Who Are Docents?
Docents are trained volunteers whose major responsibility is to help people on the Arboretum grounds and in the community better understand and appreciate the natural environment. Docents are adults of all ages, walks of life and educational backgrounds. Docents provide tours of the Arboretum’s collections, lead hikes through the natural areas to visiting groups ranging from preschoolers to adults, and help Taltree staff maintain areas around the arboretum. They also help staff with offsite outreach programs, events such as concerts, and program preparation.
What Does a Docent Do?
- Interprets plants, wildlife, ecosystems and conservation to visitors on Arboretum grounds
- Leads educational tours and hikes
- Helps design programs and classes
- Participates in continuing education courses taught by Education Department staff and community educators
What benefits do I receive as a Docent?
- Satisfaction — you help others understand the natural world
- Friendship — you meet and work with others who share your interests
- Knowledge — you learn new skills and receive extensive training in conservation
- Complimentary Master Naturalist Certification Course with agreement to volunteer 100 hours of service
- Complimentary admission to a Taltree class with agreement to help the class leader prepare and lead the class
- Free individual membership to the Arboretum
- Invitation to the annual volunteer appreciation event
- Volunteer uniform including specialized pins for completed trainings
What are the Requirements for Being a Docent?
Participation in the Docent Program requires a substantial commitment of time and energy on the part of volunteers, but it is tremendously rewarding. New Docents are required to attend a Volunteer Orientation session and go through a background check procedure. Basic Docent training consists of 10 training sessions covering topics such as How to be a Docent and Naturalist, Winter Ecology, Garden Tours and Safety training. Training dates/times are flexible and are held on weekdays in February through April on the Taltree grounds. Additional classes and training are available throughout the year and may be required. New Docent training requires approximately 60 hours. Docents are then expected to dedicate 50 hours of service per year beyond training. Returning Docents are required to take continuing education courses at the Taltree site.
How do I become a Docent?
- Fill out a Docent Application below
- Once we receive your application, you will be contacted by the Education Department to set up an interview
- Go through a background check process
- Attend all required trainings
- Attend Docent Graduation! You are now a Docent!