• SAn Diego

Volunteer Program

New Volunteer Orientation

January 2022 – FULL
Accepting applications for the next Orientation in the Spring

Thank you for your interest in volunteering at San Diego Botanic Garden! Volunteering at SDBG is a great way to learn about plants and culture, meet people with similar interests, hone your horticulture skills, contribute to SDBG's mission and share your knowledge and enthusiasm with visitors. We have an enthusiastic and hard-working group of 250+ active volunteers who participate in a variety of assignments and events.

Volunteer opportunities are available year-round, weekday mornings, weekends and some evenings, in various areas and tasks throughout the Garden.


Click here for position descriptions for all assignments.

  • Ambassadors: Offer helpful information to visitors at various locations including Welcome Ambassadors at Admissions, Conservatory Ambassadors and Garden Ambassadors throughout the Garden.
  • Gardening & Horticulture: Provide vital support to staff by weeding, caring for plants and tending to the many individual gardens
  • Conservation: Contribute to the Garden's conservation mission by working with our curator and conservation horticulture team to restore native plant habitats and grow rare and endangered plants on-site
  • Children’s Education: Assist staff with fun and educational activities for children
  • Administration: Assist staff with administrative support and special projects
  • Gift Shop: Assist visitors with purchases in the Conservatory Gift Shop
  • Docents: Lead public, school and special tours of varying sizes and interests


  • All volunteers must successfully pass a background check. See below for authorization form.
  • All volunteers are required to be Garden members and work at least 60 hours annually.
  • New Volunteers are required to work at least 15 hours (5 shifts) and become a Garden member within the first three months
  • After completing initial requirements, interested volunteers may apply for Docent Training, a series of classes focusing on SDBG plant collections.

What to Expect:

  • Applications are accepted year-round. Please note, we receive a high volume of applications and are not always able to place every applicant with open assignments.
  • Volunteers are accepted based on current Garden priorities and the information you provide in your Volunteer Application, including your areas of interest and skill set. We are looking for volunteers who are interested in making a positive impact at the Garden and for your own personal growth.
  • After submitting your application and authorization for a background check, you will be contacted by email within 1-3 weeks. If your interests align with current needs, you will be invited to attend a New Volunteer Orientation to learn more about available assignments, Garden policies and meet other new and interesting volunteers.


Complete a volunteer application: https://forms.gle/RPrKsP158bC1bZE66

Complete an authorization to conduct a background check. Return to Jill Gardner, Director, HR & Volunteer Programs, at jgardner@sdbgarden.org.

If you have questions or need assistance with your application, contact Caren Clayton, Volunteer Coordinator, at cclayton@sdbgarden.org or call (760) 436-3036 x 206.