Education Programs Volunteers

Education is a key component of the Descanso Gardens mission.Through rich and varied programming – horticulture classes, family-friendly festivals and concerts, and lifestyle and fitness courses – we invite the public to experience nature in its diversity and enjoy wide-ranging learning opportunities. Annually, Descanso Gardens welcomes 6,000 school-age children who participate in docent-led field trips. The Harvest Garden is a learning oasis where educational experiences are provided for young people with special needs. Volunteers are needed as School Programs Docents, Birding Docents and Harvest Garden Docents.


School Programs Docents

Share your love of nature with student groups. The School Programs Docents lead tours of young people (grades preschool through high school) through the Gardens, encouraging exploration and scientific inquiry of the natural world. Docents provide information on topics such as seasonality and life cycle of various plant species, ecology and garden wildlife. Docents receive training that provides them with the skills and confidence to lead students in a hands-on exploration of Descanso Gardens.


  • Enjoy working with children and have patience in dealing with many personalities.
  • Excellent interpersonal and communication skills, and the ability to share information about plant science, nature and history.
  • Stamina to spend up to two hours standing and walking.
  • Training will be provided, including ongoing training to give docents the skills to provide current information and create an excellent visitor experience.
  • Tours are during the academic school year with exception of holidays and other school related breaks.
  • Upon completion of training and acceptance into program, docents are required to commit to a minimum of one morning tour per week from 9am to noon from September through June, for two years.
  • Docents are also expected to attend one monthly docent meeting from September through June for two years.


Harvest Garden Docents

The Harvest Garden is Descanso’s longest running education program, giving young people the opportunity to grow a garden and harvest the fruits of their labor. Harvest Garden Docents work in a community garden setting with students and their instructional aides and classroom teachers, demonstrating ways to garden and helping with food preparation of the harvested produce.


  • An interest in gardening and flexibility about tasks required.
  • Ability to communicate effectively with students, teachers and other volunteers, as well as sensitivity to the student.
  • Ability and stamina to spend up to one hour bending and standing.
  • Training will be provided.
  • During academic school year with exception of holidays and other school-related breaks
  • Each shift occurs on a specific weekday morning, 9:30 to 11:30am, during specific seasons