Volunteer Opportunities

Become a Garden Volunteer and Share your passion of Nature!

New Volunteer Orientations: 1st Monday of each month

5:00pm-6:30pm Blaksley Library

Do you know someone who is interested in becoming a Garden volunteer? 

Volunteer orientations are held every month on the first Monday.

  • Learn about the diverse volunteer opportunities and the simple steps required to get started
  • Experienced volunteers are welcome to attend 
  • Bring a friend and get the behind the scenes tour!

Hands-on with plants

Garden Growers
Join a Growers team for any day of the week to assist in the Garden Growers Nursery in all phases of propagation, plant care, and staging plants for sale. Help visitors find answers to their plant questions. An eight-week training program is offered every two years, and on-the-job training is provided in between. Read a history of the Garden Growers here.

Grounds (Dirty Hands Brigade)
The Garden has 78 acres of grounds to be tended, trails to be maintained, and special collection displays to be cared for in a variety of habitats. Our staff gardeners can always use help in meeting the challenge of nature versus nurture. The DHB is a growing group of dedicated volunteers who enjoy working directly on the displays and trails. Any morning of the week you’ll see some hardy folk tackling weeds, pruning bushes or mulching a garden area in support of one of the garden areas.

The Horticulture unit provides opportunities to work with propagation of native plants and with the seed bank, both of which contribute to the Garden’s work in plant conservation and maintaining the Garden’s exhibits. Plants grown here are meant for the Garden grounds, grown for specific exhibit areas, and tracked with a database and tagging system.


Volunteers interested in becoming docents are expected to complete general docent training, California Naturalist Certification program, and continued training modules. Start shadowing tours now, meet some of our docents, and get a peek at what it is to be part of our docent team.

The Garden partners with the University of California Cooperative Extension in conducting an annual California Naturalist Certification. General docent training is held in January and additional school tour modules are held in the summer. Please inquire with the Director of Education for more information. Fingerprinting is required for this position.

Interpretation Volunteers
There are many opportunities to learn and share your knowledge through the Education Department. Interpretive volunteers staff discovery carts, assist in Science Night presentations, and much more. Please contact the Director of Education for more information.

Citizen Science
The Education Department partners with a wide variety of organizations to promote citizen science projects including Live Fuel Moisture, California Phenology Project, and Bumble Bee Watch. 

Teen Opportunities
The X-Stream Science Team is a small group of teen volunteers who collect aquatic insects with freshwater ecologists, Dr. Scott Cooper and Sheila Wiseman. Our Jr. Docent program offers opportunities to work with kids in summer programs and weekend exhibits. Please contact the Director of Education for more information. 


A local treasure, the Blaksley Library can use volunteer assistance with processing archive collections (including our new digital archive collection). Library Assistants work directly with the Library collections. If you are interested in preserving historic documents, photographs, art, digital media, etc., or if you would like to participate in oral history documentation, the Blaksley Library needs you.

Digital Image Library
Volunteers are invited to participate in our exciting project to digitize and database the Garden’s extensive photograph and slide collection, the SBBGPhotos Digital Image Library, available to the public at www.SBBGPhotos.org 

Photographer Volunteers
Photographers are invited to contribute directly to our SBBGPhotos Digital Image Library and support the Garden Communications Department with their photographic knowledge and skills. Garden Photographers are provided access to the Garden to capture the beauty of the Garden on a daily, seasonal and annual basis. Volunteer Photographers may be asked to cover special events and/or shoot special request images for Garden staff. Photographers interested in helping the Garden to share images on social networks such as Flikr and Facebook are also encouraged to participate in this program. Download the SBBG Photographer Volunteer Information Packet

Contributing directly to our research and conservation programs, volunteers perform data base work, mount herbarium specimens, develop the conservation collection, and do occasional data analysis - all part of the conservation goals of the Garden.


Many departments can use assistance with phone calls, filing, computer projects, mailings, and other special activities that require attention to detail and organization.

Garden Guild
The Garden Guild meets Tuesdays in a fascinating workshop setting to develop and produce craft items from natural plant materials for retail sale in the Garden Shop. They create a large inventory for occasional event sales. From year-round collecting, preserving, and storing of various plant materials for use in their amazing creations, to the artistic mentoring provided, this volunteer effort is a true guild experience.

Garden Shop
Assist in the Garden Shop - a gem of a retail setting - stocking shelves, wrapping purchases, helping with the register, and answering visitor questions about the Garden as well as shop items. Promote the Garden’s mission through related gift items and sustainable materials. A great people-person opportunity as you interact with visitors from around the world!

Learn and assist with the various Japanese tea ceremony classes and events held in our unique California native tea garden, using traditional Japanese design and brought to life entirely with California native plants. Teahouse volunteers also learn the proper cleaning and care of the structure, and enjoy the beauty of the ceremony and the garden surrounding the ShinKanAn Teahouse at SBBG.


A wide variety of events throughout the year require extra hands. Events for children and families, donor events, and educational events bring the community to the Garden where they are introduced to its beauty. From Community Free Days to Members’ Events, there are many projects to plan and implement all year.


The Santa Barbara Botanic Garden fosters the conservation of California's native plants through
our gardens, research and education, and serves as a role model of sustainable practices.

Santa Barbara Botanic Garden, Inc. is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization.
Our Tax ID number is 95-1644628.