The Water Conservation Garden’s Volunteer Program is designed to gather like-minded people of all ages, offering many different opportunities to express their love of gardening. Whether it is digging in the dirt, working an event, leading a tour, meeting and greeting Garden guests or a myriad of other opportunities, we have a place for you here at The Garden!

For more information about becoming a volunteer/docent, please contact Pam Meisner, Education Director, at or 619-660-0614 x13.

How Can I Help?

  • Patron Greeters
  • Gift Shop
  • Guided Tours
  • Community Outreach Events
  • Gardening & Maintenance
  • Team Butterfly
  • Special Events
  • Committee Service
  • Internships

Benefits of Being a Volunteer

  • Receive reduced family ($50) or Individual ($40) Garden membership rate
  • Receive 15% (Docents) and 10% (Volunteers) discount in The Garden Gift Shop.
  • Attend optional field trips, workshops and lectures.
  • Attend annual Volunteer Appreciation dinner.
  • Receive discount on rental of The Garden for an event (Docents only).
  • Make a worthwhile contribution to The Garden and community!  Meet people who share an interest in gardening and horticulture.



Volunteers work alongside our Docents and staff on teams or as part of committees. Volunteer commitment level can range from simple clerical assistance to serving on our Board of Directors.

3 steps to become a volunteer

  1. Become a Garden Member
  2. Complete Docent/Volunteer Application
  3. Be contacted by a Docent Representative
  4. Complete docent/volunteer training (two, four-hour sessions) and safety training


Docents represent a dedicated and knowledgeable group who have attained a higher level of training in The Garden’s programs. Docents attend a two-day Orientation Training and fulfill exclusive Docent Trainee requirements.

Docent/volunteer training classes of two 4-hour sessions are typically offered in January, April, July and October. To find dates for the next training, click HERE to go to the classes and events calendar.

2 more steps to become a DOCENT!

  1. Fulfill the Docent Trainee requirements
  2. Perform 48 hours of volunteer service per year

Meet the Volunteer

Name:  Ed Woodruff

Garden Teams:  Children’s Trail, Dirty Docents, Fire-wise Exhibit, Kiosk

Volunteer Since:  April 2014

Favorite Plant in the Garden:  Roses – Ed’s love for roses goes back to his childhood when he helped his mother, an “intrepid gardener,” with roses in her garden. He is also helping to bring more “ancient” plants to the The Garden’s Jurassic Garden, including adding Sago Palms to the area near the Children’s Trail.

Fun Facts About Ed:    Ed was born in the La Mesa Convalescent Center, the only area hospital at the time. A lifelong area resident, he taught in the La Mesa Spring Valley School District for over thirty years. Also, he restored a 1930 Model A Ford pickup named “Ruby.”

Favorite Garden Exhibit: The Children’s Trail. On his first visit to The Garden, Ed noticed that the Children’s Trail needed some work. With the help of other docent friends, he took charge of restoring the trail, repairing the Research Station and cleaning up the Jurassic Garden. He currently does weekly maintenance, noting with pride that the exhibit is now well used by visiting school children who often bring their parents along for return visits to The Garden.

Why Do You Volunteer at The Garden:  Ed says, “First of all, it is the people that are here. They are really friendly, and there is a tremendous knowledge base.” He likes that docent teams are given responsibility for different areas in The Garden and, thus, gain real ownership from their volunteer efforts.