Volunteer in Knoxville this Spring

Anytime is a great time to volunteer… but there’s just something about spring that makes it extra special. We’ve gathered a list of some of our favorite mostly outdoor volunteer opportunities in and around Knoxville, and we hope you’ll take time in our beautiful spring weather to join these organizations’ efforts!

Keep Knoxville Beautiful

Keep Knoxville Beautiful (KKB) has made a huge impact in Knoxville through litter cleanups, tree plantings, environmental education, and other beautification projects. Just last year, KKB collected over 115,000 pounds of litter around Knoxville. You can volunteer at one of their monthly cleanups, or they can help you organize your own cleanup!

This spring they are hosting several School Garden Workdays, as well as a South Knoxville Community Cleanup on April 20 and the annual Third Creek Paddle on May 11. Check their volunteer page for upcoming volunteer opportunities.

Burwell Gardens

Burwell Gardens is a community garden in North Knoxville at 131 E Burwell Avenue. Their mission is to “help cultivate wholeness by growing food and relation” in our community. Burwell Gardens has regular volunteer opportunities. This spring you can join them for volunteering every second and fourth Wednesday from 6 pm to dusk, as well as volunteer workdays (usually one Saturday a month). Follow them on Facebook for more information and updates.

CAC Beardsley Community Farm

Beardsley Community Farm’s mission is to “increase food security in Knoxville by providing fresh produce, accessible education, and land and resources for gardening.” They support regenerative agriculture, donate fresh food to various programs, and maintain over 24 community gardens around Knoxville.

Beardsley has volunteer hours that vary seasonally throughout the year, including a monthly Saturday workday. Their spring volunteer hours are Mondays from 1-3 pm and T/Th/F from 9-12pm and 1-3pm. Upcoming Saturday Work Days are April 20 and May 18. Be sure to sign up on their website and check in regularly for more opportunities! 

Animal Rescues

Humane Society of the Tennessee Valley and Young Williams Animal Shelter are often overflowing with animals and could use help from donations and volunteers! They need volunteers for cleaning, reading, walking or hiking, and more. If you are able, fostering a pet is extremely helpful for these rescues that have limited space!

Young Williams Animal Shelter even has a large donation/wish list, which includes items you might have lying around your house and/or items headed for your recycling bin! 

Native Plant Rescue Squad

Native Plant Rescue Squad (NPRS) is an environmental organization that rescues native plants from construction or demolition projects in East Tennessee and rehomes them around town to improve the ecological health of our region. NPRS has a garden space at the Knoxville Botanical Gardens and Arboretum where they take care of dozens of native plants.

Help NPRS improve native biodiversity and ecological health in East Tennessee by volunteering or donating. This spring you can volunteer in their gardens on Tuesdays from 5-7 pm – email them to be added to their mailing list and learn about upcoming projects.

Battlefield Farm

Chris Battle started Battlefield Farm on a mission to fight the food disparity and food desserts in East Knoxville. He helped form community gardens, a local farmers market, and even a produce van (the “Veggie Van”) that helps make fresh food more accessible. Battlefield Farm is a wonderful community-focused farm with over 40 raised garden beds, a high tunnel full of plants, and chickens and bees. 

Fill out the Volunteer Form on their website to volunteer at Battlefield Farms and help improve food security in Knoxville!

Ijams Nature Center

Ijams Nature Center plays a key role in Knoxville’s urban wilderness and ecological health with over 14 miles of trails, wildlife programs, a quarry, and so much more.

Ijams has plenty of volunteer opportunities from litter cleanup to natural resource management to special events. You can even volunteer on your own time – stop by the Visitor Center before your hike for some litter cleanup gear, and pick up litter while you enjoy your hike! 

Dogwood Arts

One extra special thing about spring in Knoxville is our Dogwood Arts events. April is filled with First Friday, gardens and trails, downtown Chalk Walk, markets, and the annual Dogwood Arts Festival in World’s Fair Park.

The Dogwood Arts Festival supports dozens of local vendors and makers around East Tennessee and celebrates our local arts and culture. Volunteers are needed for setup, stage help, children’s area, and more – sign up here for various shifts.

State Parks

We have several state parks here in East Tennessee – and one of our favorites is Seven Islands State Birding Park in Kodak! Seven Islands has ongoing volunteer opportunities like community monitoring, weeding, trash pick up, and more, as well as workdays and other events. 

Find tons of opportunities through Tennessee State Parks – where you can actually create a Tennessee State Parks Volunteer account and see opportunities at all Tennessee state parks.

On your own!

You don’t have to volunteer with a specific organization to do great work for your community! Make it a habit to pick up litter on every walk, or organize a cleanup with friends and neighbors. Start a native pollinator garden, or, even better – turn your yard into a Certified Wildlife Habitat through the National Wildlife Federation. Some neighborhoods in Knoxville are already doing this (like the Fourth and Gill Wooly Bears). Write letters to our politicians telling them how important climate policies are to you, and speak with your vote! Share your favorite ways to volunteer and support your community in the comments below – and find more opportunities at Volunteer East Tennessee.

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