by Connie Oswald Stofko
If you like to talk to people and have an interest in gardening and plants, consider becoming a docent at the Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens.
And if you’re available on weekends, “that’s a big plus, said Kristy Schmitt, director of education. “We really need docents on weekends.”
To cater to those who are available on weekends, this round of docent training will be held on Saturdays. Sessions will be held from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. for six Saturdays beginning Aug. 5.
Annually 13,000 adults and children attend educational programs, Schmitt said, but there are only three people on the educational staff. That’s why they rely heavily on volunteer docents.
The educational program is increasing overall, on weekdays as well as on weekends. The Botanical Gardens recently received a $30,000 grant over three years to provide educational programming at the Botanical Gardens for 700 Buffalo Public School and Charter School students. The grant is from the First Niagara Foundation in partnership with KeyBank.
“It’s really exciting,” Schmitt said.
As a docent, you can choose to work with children or adults. You could lead a tour group for Master Gardeners, gardening enthusiasts or other adults. You might like to answer visitor questions during special exhibits. Perhaps you’d rather do a hands-on program, where a craft or other activity is set up and you supervise children working with their parents.
Not only is becoming a docent a way to help out, it can be a lot of fun. Some people make great friends during the docent training and sign up to lead tours together and go out to lunch afterward.
“You can meet people with the same interests,” Schmitt said. “It’s a good social opportunity.”
For more information, contact Schmitt at firstname.lastname@example.org or 827-1584, ext. 291.