Volunteers play a critical role in helping the Botanical Garden grow — and not all of the jobs involve plants. A dedicated group of volunteers work closely with the Botanical Garden’s staff to present a wide range of activities to the community. Whether you can dedicate a few hours a week, or even just help several times a year for a special event, the Botanical Garden invites you to join its volunteer community. No experience is necessary — just a love for the Botanical Garden and a desire to support its mission.
Benefits and Requirements
In return for their valuable time, volunteers gain hands-on experience in a range of areas, including horticulture, informal learning, development and visitor experience. In addition, the Botanical Garden provides:
- complimentary admission on the day of service,
- a 20% discount at the Garden Gift Shop on the day of service,
- an annual volunteer recognition picnic and
- complimentary admission to select Botanical Garden classes.
The minimum age to volunteer at the Botanical Garden is 12. Volunteers younger than 15 years must be accompanied by an adult. All volunteers working with children or handling money must consent to a background check.
How to Become a Volunteer
The Botanical Garden uses the website GivePulse to share volunteer opportunities and manage hours. General information and requirements can be found at sabot.givepulse.com. You must register as a GivePulse Member to sign-up to be a volunteer (this is different from a garden membership).
To register as a member:
- Go to sabot.givepulse.com and click the “Become Member” button to begin.
- Your application will be reviewed by Garden staff; you will receive an email if your application has been accepted.
- Once accepted, you will be able to see and sign-up for volunteer opportunities under the “events” tab.
For additional questions, contact Maeve Bassett at [email protected].
How can you help? View the Botanical Garden’s current volunteer opportunities.
Children’s Vegetable Garden Program (CVGP) Volunteers
Interested in learning more about growing vegetables while helping to cultivate young gardeners? Volunteer in one of the nation’s oldest youth gardening programs. All levels of experience and commitment are welcome to join the enthusiastic CVGP team of volunteers who enjoy working outside and working with kids and families.
- Shifts for the CVGP occur Saturday mornings, 8 AM to 12 PM, for 16 weeks during the spring and fall. The spring session of the CVGP begins on Saturday, Feb. 22 and concludes Saturday, June 6.
- CVGP Orientation, Feb. 1, 10 a.m. in Classroom B. Please email [email protected] to RSVP.
Culinary Garden Docent
Share your passion for gardening with the community by becoming a Culinary Garden Docent. Docents answer visitors’ garden questions and teach how ‘Good Food Grows’ through personal interaction and hands-on activities. The Culinary Garden Docent volunteer opportunity is an extension-approved volunteer activity and available only to certified Bexar County Master Gardeners. Training is provided by Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service and Botanical Garden staff. Shifts are from 10 AM to 1 PM Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.
Gardening volunteers perform routine garden installation and maintenance duties. Volunteers may choose to train to work in all areas of the Botanical Garden or may opt to work in a specific area(s).
- Shifts for the Gardening volunteers occur regularly on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays from 8:30 to 11:30 AM.
Membership Sales Ambassador
If you are interested in learning about nonprofit fundraising and advocating for the Botanical Garden’s mission, our welcoming and professional Membership Sales Ambassadors team is a perfect fit for you. These enthusiastic and welcoming volunteers assist in recruiting new members to the Botanical Garden.
- Responsibilities include learning basic information about Botanical Garden programs and membership benefits, asking visitors for financial support in the form of Botanical Garden memberships, assisting with completion of simple membership applications, and collecting and securing payments (cash, check or credit card using an iPad).
- Shifts for the Membership Sales Ambassador Team are three hours and occur between 8:30 AM and 4:30 PM during special events.
Adventure Garden Guides
Do you enjoy sharing your enthusiasm for nature with children? Join us in the Family Adventure Garden, designed to promote the importance of nature play. Adventure Garden Guides invite and encourage unstructured nature play, lead hands-on discovery activities and support the Botanical Garden Staff with garden upkeep. Shifts for the Adventure Guides are generally during high traffic times, including Fridays, Saturdays, throughout the year from 9 AM to 12 PM with special holiday and event afternoon shifts. All Botanical Garden volunteers working with the children are required to consent to a background check.
Propagation volunteers help produce and maintain plants for use in the Botanical Garden. Volunteers can choose to work on the general Botanical Garden nursery and greenhouse projects or can work with the Plant Sales team which grows plants for the San Antonio Botanical Garden’s Plant Sales.
- Responsibilities include propagating a variety of plants using simple techniques; assisting with routine cleaning and maintenance of greenhouses, cold frame areas and other specialized structure or systems; helping keep records of plant growth and maintaining plant inventories; washing and sanitizing pots; and providing daily care of plants, including watering and pulling weeds and debris.
- Shifts for the Plants Sales propagation team occur Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 9 AM to 12 PM
Public and Special Events
The Botanical Garden’s public and special events are critical to its mission, helping to increase funding and community engagement. BOOtanica, Viva Botanica, Family Flashlight Night and Brews and Blooms are just a few of the events which require volunteer support.
- Responsibilities include event greeting guests, facilitating activities and games, serving refreshments and clean-up.
- Shifts vary by event and public and special events occur approximately 15 times per year.
School Program Volunteer Educators
Can you teach others about the importance of the environment and about the awesome qualities of plants? Join our School Programs Team! Volunteers learn how to teach children using experiential learning and inquiry-based design principles, outdoor learning experiences and real-world applications to teach the importance of plants. See below for school program volunteer opportunities. Once training is completed, volunteer shifts occur Monday through Friday from 9 AM – 12 PM during school field trip seasons (generally March – May and October – November).
- Terrarium School Program volunteers use experiential learning practices to teach children (grades 1 – 5) about ecosystems, plant adaptations, the water cycle and the importance of environmental stewardship through building a terrarium.
- Conservatory Tour volunteers give children (grades 1 – 5) TEKS-based interactive guided tours of the Lucile Halsell Conservatory.
- Early Childhood Life Cycle Program volunteers use experiential learning practices to teach children (grades Pre-K – K) about life cycles through interactive teacher and volunteer led stations.
CHEF (Culinary Health Education for Families) volunteers give children (Pre-K – 12) tours of the Culinary Garden and assist them with cooking two recipes during the CHEF Cooking Workshop and/or volunteers give children (Pre-K – 12) tours of The Zachry Culinary Garden and guide them through an interactive conservatory scavenger hunt during the CHEF Garden Tour and Tasting program.
The Botanical Garden offers several different types of internships throughout the year. For more information and an application, please visit the links below. Please send applications or intern inquiries to Katie Erickson at [email protected], with Internship in the subject line.