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Friends of the Regional Parks Botanic Garden
Native Plant Sale

Every Thursday







The garden is located at the intersection of Wildcat Canyon Road and South Park Drive in Tilden Regional Park near Berkeley, CA


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December 2015
Why We Volunteer

John Rusk


Each of the dozens of people who volunteer their time and talents for the benefit of the Regional Parks Botanic Garden has unique and deeply felt reasons for volunteering. Collectively, they form a family that loves and supports the garden. Here are some of the reasons they do it.


For years I'd enjoyed walking through the garden, appreciating its layout and the botanic representation of California in a nearby garden. Now that I have become a docent, I have been amazed at the depth of instruction the docent class provided. And I have appreciated that even though I don’t have a botanic background, this information was very accessible. It is a pleasure to meet members of the public who are interested in tours of the garden. You never know what type of tour you may be leading, but this garden has something of interest for all. –L.M.

John Rusk

 John Rusk


Volunteering at the garden fulfills my wishes for enrichment: I love being out of doors in natural settings, I like being with and meeting new people, and I was excited to learn about the natural world and the relationships that make our world hold together. –S.W.

Volunteering in the garden means a lot to me personally. The connection with passionate garden staff is inspirational. I have learned so much and hope I can pass some of that along to visitors, young and old.
—Ellen S.

© Steve Edwards


If you love the Garden, you will love sharing it with others. The opportunities for lifelong learning are very rewarding. –Diane Scarritt

It has been a huge privilege to be a docent at the botanic garden. First of all, the warmth and kindness of the entire community which includes other volunteers, staff and visitors has been wonderful to experience.  Then there are the opportunities to be constantly learning new things about just about everything. Getting to be outdoors regularly in one of the most peaceful and beautiful spots in the park is a definite plus. Interacting with students who come to visit is entertaining and rewarding. –Marilyn Siegel

 John Rusk


 Brent Miller


Every time I lead a tour in the garden, I feel a little bit more at home there. When I pass by a favorite plant, like the carnivorous pitcher plant or when I spot the tell-tale hairs of the soap root plant sticking out of the ground, it's almost like running into an old acquaintance on College Ave. Sharing the beauty and wonder of the garden with school-aged kids allows me to see the plants with fresh eyes.  –Barbara Steuart

I love sharing this special garden with children.  Their enthusiasm and excitement always makes my day when I volunteer. –Sherry Keith

 John Rusk


 Paul Sullivan


Leading a group of two and three year olds, we came across the main bridge at the perfect moment to see a huge orb weaver spider web, backlit by the sun. The kids were spellbound. Fifteen minutes later, as we crossed the bridge to the canyon section, I felt a little tug on my shirt. When I bent down, the youngest and quietest little girl pointed to a spot about two feet off the ground and whispered, "Spider web." –Elly

Retired garden director Steve Edwards said it best: “A botanic garden consists of the land, the plants, the wildlife, and the crew and volunteers who love and work there. We have the best volunteers, and they will continue to help us keep the garden whole.”

© Teresa LeYung-Ryan

© Ingrid Madsen


If you would like to join the garden’s family of volunteers, we’re offering Garden Volunteer and Docent Training starting in January.

The first 10 weeks, on either Tuesday or Thursday mornings, is designed for anyone who wants to volunteer in the garden in any capacity: propagating plants for the garden’s sales, assisting the gardeners, collecting seeds, helping the Friends, or leading tours as a docent. Garden Volunteer Training meets once a week for three hours between mid-January and late March. You’ll learn about basic botany, plant identification, and pollination as well as the garden’s history and many of its important plants. To learn more about Garden Volunteer Training or to register, see the 2016 Garden Volunteer Training flyer on the Friends of the Regional Parks Botanic Garden website.

 John Rusk



The second 10 weeks, on Tuesday mornings between April 5 and June 7, is for prospective docents who have completed the first 10 weeks of Garden Volunteer Training and want to lead tours of the garden. You’ll learn about techniques for interpreting the garden for visitors of all ages and specifics of themed tours we offer at the garden.  To learn more about Docent Training or to register, see the 2016 Docent Training flyer on the Friends of the Regional Parks Botanic Garden website.

We hope you’ll become part of the garden’s family!

Upcoming Classes
A click here will take you to a full description of the classes as well as the class registration form.
January 17


Mushrooms! A First Dive into the Fungal Kingdom Space Available
January 31 thru mid-July Taxonomy Master Class in California Plant Families, Part 1 Space Available
January 24, February 6 & 20, March 5 Conifers of the World Space Available
April 23, May 7 & 21 & June 4 Conifers of California Space Available
February 7 Seed Propagation of California Natives Space Available
March 6 Year of the Lichen Space Available
March 19 Listening to the Birds Space Available
March 31, April 7 & April 14 Designing a Native Garden Space Available
March 26, April 9
& 30, May 14
Wildflower Hotspots



Space Available
March 28- April 2 Desert Wildflowers of Anza Borrego State Park Class Full
April 3

Plant Portraits and Garden Images – Photo Workshop

Space Available
April 17 Bee-friendly Habitat Gardening in California Space Available