Thank you for your interest in volunteering your time and talents with the Vancouver Botanical Gardens Association.
A wide range of volunteer opportunities are available with the Vancouver Botanical Gardens Association, both at VanDusen Botanical Garden and Bloedel Conservatory. Each year, 900 volunteers contribute their time and talents in education, visitor experience, governance, administration, fundraising and special events. Volunteers are pivotal to enhancing visitors’ learning and engagement experience and contributing to our mandate to connect people to plants and help them understand their role in Earth’s ecosystems.
The mission of VanDusen Botanical Garden and Bloedel Conservatory is to engage people of all ages and walks of life in the importance of biodiversity to our lives, and to foster a lifelong love of plants and gardens by virtue of their participation in our programs and services. We’re excited that you are interested in volunteering to be a part of this mission.
+-How to Start Volunteering
Your first step to start volunteering is to complete the volunteer application form. Once completed, you may sign up for currently available volunteer opportunities.
If you need a hand, please see:
How to Video Tutorial: Reset Password, Log Hours, Update Contact Details, and Sign Up for Roles and Activities:
- If you already have a myvolunteerpage account, you can login to your account by clicking here and selecting the log into your account link at the top right of the page
Once you have completed your volunteer application and applied to volunteer position(s) we will review your application and resume (if applicable, which can be uploaded while completing your volunteer application form).
Volunteers in regular, ongoing roles are required to be current members of the Vancouver Botanical Gardens Association (VBGA). Those volunteering a few days per year at events are not required to be members. To learn more and purchase a membership, please click here.
Our goal is to find a great fit between volunteer talents, passions, and skills and align them with volunteer opportunities where both the prospective volunteer and the volunteer program can best flourish. Hence, for many roles you can expect to have a phone interview to allow you to learn more about the opportunity and for us to ensure we have a great fit. References and criminal record checks may follow based on the role.
Once assigned to a volunteer position, we ask all volunteers to read and become familiar with our Volunteer Handbook Volunteers will also receive orientation and role specific training. Ongoing support, guidance, and recognition can also be expected.
Please contact Heidi Jakop, Director, Volunteer Engagement at firstname.lastname@example.org or 604.257.8674 for further information.
Thank you again for your support!
+-The Volunteer Experience
“Volunteering has been a passion of mine for most of my adult life and I benefit from the feeling that I am giving back to the community through volunteering. One finds that the responsibilities and diversity of volunteering play a big part in developing a fuller life. At VanDusen Gardens, the opportunity to welcome visitors and members captivating them and making their visit very special is a constant reminder as to what is so unique about the Visitor Services Desk.” – Linda
“It is a wonderful experience for me to volunteer at VanDusen Garden. All the leaders and the teacher are really nice and gentle, and the nature and the kids are amazing. It is great to see kids having contact with nature, learning, and not just play with their electric device. The thing that I enjoyed most is the environment and the friendly atmosphere in VanDusen Garden. I enjoy helping people, and all the time I have been treated as part of the team. Every time I reached VanDusen garden, my mood turns good.” – Esther (Yue Ning)
“I had a fantastic time with the summer camp in the short time I was there! I enjoyed the garden’s atmosphere and exploring it with the campers. The children were very energetic and being able to be with them the whole day was exciting. It was a pleasure to accompany them while they learned and played, and I’m very glad that I was able to contribute. I’d love to volunteer at VanDusen again in the future!” – Judy
“I’d like to thank VanDusen camps for the opportunity to volunteer with them. I not only had a ton of fun with the kids, but I also learned how to deal with different types of challenges and awkward situations throughout the course of 5 short days…
“Working with kids challenged my mind to think creatively and objectively to resolve an identified issue. Most importantly, though, I’d like to thank VanDusen camps for reminding me to tap back into my “inner child”, which believes that nature is the fascination that brings me, my friends and my family the most joy.
Thank you for all your time and efforts, Chantal! And thank you VanDusen! I’ll definitely be back soon with my family for more adventures.” – Kelly
+-Recognizing the Impact of our Volunteers
Volunteers are pivotal to our work connecting people to plants. The impact of Volunteers can be measured through countless interactions with guests, such as a child’s wide-eyed amazement as she explores the Conservatory with a Docent who brings the experience to life. In 2018, Volunteer Docents had 17,952 interactions with visitors, Guides provided 15,754 guests with walking and cart tours, while our Information Desk Volunteers supported 21,441 guests. Over 900 volunteers contributed 45,000 hours during 2018.
