San Francisco Botanical GardenVolunteer at the San Francisco Botanical Garden
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Volunteer FAQ

 
Who are the San Francisco Botanical Garden Society Volunteers?

The San Francisco Botanical Garden Volunteers are one of the great strengths of our organization, serving as an invaluable resource in making our programs possible. More than 600 people from the San Francisco Bay Area provide the Garden with vital support by guiding visitors through the gardens, staffing special events, maintaining the Garden, working in the library and behind the scenes through a host of other programs and activities. They share their time, their love for gardening and plants and their dedication to the community. Whether you are a master or fledgling gardener, a professional or a homemaker, retired or work full-time, a teacher or a student, San Francisco Botanical Garden needs your skills and talents.

How can I help?

San Francisco Botanical Garden Society has 250-300 regularly active volunteers and almost 600 total volunteers. Without volunteers we could not exist. Volunteers help with a wide range of activities and programs. They grow rare and unusual plants in our nursery and work alongside gardeners to maintain our botanical gardens. They guide visitors through the Garden, lead children's activities, assist the librarians in our leading horticultural library and staff special events such as our Annual Plant Sale. Volunteers work behind the scenes to inventory plant collections, as membership ambassadors, staff our bookstore. For a complete list of available Volunteering opportunities, click here.

What are the benefits of volunteering?

Volunteering is a great way to develop new skills, gain experience for your resume, and contribute to a treasured resource within your community. It is a great way to:

  • Meet and socialize with people who share a love of plants and gardening
  • Obtain free on-the-job-training/horticultural education by master gardeners, botanists and plant specialists
  • Develop a green thumb, and to learn the ins and outs of gardening in the Bay area
Do I need to have a green thumb?

No! Although gardening experience or plant knowledge is a plus, for the majority of volunteer positions, absolutely none is required. One of the benefits of volunteering at San Francisco Botanical Garden is the opportunity to gain valuable knowledge about gardening in the Bay Area. Our volunteers and staff have a range of horticultural experience, from weekend gardeners to tree specialists. We welcome volunteers with all levels of experience in order to foster a friendly and lively learning environment.

What kinds of volunteer help does San Francisco Botanical Garden need most?

Our volunteer needs change depending on what activities, programs, and projects we are running. There are several areas where volunteers are almost always needed including the bookstore, office help and special events set-up and tear-down.

Do you have any internships available?

Yes! San Francisco Botanical Garden's internship program is open to college students majoring in a horticulture or related disciplines. Contact Volunteer Services at (415) 661-1316 ext. 412 or by email at volunteer@sfbg.org for more information.

Can I pick the type of work I want to do?

Yes. Please note, however, that although volunteer applications are accepted at all times, we cannot guarantee that we will need volunteers in the specific volunteer position in which you are most interested. During your interview, the Volunteer Services Manager will ask you to rank the volunteer positions in order of preference. If your first choice is not available, you may choose to switch to your second choice or contact us later to see if there is an opening for your first choice.

Is there a minimum time commitment required of volunteers?

Volunteer positions vary in terms of the weekly time commitment and the duration of the volunteer commitment. In general, the minimum commitment for all regularly occurring volunteer positions (all but Special Events and Office Work) is six months. This is to ensure that time spent training a volunteer is repaid with a minimum amount of work. Volunteer shifts may be weekly or every other week, and may be for a full day or a half-day.

I work during the week. Do you have any volunteer opportunities on weekends?

Yes. Volunteers work in the Nursery on Saturdays and in the Bookstore and Library on Saturdays and Sundays. Most of our special events are also on weekends – usually Saturdays.

How do I apply to become a Volunteer?

If you would like to volunteer with the San Francisco Botanical Garden Society, you may either fill out an application online, print out an application to mail or fax it to us, or contact Volunteer Services to receive an application in the mail. Once the application is received, Volunteer Services will contact you to arrange an interview. The purpose of the interview is to determine the best match between your skills and interests and SFBGS's needs. Our contact information is as follows:

VOLUNTEER SERVICES
Phone: (415) 661-1316 ext. 412
Fax: (415) 661-7427
Email: volunteer@sfbg.org
Mailing Address:
San Francisco Botanical Garden Society
9th Avenue at Lincoln Way
San Francisco, CA 94122
Attn: Volunteer Services

Who do I contact for more information?

Carol Laughlin
Director of Community Engagement
Phone: (415) 661-1316 ext. 412
Fax: (415) 661-7427
Email: volunteer@sfbg.org
Mailing Address:
San Francisco Botanical Garden Society
9th Avenue at Lincoln Way
San Francisco, CA 94122
Attn: Volunteer Services

Office hours are Monday–Friday, 9am–4:30pm.

ADMISSION  FREE for all SF City & County Residents, Members & School Groups     /     $7 Non-residents     /     Discounted fee: Seniors & Children

LOCATION Entrances at the corner of 9th Ave at Lincoln Way & at MLK Jr. Dr. off the Music Concourse in Golden Gate Park

(415) 661-1316    |     © Copyright , San Francisco Botanical Garden. All Rights Reserved.