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Volunteers in Education

Volunteers in the education sector of a botanic garden can be an invaluable resource, able to involve and enthuse visitors and school groups alike, enriching the overall visitor experience and learning outcomes. However, there is a series of costs involved with setting up a volunteer programme, and stringent maintenance and evaluation is required to ensure the volunteers are happy, well-trained and achieving results. Some of the uses and examples of volunteer programmes are given in the articles below.

Guide to Using Volunteers

It seems that environmental education is generally under-funded in many countries and therefore understaffed. Yet there is gathering momentum to the development of EE and EE provision. So the workload of education officers is increasing exponentially and audiences cannot be reached without the help of a team of volunteers. Using volunteers has its pros and cons, but if managed successfully the rewards can be tremendous. The advantages and disadvantages are summarised here – it is important to bear both parties in mind as the programme will only work if it is mutually beneficial. Many of the disadvantages can be overcome by having a few simple strategies in place

Volunteers in Education and Interpretation - The American Experience

In America, volunteers are found working beside paid staff in a very wide variety of positions in botanic gardens and other public institutions. Education volunteers, called docents, give guided tours, visit schools and help to interpret themes or exhibits through static displays, often using artefacts or "biofacts" as visual aids. The recruitment, training and management of large teams of volunteers is handled in a professional way which takes into consideration aspects such as job satisfaction, personal recognition and health and safety issues.

Green Guides

As Sydney prepares for the Olympic Games in the year 2000 the Royal Botanic Gardens Sydney is preparing to accommodate the expected increase in tourist numbers. 36 Green Guides are being trained to provide directions, general orientation and on-site interpretation. They join a long standing group of Volunteer Guides who are horticulturally and scientifically trained and take the general public and specialist groups on tours of the Gardens. Green Guides, like Volunteer Guides, are part of the Community Education Unit.


Jobs & Opportunities Noticeboard

Browse our Opportunities page for listings of jobs, volunteering positions, grants, and courses in plant conservation and botanic gardens. You can also make offers to work including offering your time to help with conservation projects.


Guide to Using Volunteers

It seems that environmental education is generally under-funded in many countries and therefore understaffed. New audiences often cannot be reached without the help of volunteers but this only works if the volunteer programme is mutually beneficial. A few simple strategies will ensure success.


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Find Out More

Botanical Guardians at the Georgia Plant Conservation Alliance
GPCA is creating a network of volunteers from throughout the state of Georgia to help locate lost rare plant populations, monitor known locations of endangered habitats, and serve as stewards for the 21 rare habitats under powerline right-of-ways.

Volunteering to Help the Environment
This book defines environmental service-learning, gives examples of different types, and explains how to get started and what the benefits are.