Become a Docent

Liam O'Brien leads a butterfly tour for docents Photo by Linda Blide

Liam O’Brien leads a butterfly tour for docents
Photo by Linda Blide

You can help the Regional Parks Botanic Garden in its mission to display, promote, and preserve our state’s rich native plant heritage by becoming a garden docent. As a volunteer educator, you’ll help young students and other garden visitors understand and appreciate California plant life in this exceptional all-native garden in the Berkeley hills.

Training is open to members of the Friends of the Regional Parks Botanic Garden. If you are not already a Friend you can join when you register.

Volunteer Training for people doing propagation, helping the gardeners or collecting seeds takes place on
Tuesdays, January 10 – February 14 and is the same as Part 1 of the docent training. The cost is $50.00. Download a volunteer registration form


Part 1 – Tuesdays 9 am to 12 noon, starts January 10 and ends on February 14. This will be an introduction to the garden given by the director, Bart O’Brien and the garden staff.

Part 2 – 16 weeks continuing on Tuesdays 9 am – 12 noon, February 21 until June 13 (with a week break in the middle). This section will include more in depth information about the garden plants and techniques for leading tours. This section will be led by Glenn Keator and Alan Kaplan.

The cost of the training is $200. (scholarships based on need are available)

You have to be willing to lead at least 3 tours in the 6 months after training or volunteer in another way (i.e. working on a committee) with other docents.

Class is limited to 15 people.

Registration is now open. You can download the registration form

Alan Kaplan – Alan worked as a naturalist with East Bay Regional Parks for 33 years until his retirement in 2005. He still is very active writing articles and leading popular tours for the Audubon Society and other organizations. He has a wide knowledge of the natural world including birds, insects and native plants. All this knowledge, he dispenses with a great sense of humor.

Glenn Keator – Glenn is a free-lance botanist, teacher, and writer that has been very involved with the Regional Parks Botanic Garden for many years. He has taught at Merritt College, Strybing Arboretum, College of Marin and California Academy of Science. His primary interest is California natives, their identification and garden uses. Glenn’s books include Plants of the East Bay Parks, In Full View: Three Ways of Seeing California Plants, The Life of an Oak: an Intimate Portrait, Trees of the San Francisco Bay Region, and California Plant Families.

Bart O’Brien -Bart is the garden’s director and has vast experience in the garden’s core missions: native plant horticulture, conservation, and education. He holds an undergraduate degree in environmental planning and management from UC Davis, and a master’s degree in landscape architecture from Harvard University. He worked many years at Rancho Santa Anna and has been very involved with CNPS in many capacities. He has also written extensively on California and Baja native plants

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