Tour guide volunteers sought for Smith plant house
NORTHAMPTON — The Smith College Botanic Garden is offering an intensive three-day training program this week to community members interested in volunteering as tour guides, exhibition assistants and reception desk staff.
The session will take place Wednesday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.. The training will cover the history of the Botanic Garden, basic botany and horticulture, information about types of plants in the Lyman Plant House and how to lead tours.
After completing the course, volunteers must attend monthly meetings and training tours and volunteer at the Botanic Garden for at least one year.
During that time, volunteers will lead tours for visitors and school groups, staff the reception desk, assist with exhibitions and provide hospitality for special events. They will not be involved in any hands-on horticultural work.
“We hope that the volunteers will work at least a couple of shifts per month, and the length of the shifts varies. Some volunteers will do tours, which last about an hour. Others will work reception. Those shifts are about three to four hours,” said Madelaine Zadik, the Botanic Garden’s manager of education and outreach.
Zadik said volunteers may also have the opportunity to expand their volunteer work based on their particular skills and interests. Some participate in designing thematic tours or documenting the greenhouse’s contents.
“If someone has particular skills or interests, we like to capitalize on that. Sometimes some have become interested in a particular plant and shared information with other members,” said Zadik.
Each year, the Botanic Garden has thousands of visitors, including more than 1,300 schoolchildren. During their tours, they learn about climates and geography, plant adaptations and the importance of plants to human life.