Volunteer

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At Everglades Wonder Gardens, we love and appreciate all of our volunteers. Because of them, we accomplish as much as we do. And, thanks to them, we can look forward to a bright future as we carry out our improvement plans. And, of course, having a volunteer workforce helps us keep costs down for our visitors.

Volunteering is a great way to give back to the community while having fun and learning new things. And, you don’t need a green thumb. While knowing something about gardening helps, you can choose from many different areas to make your contribution.

Animal care — Help distribute food and water to our animals, and help keep the animal enclosures and pools clean. Volunteers may have to lift and move things, and they may have to clean, sweep, and rake. While at work, volunteers may be in close contact with birds, turtles, tortoises, and other animals. In addition, volunteers must be able to work outdoors in the extreme heat and sun or, on cold winter days, in chilly air. Minimum shift: 2 hours. Clothing: Wear clothes that can get dirty but still look good and tennis shoes or closed-toe shoes.

Docents — These specially trained volunteers give tours to members and guests. They work with the public and let people know what we are all about. Docents learn about the many kinds of plants and animals in the Gardens, and they learn how to tell stories about the Gardens’ rich history. They also get to tell people all about Old Florida. For this role, you must be able to work outdoors in the extreme heat and sun or, on cold winter days, in chilly air.  Clothing: a shirt with our logo (we provide this), khaki shorts/trousers, and tennis shoes or closed-toe shoes. (No short shorts, please.)

Environmental Learning Center — Volunteers work in many different roles at the Center which provides teachers and homeschooling parents with lesson kits. Florida Gulf Coast University’s College of Education helped us make them (for one grade level), and they can be borrowed for free.

Volunteers to develop Learning Kit lessons — Each kit has to be “grade appropriate” for Pre-K through high school.  We need volunteers with a background in education to make changes to the lesson plans, activities, and other materials in the original single-grade kit.

Volunteers to copy the Learning Kits — Volunteers copy the Learning Kits so that multiple classrooms or parents can make use of the kits at the same time. You do not need a background in education for this role since it involves photocopying, organizing, and labeling materials.

Volunteers to help with Environmental Education — Students can complete some activities in the lesson kits at the Gardens. That’s why we need volunteers to help with these activities so that children and their chaperones can complete these lessons.

Horticulture — Volunteers weed, pot and relocate plants, dig, prune, rake, sweep, clear debris, etc. While some work can be physically hard, other work, like watering and weeding, requires little strength. In addition, volunteers must be able to work outdoors in the extreme heat and sun or, on cold winter days, in chilly air.  Minimum shift: 2 hours. Clothing: Bring garden work gloves, and wear clothes that can get dirty but still look good and tennis shoes or closed-toe shoes.

Marketing — Volunteers help write press releases, e-newsletters, blog posts, and social media announcements; and do photography and videography. They also create PowerPoint and other presentation materials and do graphic design work for brochures, fliers, rack cards, info-graphics, invitations, etc. While this is mostly indoor work that takes place in our office, sometimes things can be done from the volunteer’s home, office, or campus. Assignments can also include general office work like filing, organizing, making phone calls, doing mailings and computer work, etc. Finally, volunteers usually do specialized work (bookkeeping, mail merges, and database work) in our office but can work off site by special arrangement.

Operations or facilities — Volunteers help the Operations staff maintain and clean the Gardens to keep them safe for our guests. This work can involve lifting, moving, cleaning, sweeping, raking, etc. In addition, volunteers set up chairs, tents, and tables, etc., for events and parties. They build and fix things, and they empty trash. As you can see, we need people with many types of skills to do work that is mostly outdoors and requires good physical fitness. Minimum shift: 4 hours. Clothing: Wear clothes that can get dirty but still look good and tennis shoes or closed-toe shoes.

Special Events — Volunteers work on many different tasks. They help register guests, interact with the public, and tell people about the Gardens. They also handle admission fees, direct cars in our parking lot, and help people to their cars by carrying their plant purchases. Volunteers also help with children’s activities and monitor groups of school children during educational programs. They provide security for set areas, sell gift items or raffle tickets, man auction tables, etc. Clothing: Items you already have in your closet—a white shirt with collar, khaki trousers/shorts, and tennis shoes or closed-toe shoes. (No short shorts, please.)

Off-Property Events — We also need help taking Everglades Wonder Gardens “on the road” for events like these:

  • July 4th Parade, Downtown Bonita Springs – walk with us in the parade!
  • Chamber Events – Bonita Springs and Estero
  • City of Bonita Springs Events – Our Station Guides tell the public all about Everglades Wonder Gardens. We train them to share information about a specific area of the Gardens, Museum, or Visitor Center. Clothing: We give our Station Guides a shirt with our logo. It is worn with khaki trousers/shorts and tennis shoes or closed-toe shoes. (No short shorts, please.)

Once you complete the volunteer application, we’ll contact you to discuss your interests and schedule an orientation for you. Thank you!

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