Docent training available at SD Botanic Garden


Registration for the Fall 2014 Docent Training Program at San Diego Botanic Garden is under way and will continue up to the first day of class on Thursday, Sept. 11. Eight classes covering a wide variety of topics will be held from 9:30 a.m.-1 p.m. every other Thursday, Sept. 11 through Dec. 18.

All docent classes will take place in the San Diego Botanic Garden at 230 Quail Gardens Drive in Encinitas.

What separates the Botanic Garden’s docent training from others of its type is the enormous diversity. Covering 37 acres and encompassing more than 3,300 varieties of plants, the garden’s topography creates a variety of microclimates from a desert environment to a tropical rainforest.

“With the breadth and depth of plant and animal life here, the docents are the first ones to get inspired. Their enthusiasm is contagious — it spreads to everyone they meet,” explains Docent Training Coordinator Linda Stewart, herself a docent and San Diego Master Gardener. “That helps us support the goals of the Garden, to inspire people of all ages to connect with plants and nature,” she adds.

No homework or testing is involved in the diverse courses which are conducted in the field on topics including Botany and Herbs, Succulents, Palms and Cycads, California Natives and Firescape Plantings, Bamboo and Subtropical Fruits, the Mediterranean Climate, and Trees in the Garden. Classes are taught by experts in each field, many of whom are professionals and horticulturists.

While most docents lead tour groups after completing their training, they are not required to do so. Many cite the intrinsic value of their knowledge as one of the key gains from the classes and share that knowledge with visitors they meet while involved in garden beautification and organizing events.

In addition, “Docents bond with others of like interest in their training classes,” Stewart explains. “Those friendships are pretty special and are part of what creates the feeling of a family here at the Botanic Garden.”

Registration for Docent in Training classes is $50. To be eligible for the Fall 2014 courses, individuals only need to complete 10 hours of volunteer training at the Garden and contact Michelle Kinney at 760-436-3036, ext. 206, or