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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!


Education Docent

The DLC’s education program is at its busiest during the summer tour season, and Education Docents are invaluable members of the team! Education Docents assist with General Tours and other on-site events, engaging with guests and answering questions about the lemurs. No previous lemur knowledge is required, as new Docents will receive training from the DLC education staff! We don’t require any previous experience, but since this role requires lots of chatting with strangers, we do recommend that folks who apply consider whether they will be comfortable approaching guests to engage them in conversation about the lemurs and the DLC.

In 2024, this position will require a couple of training sessions in March (dates below and in application), and then will require at least three 2.5-hour shifts each month from May – September. See below for specific shifts available.

Requirements to be an Education Docent

  • Proof of current health insurance
  • Age 16 or above
  • Commitment to work at least three 2.5-hour shifts per month from May – September
    • Shifts will be available weekly on Fridays 4:30 PM – 7:00 PM, as well as on Saturdays and Sundays 9:30 AM – 12:00 PM. Thursday evening shifts (4:30 PM – 7:00 PM) will also be available in June, July, and August.
  • Attendance of one 45-60 minute virtual Zoom orientation at any of the following dates/times*:
    • Saturday March 2 at 10:00 AM EST
    • Wednesday March 6 1:00 PM EST
    • Saturday March 9 at 10:00 AM EST
    • Wednesday March 13 at 1:00 PM EST
  • Attendance of one 75 minute on-site orientation at any of the following dates/times*:
    • Friday March 22 at 5:30 PM EST
    • Saturday March 23 at 10:00 AM EST
    • Sunday March 24 at 10:00 AM EST
    • Friday March 29 at 5:30 PM EST
    • Saturday March 30 at 10:00 AM EST
    • Sunday March 31 at 10:00 AM EST
  • Commitment to independently study video and written materials provided on lemur ecology, research, and conservation.

*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.

Applications for the 2024 season are open until February 29! Click HERE to apply.

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.


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 (Shifts are 6:45-10:30AM, 8:15AM-12PM, or 12-4PM)
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 not currently accepting applications for new Technician Assistant Volunteers. If you have questions regarding the position, please contact Erin Hecht at erin.hecht@duke.edu.


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. We are specifically looking for individuals who have availability to be part of a garden team on Thursdays from 9-11AM, starting in January 2024.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 current health insurance
Age 18 or above

We are currently accepting applications for new Garden Volunteers. Click here to apply. If you have questions regarding the position, 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 Museum of Natural History Volunteer:

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

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

If you have any questions about the Museum, 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

If you are interested in bringing a group out for service, complete the Spring 2024 service group request form. Our Volunteer Coordinator will be in touch once we have received your form. Please note that we receive more service requests than we can schedule in each service season. We will do our best to get your group on the calendar, but can’t guarantee a service date. 

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.