• Image 1

Volunteer Program

Thank you for your interest in volunteering at San Diego Botanic Garden! Volunteering at SDBG is a great way to learn about plants, 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 and some evenings during events, in various areas and tasks throughout the Garden. 

Volunteers are expected to contribute a minimum of 15 hours (5 shifts) in their first three months and at least 60 hours per year.


New Volunteer Orientation

May 24 Orientation -- CLOSED

Next Orientation: Fall 2022

Steps to apply 

1) Click the button below to download and complete an authorization form to conduct a background. Return to Jill Gardner, Sr. Director, People & Culture, at jgardner@sdbgarden.org.

2) Click the button below to complete the online volunteer application form.

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.


Position Descriptions

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
  • 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

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