by Erin Wright, Children’s Garden Educator & Horticulturist, Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden
You probably know that Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden has hundreds of volunteers, who work thousands of hours each year, all over the Garden. The Garden simply would not be what it is without the dedication and time our volunteers put in. But did you know the Garden also has a specialized volunteer & learning program just for 13- to 18-year-old volunteers? What better way to engage teenagers than by embracing their energy and light a spark of discovery that might just lead to a lifelong passion for nature?
Two programs fall under the umbrella of Youth Volunteer Opportunities, one is for a short-term commitment and the other is for youth who really want to sink their hands into the dirt and while learning about nature and gardening and are willing to make a longer-term commitment.
For students who want a short-term or one-time volunteer shift, the Garden has Community Service Opportunities during summer break (June -August). Usually, we’ll work in the Community Kitchen Garden, where we raise vegetables for Feedmore‘s, Community Kitchen benefiting Meals on Wheels of Central Virginia and the Central Virginia Food Bank and herbs for the Garden Café.
Our long-term program is the Service Learning Program, where students work their way to different levels of responsibility. Entry-level students work on weekends helping with family programs, April – October. After the first year, the students are able to narrow their focus to match their interests. Some students may want more experience working with children and families, and some may find that they want to learn more about plants. All Service Learning students leave with an appreciation for the works of nature, and are a valued part of the Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden community.
The application for the Service Learning Program is due by January 31, 2012. Visit our Youth Volunteer Opportunities section of our website to learn how to apply.
Questions? Email Erin Wright at EWright [at] lewisginter.org or call 804.262.9887 ext. 346.