Editor's Note: Make sure and read this entire article. It lists virtually every opportunity available to us as Friends of the Garden members.
Something truly special happens when you share yourself with others…. You’ll have opportunities to meet new people and make new friends, share interests and hobbies with others, work in a beautiful and stimulating environment, and make your community a better place to live.
An added benefit is the satisfaction that comes with helping the Gardens fulfill its mission by providing valuable services and programs for school children, gardeners, nature enthusiasts, professional horticulturists, home owners, and others in the community.
Our volunteers are special people. They care. They have a sense of commitment to something greater than their own personal needs. They have a direct impact on achieving the mission and goals of Friends of Garden. We recognize that our volunteers provide the Garden with a resource of talent that is unavailable in any other way. The Garden values this contribution and hopes to offer each volunteer a satisfying, productive, and rewarding experience.
“Volunteers don’t get paid,
not because they’re worthless,
but because they’re priceless.” ~~~ Sherry Anderson
“Who does all the work in the gardens?” We’re often asked this question by park visitors. It’s accomplished by special people – volunteers who care, and you could be among them. They have a sense of commitment that goes above and beyond the norm. Our volunteers have a direct impact on achieving the mission and goals of Friends of Garden. By participating as an active volunteer, you’ll form lasting relationships, learn new techniques, and fulfill our mission to offer educational programs for school children, gardeners, nature enthusiasts, professional horticulturists, home owners, and make our community a better place to live.
How much time does it take?
The benefit of volunteering for Friends of the Garden is flexibility. Some organizations require a certain number of hours per week, month or year. Friends of the Garden is unique in that we offer opportunities for people who might only be able to participate for special events. We also have amazing volunteers who serve in many capacities on a daily basis. The choice is yours. No job is too small. Every hour counts and every hour makes a difference.
Volunteers work in a variety of ways, inside, outdoors, and there’s a tremendous amount of work accomplished virtually – from the comfort of home. Whatever your interests or talent, gardener or not, if you believe in the mission, we’ll explore the opportunities based on your availability to find ideal fits. We have many ways in which you can share your love of nature.
Whether you oil paint or finger paint, blow glass or press flowers, carve wood or make jewelry. If it’s related to gardens there may be opportunities for you to participate in special events, sell your wares as a vendor, or participate in an exhibit at The Botanical Center.
Botanical Center Greeters
Want to serve your community in a unique facility? The Botanical Center is the new home base for multiple garden organizations and people who enjoy the park. It’s also attracting new visitors every day. Greet visitors and share information about all the exciting things in The Botanical Center & Gardens they might not otherwise discover.
Butterfly House Docents
Spend some time enjoying the butterflies while teaching others about these important animals. With the largest Missouri native butterfly house in the state and regular visitors, each visit is is an educational discovery because different species will be at different stages in their life cycle throughout the season. Help monitor their habitat, greet the public, teach about butterflies and answer questions. Training is provided.
Butterfly House: Behind the Scenes
Did you know we have volunteers who help raise caterpillars and butterflies in order to fill the Butterfly House? We also have plant propagators who make sure we have enough food for our winged friends. Want to help?
Carpentry & Metalworking
That’s right, carpentry and metalworking. Been told you have a knack with power tools? Do love to build things? There’s always something that needs to be built or something that needs repair. There is also room for creativity. Whether it’s functional or inspired, let us know what ideas you’d like to pursue.
Into computers? Like writing cool apps or know php? You might be surprised at how Friends of the Garden can use this talent.
Education is at the heart of the mission of The Botanical Center and several of our partner organizations. Do you enjoy sharing love of nature, gardens and conservation based on your knowledge, experience and expertise? Whether it be about specific plant species or a garden art workshop, we have the facilities for you to host programs for garden organizations and for the public.
Up for anything? Some of our volunteers really enjoy being able to help where needed.
Appreciate a good cause to raise money for? The growth and maintenance of the gardens are dependent on membership, donations, and volunteers. If you enjoy coordinating successful fundraising events, we have big dreams for The Botanical Center & Gardens. We’re looking for people who enjoy making amazing things happen.
We wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for volunteers who have a passion for gardens and gardening. Do you love working in the garden? We’ve got some you might be interested in. From planting seeds and plants, to weeding, deadheading, and pruning. We can use whatever help you have to offer. Don’t have experience but willing to learn? Work side by side with experienced gardeners. It’s a wonderful learning opportunity for veteran and beginner gardeners alike. This is one of the best ways to receive practical hands-on experience if you’re a beginning gardener. Our goal is to assure that each garden receives the care it requires.
