Garden Guide Training

Become a volunteer Garden Guide at Brooklyn Botanic Garden!

Garden Guides are specially trained volunteers who provide interpretive tours for adults and families. Guides mainly plan and lead 60– to 90–minute tours of seasonal highlights or specific areas of the Garden for adult groups. They also lead 30–minute to 60–minute themed tours for families. Tours take place Tuesday to Sunday.

Since its founding, Brooklyn Botanic Garden has been committed to teaching the importance of plants to visitors of all ages. Garden Guides support BBG’s mission areas of education, horticultural display, scientific research, community outreach, and conservation. They serve as important “ambassadors” of Brooklyn Botanic Garden to the visiting public.

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The program includes ten weekly training sessions (Thursdays, 9:45 a.m.–1:15 p.m.) during the fall and winter months plus activities and study outside of the classroom. Participants are given training in how to share facts about the Garden and interpret the collections; they are also introduced to resources and tools that will allow them to continue learning about the Garden’s collections and the world of plants.

Weekly sessions cover:

  • Facts about and history of BBG
  • Highlights of the collections, the “gardens within the Garden,” conservatory houses, and trees of BBG
  • Basic botany
  • Presentation and interpretive techniques; learning styles; working with groups of all ages
  • Introduction and access to the Library and Science Library
  • Practice tours and presentations

Work outside of class includes:

  • Weekly quizzes and assignments; final examination
  • Observations of tours led by staff and current Garden Guides
  • Optional monthly morning “refresher” classes that offer in-depth exploration of collections, Garden updates, and an opportunity to meet other Garden Guides
  • Satisfactory completion of a final tour observed by education staff or BBG

There is no fee for the Garden Guide training—BBG pays for your training materials and classroom resources. Your punctuality and attendance are very important, as well as your commitment to the Garden Guide program.


Contact Lou Cesario, director of Visitor Services and Volunteers, at 718–623–7261 or [email protected].


  • Commitment to the mission of BBG and the Education Department
  • Interest in the environment and enthusiasm about the importance of plants
  • Desire to continuously gain new knowledge and share it with others
  • Good communication skills; ability to interact with people of all ages and backgrounds in a friendly and courteous manner
  • Reliability, punctuality, and flexibility with schedules and last-minute changes
  • Willingness to spend time outdoors in the Garden


  • Commit to two years of volunteer service as a Weekday Garden Guide
  • Lead at least 12 tours each year
  • Prepare and research current seasonal highlights for scheduled tours
  • Arrive 30 minutes early to check in with BBG staff and meet with other Guides
  • Provide timely notification of any change in your schedule and availability
  • Attend monthly continuing education “refresher” workshops and occasional special training about new gardens or programs


The Garden Guide program is a partnership reflecting a joint investment of your time, commitment, and enthusiasm and BBG’s rich resources and experienced staff. It provides a wonderful opportunity for self-growth and for nurturing others. Together we can provide an experience of beauty and knowledge to thousands of visitors and share our fondness for this special place— Brooklyn Botanic Garden. Please join us!

  • Free admission to Brooklyn Botanic Garden
  • Monthly “refresher” workshops covering current and interesting topics and Garden updates
  • Invitation to the annual Volunteer Recognition Dinner
  • Yearly field trip
  • Reduced fee classes after 50 hours of service (space permitting; materials fees not waived)
  • Access to the staff and resources of one of the most prestigious botanic gardens in North America

Application Form

Please answer the following questions and click the submit button at the end when you are done.

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A Garden Guide takes BBG visitors on a tour of the Japanese Hill-and-Pond garden.
Uli Lorimer, curator of BBG's Native Flora Garden, leads a tour for BBG's Garden Guides. Photo by Blanca Begert.
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