lab Volunteer, please click here to complete and submit an application. We are not currently bringing on new Fossil Lab Volunteers, but you can submit an application to be considered for future openings.

If you have any questions about the Fossil Lab, the projects we are working on, or if you are interested in creating an interactive program for your classroom, please contact Curator Dr. Matt Borths at matthew.borths@duke.edu.


Group Volunteer Projects

Are you interested in bringing your organization out for a day of service to benefit the lemurs? We would love to host you! We host student organizations, scout troops, and community groups for project days during the fall and spring (September/October and March-May). Projects range from animal enclosure and center maintenance to the construction of enclosure structures. The minimum group size for a service event is 8 people and the maximum is 15 people. Projects are scheduled for a half-day at the center.

Student Volunteer Groups

Our fall 2022 service schedule is full! Check back in January 2023 for details about the spring service schedule. If you have any other questions regarding student service events, please contact Erin Hecht at erin.hecht@duke.edu.

Corporate Volunteer Groups

Interested in bringing your corporate team to the DLC for some community service and lemur fun? Check out the Corporate Service Package, which combines service and a tour behind the scenes or in one of our forested enclosures! Please contact Erin Hecht at erin.hecht@duke.edu if you have any questions.