So many opportunities, so little time. We’re always in search of grant writers who are willing to help. We know the grants are out there and we have amazing established educational resources like the University of Missouri Extension, Master Gardeners of Greene County and local chapters of national horticultural organizations which lay the foundation for supporting many grants. Funding is what enables Friends of the Garden to support our mission which serves you, the community.
Community & Business Groups
In addition to individuals, we also welcome groups of volunteers. Are you involved with a group that looks for community service projects to participate in? These don’t necessarily have to be garden groups. Examples include churches, green teams, scout troops, businesses, schools, service organizations, college programs, all are welcome. We have projects for group volunteers March through October.
With over 20 gardens to be installed over the next several years, there is plenty of heavy lifting required. This includes the construction and maintenance of hardscape (non-plant elements) including borders, irrigation, pergolas, outdoor furniture, shed, support of garden paths, mulch, etc.
Getting the word out can take many forms: from press releases to membership packets, from handwritten letters to Facebook, from botanical illustrations to four color brochures. Or maybe you’re comfortable in front of a camera during interviews. We’re looking for talented people who enjoy being creative.
With over 700 members and growing, Friends of the Garden membership requires dedicated attention. Renewal forms need to be mailed, data needs to be updated, memberships need to be processed, cards need to be written. If you’re detail oriented and enjoy the administrative tasks, this one’s for you.
Plants Records Aid
Have a mind for plant varieties and Latin names? Enjoy keeping things organized? The Botanical Center & Gardens serves it’s mission best with a database of plant records specific to our gardens and plant labeling.
Every Botanical Center & Gardens can benefit from plant propagators. Do you enjoy witnessing seeds sprout and nurturing seedlings as they grow? Or perhaps you’re good at rooting from cuttings. There might be a need that can be filled if you’ve got the space.
There is always something going on somewhere in the park. A dog might be enjoying a stroll, a butterfly might be quenching it’s thirst, a bird may be foraging for berries in the winter. Plants could be ready to bloom or making seed heads. Not to mention festivals, concerts, plant sales, and all the behind the scenes it takes to make the gardens enjoyable for the public. All these moments tell the story of the park. We’ll even give you your own photo gallery where you can share your images.
We are delighted to offer speakers for groups and always looking for people willing to speak. Friends of the Garden volunteers are community members who have a special interest in gardening and other aspects of horticulture. Many are members of our partner organizations. Several use their own resources as well as valuable literature and materials provided by the University of Missouri Extension. Combine your love of educating groups and your passion for nature as you offer your knowledge and fill requests from the community.
Special Events: Off-Site
Friends of the Garden has become well known among garden organizations within the community. As a result, we’re often asked to host a booth at area events so that others can learn about all the amazing things we have to offer.
Special Events: On-Site
Don’t have a lot of time to devote throughout the year? There are plenty of special events in the park we need help with. We’re looking for people willing to share the story of Friends of the Garden at our main booth for partner events.
The Botanical Center & Gardens has regular requests for guided tours throughout the park. Not only for the gardens, but also for The Butterfly House and The Botanical Center. Regional and state organizations make field trips to tour the gardens, school groups visit The Butterfly House, garden clubs enjoy strolling through the gardens as they learn about the plants in the beds. You can help bring the gardens to life for others by leading tours for a wide range of visitors.
Enjoy being outside and meeting and greeting people? We’d like to extend The Botanical Center hospitality beyond the building and into the park. With new visitors every day, there are often questions about particular gardens, organizations who are park partners, or features the park has to offer like events and educational programs.
It’s nice to have a variety of views documented. Post a videos of the gardens on YouTube. Capture special events like the corpse plant. Document the life cycle of a butterfly in the Butterfly House. Capture the stories within the park and share.
If you’ve been reading the above options for volunteers, you can see the need for people to help schedule people for special events inside the park and out, for garden work parties, for day to day tasks, etc. If you like to work with people and are good with scheduling, we can certainly use the help.
Do you enjoy writing features about plants, people or special events? Are you good at research? Do you have experience with copywriting or editing? Or maybe you’re a gardener who likes to hang out on Facebook. Friends of the Garden has multiple avenues for writers to share their talents. These include our website at friendsofthegarden.org, our quarterly FOG newsletter, the FOG Blog, Facebook, informational brochures and more.
The Botanical Center has a mission of education and spaces to teach. From Young Sprouts in the Garden, to the Butterfly Festival, and Monarch Tagging Day to Santa and Friends, there are many opportunities to lead activities which introduce children to the wonders of nature. Whether it be a hosting a craft activity or an investigative look at the life cycle of the butterfly, you can share your knowledge and love of nature with children who are eager to learn.