More important than numbers alone are the people who have been inspired, educated, and connected to plants through volunteer efforts. Thanks to volunteers, school groups experience engaging educational opportunities; visitors are inspired and informed as they explore the library over extended hours; gardeners locally and across the globe can bring home a piece of VanDusen through planting our seeds; and our annual Plant Sale brings the community together and raises much needed funds. Thank you, together we are able to achieve our mission.
The VBGA has a wide array of volunteer opportunities and these dedicated teams, really bring the Garden to life, here are just a few.
School Program Leaders
This dedicated group of volunteers lead elementary school children on interactive guided programs around the Garden and Conservatory. Read more>>
Visitor Services and Member Services
Visitor Services and Member Services volunteers are two distinct groups that, together, provide seamless service at the Visitor Centre Information/Membership Desk. Read more>>
Docents serve as ambassadors – welcoming visitors to Bloedel and ensuring that those visitors have a friendly, informed, and satisfying experience while there. Read more>>
Volunteer Award Recipients
Presented at the VBGA Volunteer Awards and Recognition Event on June 4, 2019. Read more>>
+-Meet our Volunteers
2019 marks Garden Guides’ 45th anniversary — a distinction VanDusen Garden itself will not achieve until next year. “It was Roy Forster’s idea to have Guides,” notes Guide (and team historian) Susan Mahwood, “The first ones were recruited and trained in 1974, the year before the Garden officially opened its doors. Training consisted of regular education meetings in the Kerrisdale Community Centre, and walks in the Garden, led by Roy.” The tradition continues: now Guides lead walks and cart tours in the Garden, sharing what they know and love with our visitors.
In 2018 alone, 15,754 Garden visitors enjoyed one or more of 4,188 walking tours and 1,051 cart tours offered that year.For Heidi Jakop, Director of Volunteer Engagement, these numbers show how Guides help bring our Mission Statement to life. “Connecting people with plants’ is the core of what we do. We are here to educate and inspire our visitors.”Talk with some Guides, and you realize they inspire others by sharing their own sense of inspiration.“I love this place”, says Ashley Lambert-Maberly. An institutional researcher at UBC, he explains, “I love to learn. One reason I became a Guide in 2017 was the chance to keep learning new things myself. When I give a tour, I want to excite our guests to learn more as well.”
Other Guides share that dedication — and an impressive number can also demonstrate it through sheer years of service.At least 15 have been guiding for 20 to 30 years, Penny Pearsonhas 34 years under her belt, and Joan Baker tops the list, with 42 years as a Sunday Guide(much of it as Sunday team captain). Joan once led the Prime Minister of New Zealand on a private tour, but visitors don’t have to be notable to make a tour worthwhile: “I love the Garden, and I love to share what I know.” Then, noting that Guides must respond to visitors’ varied interests and levels of knowledge, she adds,“It’s a challenge which keeps us learning, and has kept me here for so long.”Each Guide is one individual; Heidi Jakop sees the cumulative impact. “People feel welcome at the Garden, and Guides play a big part in creating that atmosphere and connection. They engage with visitors in a personal way, and the visitor then engages more deeply with nature,and with us.” She thinks about that 2018 visitor-tour total. “There’s no way staff could spend an hour each with 15,000 people!”
-written by Penny Williams, Volunteer Writer
“We’re such good buddies,” says Vivien Clarke, and there you have it — the reason why she and husband Patrick are both VanDusen volunteers and belong to the same Garden Guide team.
Read more about Vivien and Patrick »
“What I like so much about the Garden,” says Cathy Chiba, a School Programs volunteer since 2014, “is that, even though it is a designed environment, it is still a garden! We’re outdoors, dealing with living things.
Read more about Cathy »
Steve Dunbar knows exactly what he loves most about being a Visitor Services volunteer. “The contact with people!”
Read more about Steve »
Winter darkness inspired Vancouver newcomer Lakshmi Reddy to volunteer during the 2017 Festival of Lights — and that experience inspired her to seek a continuing role.
Read more about Lakshmi »
Jeremy now has 25 years under his belt as our one-and-only Bird Walk Volunteer. Read more about Jeremy >>
Our Soil Sales are great fund-raisers — but before anybody can buy the soil, somebody has to pick up a shovel and fill the bags. Since 2017, some Langara College student volunteers have made that their specialty.
Read more about Langara Volunteers >>