Docent Program

Please visit the San Diego Botanic Garden docents and volunteer
Web site
Click here to enter website

Click Here for SDBG Docent Cumulative Index
and Docent Bloom Board
Information and links.

Become a Docent!

Gain in-depth knowledge about the unique collection of plants at this 37-acre botanic wonderland. Meet others who share your interest in the natural world, while learning from experts in a variety of specialties. Experience the satisfaction and personal accomplishment that comes from joining such a stimulating and worthwhile organization, right in the heart of Encinitas.

Docent activities include planning and working on special events, volunteering in garden beautification, and helping the Garden run smoothly. Docents are also encouraged (but not required) to lead garden tours. To each of these activities docents bring valuable leadership made possible through this specialized training.

Classes take place in the morning at San Diego Botanic Garden on the following dates:

  • September 8:  Introduction to the Docent Program and San Diego Botanic Garden Overview
  • September 22:  Botany Bootcamp and Larabee Legacy
  • October 6:  Cycads and Palms
  • October 20:  Mediterranean Climate Gardens
  • November 3:  Bamboo and Subtropical Fruit Gardens
  • November 17:  California Native Plants and Firescape Gardens
  • December 1:  Succulent and Desert Gardens
  • December 15:  Trees of San Diego Botanic Garden and Herb Garden

The classes are scheduled from 9:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. on each of these days allowing for a recess and lunch break.  There is a $50 fee to cover the 8-class series that must be paid in advance; you may stop by the office to sign up and pay or you may call the office at 760/ 436-3036 and speak to Stephanie Wilson (ext 201) or Souheyla Ford (ext. 206). For further information contact Liz Woodward, Docent Training Coordinator, via mail to or telephone 760/ 420-1455.  

Prior to beginning the docent training you should have completed 10 hours of volunteer work at the San Diego Botanic Garden in addition to attending a Volunteer Orientation Meeting plus turned in your Volunteer Forms and Volunteer Background Check.  

Our next series of docent classes will begin in January 2017,
please check back for more information.

About San Diego Botanic Garden
The San Diego Botanic Garden is a beautiful garden oasis nestled on 37-acres in the midst of Encinitas. Visitors enjoy restful vistas, flowering trees, majestic palms, and the nation’s largest bamboo collection. Thanks to our mild Southern California climate, plants from all over the world thrive here. Our diverse topography provides a wide variety of microclimates giving visitors the sensation of strolling through a tropical rainforest to hiking in the high-desert. Four miles of trails wind through 29 uniquely themed gardens including the nationally-acclaimed Hamilton Children’s Garden.

Requirements to become a San Diego Botanic Garden Docent:

  • Become a member of the Garden. This must be continued while you are an active docent
  • Complete all 8 docent classes
  • Attend a volunteer orientation meeting. For information about the next volunteer orientation meeting click here
  • Volunteer 80 hours prior to receiving Docent status
  • Orientation in: Admissions and the Garden Shops
  • Volunteer for one Special Event
  • Volunteer at any Saturday Garden Beautification or Wednesday Special Work Party
  • Ten (10) hours of volunteer time must be completed before starting the first docent class
  • Have a completed background check and volunteer application on file

Docent Meetings — Everyone Welcome

First Wednesday of the Month
9:30 am – 12 pm * Arrive at 11 am for the program
Business meeting 9:30-10:30
Speaker 11-12

July: NO meeting

August 3: Popular speaker Bill Toone creator of ECOLIFE Conservation will talk about his experiences helping to create a national park in a remote village in Madagascar. Bill has promoted conservation work in many remote regions of the world. Locals might remember Bill for his work with endangered California Condors at the San Diego Zoo. 

September 7:  Docent Mo Price recently toured Australia and will contrast the botanical gardens of Australia with SDBG including plant collections, architecture, volunteer activities and challenges.  She will share amusing and interesting facts from the gardens and parks ‘Down Under.”