UC Davis Arboretum and Public Garden volunteers posing together for a group photo.

Training New Arboretum and Public Garden Volunteers

Once a year, the Arboretum and Public Garden at UC Davis holds a six- or seven-week training program for people interested in joining the Arboretum and Public Garden as weekly volunteers. Stacey Parker, director of Public Horticulture and Engagement, leads the broadly focused program. Upon completing the training in March this year, the 29 new volunteers joined one of the existing weekly Volunteer Teams to help sustain the many groups.

Many of the Arboretum gardens pay tribute to the native plants of this region, which was an important component of this year’s unique seven-week volunteer training. It included a focus on native plants, which helps impart reverence for the plants, habitats, and wildlife such as insects and birds.

Two new volunteer teams were also established this year, which broadened the ability of Arboretum and Public Garden staff to enhance the care of areas within the Arboretum. GATEways Horticulturist Kitty Bolte supervises a new Arboretum GATEway Garden volunteer team, and Waterway Steward Nina Suzuki supervises a new Waterway Improvement volunteer team.

“The Arboretum wouldn’t be what it is without our many knowledgeable volunteers who have gone through our training,” said Stacey Parker. “Not only do they acquire the particular skills, science, and safety training associated with working in a public garden, our dedicated pool of volunteers also provide a strong sense of community within the Arboretum.”

“The volunteer training is my favorite part of my job!” noted Parker. “I love welcoming them and getting them trained and oriented.  One of my favorite parts of the volunteer programs is when I hear passers-by stop to thank our volunteers for maintaining the Arboretum. Having devoted volunteers know they are appreciated is part of what makes the Arboretum and Public Garden so special, and the community knows just the right people to thank!”

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