The University of North Carolina
A Department of the North Carolina Botanical Garden


Volunteer at the UNC Herbarium

We depend on our dedicated volunteers to do much of the work in the Herbarium!

Most volunteers work from 2 to 4 hours at a time. The number of times per week OR per month OR per year you work are very flexible. If you want to come in several times a week that's fine; if you want to come in once a month that's fine too. Several volunteers donate their time in the heat of the summer or in the depths of winter when outdoor activities do not beckon them. Others find that coming in for a few hours every week suits their schedule.

Once trained at mounting or sewing or filing, volunteers can work independently, and decide which task(s) they want to do.

Volunteers are encouraged to enjoy the CD player or listen to books on tape as they work. We have refrigerators and a microwave for storing food or heating food. Free coffee and tea are always available. Free parking in the Bell Tower Lot adjacent to Coker Hall is available by pre-arrangement with Carol Ann McCormick, the Assistant Curator.

To explore volunteering in the UNC Herbarium, please contact Asst. Curator Carol Ann McCormick at 919-962-6931, or via e-mail at:



Mounting Herbarium Specimens

Many of the specimens that are incorporated into the collection are mounted by volunteers. It takes about 30 minutes to be trained in the science and art of mounting plant specimens on paper. It takes 1-5 minutes to mount a specimen. It is work that can be done sitting down or standing up in the air conditioned Prep Room of the UNC Herbarium in Coker Hall.

Right: Volunteer Elizabeth Morgan mounting specimens.












Filing Herbarium Specimens

Only those volunteers who are familiar with plant taxonomy and botanical nomenclature take on the complicated task of filing completed specimens. We have over 700,000 specimens in 450 cases, and if a specimen is filed incorrectly it could take years (decades!) before it is rediscovered! However, we are ALWAYS in need of people who are capable of filing, so if you want to delve into the collection in a serious way, let us know!

Right: Volunteer Cindy Skema filing specimens.


Sewing and Final Gluing of Herbarium Specimens

Volunteers handle most of the sewing and final gluing of our specimens. It takes about 15 minutes to learn the techniques that the UNC Herbarium uses. No prior sewing skills needed. Each specimen takes 1 - 5 minutes to complete. Sewing and gluing is usually the first skill that a volunteer learns. It is a relaxing, sedentary task that is done in the air conditioned Prep Room of the Herbarium in Coker Hall.



           Curriculum in Ecology                 North Carolina Botanical Garden               Biology Department
                       Curriculum                               North Carolina                                 UNC
                        In Ecology                              Botanical Garden                   Biology Department


University of North Carolina Herbarium
CB# 3280, Coker Hall
University of North Carolina
Chapel Hill, NC 27599-3280
phone: (919) 962-6931
fax: (919) 962-6930

Last Updated: 26 July 2007