Picture Yourself Here…as a Volunteer

Rose Garden volunteers Alex Matthisen and Nurit Burrow, two of the many “deadheaders” who help keep the rose bushes tidy, display the tools of their trade.

If you’ve ever longed to spend more time at The Huntington—and, let’s be honest, who hasn’t?—maybe it’s time to consider becoming a volunteer. It’s the perfect way to explore the collections in greater depth than the casual visitor ever can, and to enjoy an enviable degree of access to the botanical gardens through all the changing seasons. No experience is necessary for most positions, and training is provided.

“It’s a wonderful way to expand your knowledge,” says Mikki Heydorff, volunteer programs manager. And many volunteers would agree, citing educational enrichment—often in the form of training classes led by curators and other experts—as one of the main benefits of participation. Meeting new people and sharing a love of The Huntington with others also ranks high.

But the volunteers aren’t the only ones who benefit from the relationship; they are a vital resource for The Huntington, outnumbering the paid staff by a ratio of 3:1. More than 1,000 men, women, and teens currently serve as active volunteers, contributing their time and talents in diverse roles throughout the institution.

This fall, volunteers are being recruited in two essential areas:

Gardener assistants are needed to work with our botanical staff to help maintain and beautify the Rose, Shakespeare, and Children’s gardens. Typical hands-on tasks include weeding, planting, watering, pruning, and cultivating plant material. Staffing days and times vary depending on assignment. Volunteers are asked to commit to a minimum of six months of service, working at least eight hours per month.

School program facilitators will help guide the process of discovery for students in the “Seeds, Soil, and Surprises” (grades K–2), “Poetry in the Chinese Garden” (grades 4–12), and “Beautiful Science” (grades 7–12) programs. Applicants should enjoy working with children and must be available for weekday morning placements. Facilitators are expected to commit to guiding at least four groups per month for two seasons (October through May).

Matthisen hard at work.

The “ideal candidate” for the volunteer program, says Heydorff, is “anyone from 14 to 80 plus who loves The Huntington.”

If that sounds like you,fill out an application form today and join the Huntington family!

Opportunities are regularly available for positions not listed above, so feel free to contact the Volunteer office for additional information.

Related content on Verso:
A Sneak Peak at the Japanese Garden (March 13, 2012)
“Eye Candy” for Plant Lovers (April 24, 2012)
Nature’s Helping Hands (Jan. 19, 2011)
“Value Added” (Oct. 12, 2010)

Lisa Blackburn is communications coordinator at The Huntington.

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