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Docent Program

San Diego Botanic Garden


Become a Docent at
San Diego Botanic Garden

Classes begin Thursday, January 10, 2019
9:30 am – 1 pm

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:


January 10
Larabee House
San Diego Botanic Garden & Docent Training Overview
Liz Woodward, Docent Training Coordinator, Docent 2003

Docent Website & Hours Recording
Nick Ruddick, Docent Website Coordinator, Docent 2009

January 24
Larabee House
Larabee Legacy
Sally Sandler, History Committee, Docent 2007
Author of “Sowing the Seeds of Wonder”
Botany Bootcamp - Bill Searles, Docent 2013

February 7
Larabee House
Succulents and the Desert Gardens
Anne Spindel, Docent 2003

February 21
Ecke Building
Mediterranean Climates and Gardens
Allan Dodds, Docent 2009 and Mo Price, Docent 2001
SDBG Tour Guides – Mike Blanco, Docent 2014

March 7
Larabee House
Bamboo Garden - Barry Martin, Docent 2011
Subtropical Fruit Garden - Tandy Pfost, Docent 2012

March 21
Ecke Building
California Native Plants - Kay Worley, Docent 2000
Native Plants/Native People & Fires Safety Garden - Mary Friestedt, Docent 2001

April 4
Larabee House
Trees of the San Diego Botanic Garden

Dave Ehrlinger, Former SDBG Director of Horticulture (2001-2014)
Herb Garden - Mary Friestedt, Docent 2001

April 18
Larabee House
Cycads and Palms
Robert Kopfstein, Docent 2001 and Jason Kubrock, Honorary Docent

May 2
Larabee House
The Conservatory and Significant Plants in HCG
Tony Gurnoe, Director of Horticulture
Children’s Programs and Gardens
Susanne Brueckner, SDBG Director of Education
Display Gardens
Pot Luck Lunch

Cost: $60 fee for 8 classes.
Pre-requisites prior to enrollment required.

The classes are scheduled from 9:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. on each of these days. There is a $60 fee to cover the 9-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 Jill Gardner x221.

For further information contact Liz Woodward, Docent Training Coordinator, via mail to liz@woodwardweb.net 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.

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 9 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
  • Volunteer for one Special Event
  • 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

January 9: Come join us as we thank SDBG’s President Emeritus Julian Duval for his 24 years of service to the Garden.

February 6: Robert Kopfstein, a past trustee of SDBG and a volunteer for many years, will share “What Every Docent and Volunteer Needs to Know about Bromeliads.” Robert has been a bromeliad grower for over 40 years and is a member and judge for the Bromeliad Society International as well as an officer in the San Diego Bromeliad Society.

March 6: President & CEO Ari Novy, PhD will share his vision for the Garden. Ari, who has been the President & CEO since October, came to the Garden from his tenure as the Executive Director of the U.S. Botanic Garden in Washington D.C. – bringing with him a national perspective about botanic gardens.

For additional information or questions pertaining to volunteering, please contact Jill Gardner, Volunteer Services & HR Manager. She can be reached at 760/ 436-3036 x221 or jgardner@sdbgarden.org.