The Garden has a thriving volunteer community. Our volunteers are essential to educating the public, maintaining the collection, growing plants for sale, aiding in research, staffing the Garden Shop, and helping with special events. The UC Botanical Garden welcomes volunteers in most departments. Please read on for more information about our opportunities and the benefits of volunteering.
Current Volunteer Opportunities
The Garden is accepting applications for Roving & Entrance Ambassadors for volunteers who are available on weekends and holidays. Shifts are 2 hours: 10am-12pm, 12pm-2pm and 2pm-4pm. Inclement weather cancels. Ambassadors are asked to commit to at least one full season and to volunteer for at least one shift per month.
Roving Ambassadors help with welcoming and orienting visitors throughout the Garden. Responsibilities include providing general information about the Garden and supporting plant and people safety throughout the Garden’s 34 acres. Rovers carry walkies to communicate with Entrance Ambassadors and staff as needed.
Entrance Ambassadors welcome visitors at the Garden entrance and help them make the most of their visit. Responsibilities include orienting visitors to the Garden map, providing general information about the Garden, and informing visitors of current programs and promotions.
Half hour, in-person, outdoor interviews will be scheduled for prospective Entrance and Roving Ambassadors during the week of August 2.
Training for Ambassador roles will be held on Tuesday, August 10 from 4:00-5:00 pm via Zoom. The training will provide an overview of the Garden’s collections, tools for engaging with the public, and prepare volunteers to support both people and plants at the Garden.
Do you love our Garden Shop & Plant Deck? Are you a ‘people person’ who has time to volunteer during the week? If so, we need volunteers to provide excellent customer service in the Garden Shop and on the Plant Deck. Garden Shop volunteers stock and sell gift items, plants, and books. Volunteers who enjoy working with the public and providing information about the Garden are greatly needed. The Shop serves as an important point of contact for visitors from around the world. Interested volunteers are scheduled to shadow a current volunteer for a few hours to get a sense of the job.
Volunteers work AM or PM shifts every other week (10:30 am-1:30 pm or 1:30 pm – 4:30 pm). One year commitment. Background check and references required.
Horticulture Volunteers support the Garden’s collections with maintenance, such as weeding, raking, and mulching.
This position requires the ability to work on a variety of terrain/slopes, in a variety of temperatures, to lift 20 lbs, and to bend, kneel, etc. Volunteer applicants should be able to follow directions from Horticulture staff while working independently. Horticulture Volunteers are assigned to work in a particular collection with the Horticulturist for that area.
Volunteers must wear closed-toe shoes and be available to work their scheduled shifts M-F, between 9am-4pm. One year commitment.
The Curatorial Department is looking for the following jobs:
- Phenology data collection, such as flowering and fruiting. This can be done any time the Garden is open to the public. Volunteer applicants should be familiar enough with plant identification to identify which plant label nearby belongs to a particular plant.
- Seed cleaning, plant label engraving, and label mounting. This work must be done on weekdays between 9 am and 4 pm. Seed cleaning and label engraving requires attention to detail.
One year commitment.
Please click here to fill out an interest form for any of the open positions listed above.
Under the guidance and supervision of Section Heads, Section Volunteers cultivate and propagate plants in their section. Responsibilities include watering, pulling weeds in pots or in the ground in working areas, checking the Plant Deck for watering needs and restocking. Applicants must be able to lift approximately 15-20 lbs and stand for extended periods of time.
One year commitment. Average of one shift per week to be done on weekdays between 9 am and 4 pm.
Docent (training held every other year)
Do you remember your own first of discovery of the world of plants? The first time you saw tree rings and understood they represented years of growth? The first time you observed a bee gathering pollen or discovered the contents of a pitcher plant?
If you enjoy working with people of all ages and you have a love of plants and nature that you would like to share with others, consider becoming a UCBG Docent! Our docents create memorable, fun and exciting learning experiences for small groups of school children, university students, and the general public, year round.
The Garden’s next Docent Training Course has not yet been scheduled, but we anticipate it will run the fall of 2023. Classes are usually held on Mondays from 1-4 pm through mid-April. Two year commitment after successful completion of the training. Docents are asked to lead at least 20 tours a year or to provide an equal amount of service to the Education Program as approved by the Volunteer Coordinator.
Travel with us to local community festivals to introduce the public to and raise awareness about the Garden. Assist at Garden fundraising programs and events.
Maintain and catalog the Myrtle Wolf Library, the Garden’s staff and volunteer reference library and archives.
Volunteer Requirements: We ask that volunteers have the ability to work at least once a week for a minimum of 3 hours between 9 am – 4 pm, Monday – Friday (except Garden Shop, Ambassador, and Special Events positions, which include weekends). We request a 1 year commitment due to the training involved, although there may be exceptions. We ask all volunteers to become Garden members and to renew your membership each year. Volunteers are eligible to purchase memberships at the UC affiliate rate.
Reduced Rate for UCBG Membership
Volunteers at the Garden are asked to become Garden members at the reduced UC Affiliate rate and so enjoy all the benefits of membership and more. You will be eligible for UC Affiliate Membership rates for Individual or Family level memberships.
The UC Bee is published monthly with news and announcements from all corners of the Garden. It is distributed to all volunteers, and all volunteers are encouraged to contribute to it.
Join the volunteer appreciation party and celebration each December. Lunch and refreshments are provided by the Garden and the event is hosted by Garden staff. Volunteer groups also have their own annual social events and clubs. Special activities and programs for volunteers are offered throughout the year.
Lectures are scheduled about once a month throughout the academic year, specifically for volunteers and staff. Volunteer education programs are organized by a committee of volunteers and staff, and are announced in the UC Bee.
Myrtle Wolf Library
The Garden has a modest reference library, which is available for volunteers to use. [Note that due to Covid-19, the Library is closed until further notice.]
UC Library Privileges
UC Botanical Garden Volunteers can apply for a library card for the UC Libraries.
The Jepson Herbarium
The Herbarium offers many classes and seminars at the member rate for UC Botanical Garden Volunteers.
Garden Volunteer Badge
When you have completed your training, or 30 hours of volunteer time, you will receive an official Garden name badge. This will allow you to ride the UC Berkeley shuttles for free.