Volunteer at Kansas City’s Botanical Garden
Volunteers are an integral part of Powell Gardens and there are volunteer opportunities available to suit many interests and schedules. All volunteers receive the special perks membership provides which includes free admission, free festival admission, free parking, discounts on programs, classes and special dinners. Volunteers also receive special discounts on purchases in the Perennial Gift Shop and a subscription to the Garden View member publication. Volunteer recognition, volunteer education opportunities and social events are schedule periodically expressly for volunteers throughout the year.
We seek and accept applications for our volunteer program year round and schedule interviews with prospective volunteers to best match needs of the garden and expertise of volunteers. If you are interested in volunteering with us, and are 16 years of age or older, please review the volunteer positions described below and complete the online general application.
Volunteer Exchange Program
Apply now to learn about gardening or sharpen your skills while volunteering alongside a Powell Gardens’ horticulturist. At our Heartland Harvest Garden, our participants will learn about gardening from seed to harvest at their choice of a spring, summer, and/or fall session. Volunteers working in our Aquatics program will have a choice of a four week spring and/or summer session to learn about gardening with and caring for aquatic plants.
Once selected for a program, our volunteer coordinator will follow up with details on where to meet and what to bring.
Click through the opportunities below to learn more and apply.
This four week hands-on program is for anyone interested in working with and learning about aquatic plants. Any skill level is welcome! You will gain experience in dividing, potting, pruning, fertilizing and basic biology of aquatic plants. Volunteers will help create the 2020 aquatics display of the Marlese Lowe Gourley Island Garden and Fountain Garden.
In Spring (March 31-April 21), you will wake up our hardy aquatics from their winter dormancy. In Summer (June 2 – June 23), you will prepare our showy tropicals for display and learn about related topics. Each session is limited to 3 volunteers. Participants should be able to lift water pots around 10-15 lbs and bring: pruners, water resistant gloves, work clothes/boots. Waders are provided.
Spring Session: March 31-April 21, 2020 | 8 a.m. – 12 p.m.
March 31: Lotus
April 7: Water Lilies
April 14: Water Iris
April 21: Emergent Plants
Summer Session: June 2-June 23 | 8 a.m. – 12 p.m.
June 2: Water pots / bog gardens
June 9: Tropical water lilies
June 16: Tropical marginals, fish care/habitats
June 23: Grooming water lilies, algae prevention, water garden critters
This six-week program is designed for individuals who can commit to working on various projects during the growing season in exchange for learning specific techniques and technical aspects of horticulture. A hands-on program, volunteer participants will have exposure to crop selection, garden design, planting practices, weekly maintenance, and harvesting seasonal crops in the Menu, Villandry, cut flower, mushroom, herb, and All-American Selections gardens located in the 12-acre Heartland Harvest Garden.
As a benefit to volunteering for a six-week session, participants will have the opportunity to take home produce fresh from the gardens.
Applicants are welcome to apply to participate in one or more six-week session. Approved applicants will be notified prior to the start date and given instructions on what to bring. Recommended items include work clothes, boots or closed toe shoes, gardening gloves, sunscreen, and a bottle of water. Gardening tools will be provided. Limit 12 people per session.
Heartland Harvest Volunteer Exchange Program Schedule:
Spring Session: Wednesdays, March 25 – April 29 | 8 a.m. – 12 p.m.
March 25: GH Production (tomato seeding, pepper transplanting)
April 1: Food Safety (lettuce harvest)
April 8: Garden Biology
April 15: Season Extension (Outdoor tomato under cover)
April 22: Crop Selection (Tomato varieties labeled, beans)
April 29: Wellness and Recipe Sharing (salads)
Summer Session: Wednesdays, June 3 – July 8 | 8 a.m. – 12 p.m.
June 3: Crop Selection (direct seeding carrots)
June 10: Food Safety (fresh fruits of HHG)
June 17: Garden Design (cut flowers)
June 24: GH Production (hyssop cuttings)
July 1: Garden Biology (fruit thinning)
July 8: Wellness and Recipe Sharing (pickles)
Fall Session: Wednesdays, August 26 – September 30 | 8 a.m. – 12 p.m.
August 26: Crop Selection (fall and winter production)
September 2: Food Safety
September 9: Garden Biology (end of season recap and planting)
September 16: Native Plants and Benefits
September 23: Good Bugs, Bad Bugs
September 30: Wellness and Recipe Sharing (roasted vegetables)
Docents are a committed group of tour guides and school program instructors who facilitate learning, engage diverse audiences, and help school and adult tour groups discover the cultivated and natural landscapes in the Gardens.
Docents are primarily needed from March through November for tours and programs lasting 90 minutes and are expected to volunteer for 15 tours and/or school programs each year. A curricular framework is provided for docents leading school programs. Garden-related tour themes and outlines are provided to assist docents in planning and crafting drop-in tours. Docents are not expected nor required to be experts in gardening, horticulture, plant care, or botany but must possess these qualities: passion for learning, an appreciation for Powell Gardens, and an enthusiasm for helping others discover new aspects of the garden no matter the age, interest, or ability.
In 2020, two docent training sessions are offered.
-Training Option 1: This six-week course will meet Thursday afternoons at Powell Gardens (12:30 p.m. -4:30 p.m.) from Thursday, February 6, 2020 through March 12, 2020.
-Training Option 2: This three-week course will meet Tuesdays at Powell Gardens (9:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.) from Tuesday, June 23, 2020 through July 7, 2020.
For more information regarding the requirements and expectations of a docent volunteer, please read the attached sheet here.
Complete the online docent application today! (See form below.)
Additional Volunteer Opportunities
Assist with special events, festivals, programs, classes and workshops by choosing your preferred job and shift. This position interacts with the public in a variety of ways. Jobs may include anything from class registrant check-in to manning craft activity tables, decorating for special events and much more.
These volunteers assist our horticulture staff in planting, weeding, harvesting and maintaining our plant collection onsite. Volunteers may work in the Heartland Harvest Garden, Visitor Center and Conservatory, Island Garden, Beals Woodland and Stream Garden, Perennial Garden, Greenhouses and/or Fountain Garden and Magnolia Walk.
Assist with our foodie programs and dinners which help help educate the public about the source of their food and the journey of food from seed to plate. Free Rangers may assist with the CSA (community-supported agriculture) program and support our staff in the development of special food products created using produce from the Heartland Harvest Garden.
This seasonal group of volunteers works exclusively and intensively to assist with the hatching and care of our butterflies and moths before and during the annual Festival of Butterflies.
These volunteers provide the essential details that give our visitors an extraordinary experience working in the Perennial Gift Shop, reFresh Snack Shop or driving the Heartland Harvest Garden tram.
These behind-the-scenes volunteers assist in the administration and maintenance departments in a variety of ways on a weekly or monthly basis year-round or as needed.