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Garden Guide Training

Garden Guide Training

Are you fascinated by plants and interested in learning more about them?
Do you enjoy interacting with people of all ages?
Have you ever wondered how this beautiful garden was created in the middle of Brooklyn?

Become a volunteer Garden Guide at Brooklyn Botanic Garden!

The free training program is now accepting applicants.

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, special topics, or specific areas of the Garden for adult groups and visitors. Tours take place Tuesday to Sunday.

The garden guide stops to give an explanation to those gathered around her
Katherine Patton, longtime Garden Guide, leads a fall foliage tour. Photo by Romi Ige

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 of education, horticultural display, scientific research, community outreach, and conservation, and serve as important “ambassadors” of Brooklyn Botanic Garden to the visiting public.

Apply Now

Download Program Flyer (PDF)


Qualifications
  • Commitment to the mission of BBG and its educational initiatives
  • Enthusiastic interest in the environment and knowledge 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
Training

The program includes biweekly training sessions (Saturdays, 10:15 a.m.–3:30 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.

Topics of Weekly Sessions:

  • 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 and abilities
  • Introduction and access to the Library
  • Practice tours and presentations

Work Outside of Class:

  • Weekly quizzes and assignments; final examination
  • Observations of practice 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 and BBG staff
  • Satisfactory completion of a final tour observed by BBG staff

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.

Training Dates

Orientation

Thursday, September 19 or Saturday, September 21
10:15 a.m.–3:30 p.m

Training

11 Saturdays | 10:15 a.m.–3:30 p.m.
October 5, 19
November 2,16
December 7*
January 11, 25
February 8, 29
March 7, 21**
*Optional: Swap for Thursday, December 12
**Optional: Swap for Thursday, March 19

2 Wednesdays | 6–8:30 p.m.
October 23, November 6

One-hour final tour to be scheduled between March 10 and April 3

Graduation

Saturday, April 4 | 11 a.m.–1 p.m.

Please note: Dates subject to change.

Responsibilities
  • Commit to two years of volunteer service as a 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 Garden Guides
  • Provide timely notification of any change in your schedule and availability
  • Attend monthly continuing education refresher workshops
  • Attend plant walks and occasional special trainings about new gardens or programs
  • Log hours on digital volunteer system
Benefits
  • Free admission to Brooklyn Botanic Garden
  • Monthly refresher workshops and plant walks covering current events, interesting topics, and Garden updates
  • Invitation to the annual Volunteer Recognition Dinner
  • 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

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 a rich experience to thousands of visitors and share the Garden’s beauty, our knowledge, and our fondness for this special place—Brooklyn Botanic Garden. Please join us!

Apply Now

Interested?

Contact Jeanine Poggioli, manager of Volunteers, at 718-623-7218 or [email protected].

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