Become a Volunteer
Why become a volunteer?
A fun community, great opportunities, and exciting perks:
- Free membership to the Gardens–unlimited Garden entry! (Conditional upon continued service as specified.)
- Free classes, workshops, and events.
- Discounts in the Garden restaurant, gift store, & nursery.
- Receive one free guest pass for every 20 hours of logged and pre-scheduled garden service in assigned duties.
- Put your energy and creativity into the important mission of the Gardens.
- Enrich your life with stimulating projects and learning opportunities.
- Get to know the Garden staff and other volunteers by collaborating and learning with them.
- Meet and share your knowledge with local plant enthusiasts and visitors from around the world.
- Celebrate the joys of volunteering during our annual staff and volunteer appreciation day. The next upcoming date is posted in our Calendar of Events.
How to become a volunteer
- Volunteers are strongly encouraged to begin their involvement here by attending a volunteer training session. The next scheduled volunteer training days are listed on our Calendar of Events. Advanced registration is required (email: [email protected]).
- After their initial training, volunteer trainees will be mentored by a senior volunteer and/or staff member (as available) until they can be checked off on the following:
- Knowing the Garden’s mission & contributing toward it
- Knowing and following the garden’s policies
- Guiding the standard 1:00 pm garden tour and/or other duties as assigned
- Treating others at the garden with kindness & respect
- Once the volunteer coordinator has checked off a volunteer trainee, they will be issued their volunteer membership, valid until the end of that calendar year and conditional upon their continued regular service to the Gardens in duties approved by the Volunteer Coordinator.
- For those who are not interested in an extended volunteer commitment but would still like to lend a hand for a day (or a few), please check our calendar of events for occasional group volunteer activities including planting or highway cleanup.
- Another option is to request to shadow another volunteer. You may make your request with our volunteer coordinator by emailing [email protected] with your availability and the type of work you would like to do.
What do garden volunteers do?
Garden Volunteers take on a variety of different duties and projects at the Garden:
- Horticulture: Propagating plants in the nurseries, planting, weeding & preparing cuttings
- Education: Guiding tours, teaching classes or workshops at the Gardens or local schools
- Conservation: Assisting in reforestation and environmental protection
- Representing the Garden at external venues and/or events
- Promoting the Gardens, its projects, & events onsite or with local businesses and organizations
- Landscaping, trail work, and construction
- Administrative work including membership services and record keeping.
- Some valuable volunteer work can be done from the comfort of your own home:
- Writing: Volunteers may always submit articles, pictures, or poems to our newsletter “The Leaflet.” Volunteers practiced in writing grant applications can assist us in that capacity.
- Translating: We always have a pile of documents to translate, many of which are directly linked to public education and serving our visitors.
- Many more opportunities are possible. Put your skills and talents to work here by finding or dreaming up projects that take merit your abilities – or learn new skills by trying something different. Learn the needs of the Garden and communicate how you can help out the most, while making your experience here your reward.
- Volunteers who wish to contribute generously to the Gardens from their personal finances, family trusts, or commit to fundraising for the Gardens in the local or international communities may consider applying for service on a Garden committee working in conjunction with the Executive Director and members of the Garden’s Board of Directors. Committee service is a pathway to consideration in joining the Garden’s Board of Directors. Board Membership is a serious commitment. An often repeated quote within non-profits is, “Of work, wealth, and wisdom a board member should contribute at least two.” Volunteers who are interested in serving on a committee should have a personal conversation with the Garden’s Curator or Executive Director.
- Volunteers commit to a minimum of 50 hours of volunteer service per year. Minimal service per day is 5 hours during regular Garden hours.
- Volunteers will check in with the volunteer coordinator (or, if unavailable, another Garden manager) upon arrival to the Gardens. Before leaving the Gardens, volunteers will log their hours of service at the Volunteer Coordinator’s desk before they leave.
- If a volunteer cannot make it to a scheduled volunteer commitment, that volunteer will send an email to the Volunteer Coordinator and the volunteer email list requesting coverage with as much advanced notice as possible. If it is a last minute emergency, please also call the Gardens directly.
- Volunteers act in accordance with the Garden’s mission and represent the Garden professionally and courteously at all times.
- Dependent on the Garden’s budget, volunteers are invited to complimentarily join the staff breakfast at 10:00 am and lunch at 3:00 pm each day they are at the Gardens completing assigned duties in pre-scheduled garden service. Volunteers are responsible for letting the Volunteer Coordinator (or, if unavailable, another Garden manager) know ahead of time of any dietary restrictions. At no point should the volunteer communicate with kitchen staff concerning special requests. Another option always extended to volunteers is to order a meal of their choice from the Garden’s menu to which a member discount of 10% off will be applied.
- Volunteers will dress in attire appropriate for their duties and wear their uniform shirt and/or name tag when volunteering. Volunteers will not display corporate logos while on the property of the Gardens.
- Volunteers will make use of standard safety equipment during their service. They will immediately report any unsafe condition or perceived safety concern to the Volunteer Coordinator.
- Volunteers will respond in a timely fashion to correspondence from Garden staff and fellow volunteers.