Arboretum Garden Stewards
Are you a green thumb who’d like to help us keep Washington Park Arboretum beautiful? Then please consider joining our Garden Stewards program. This program recruits volunteers to assist Arboretum staff in caring for historic plant collections and gardens, such as Azalea Way and the Pacific Connections Garden. Weekday and weekend work parties take place from March through November.
Commitment: We ask that volunteers commit to a minimum of 24 hours of work per year. Some previous horticultural experience is preferred; however, new gardeners are mentored into the program.
Benefits of volunteering: Our new recruits will receive maintenance training from the Arboretum staff, enhancing their skills, and will get to share in the camaraderie of caring for these special displays. Stewards also benefit from other enrichment activities—in the shape of lectures and instructional talks from the many plant experts in the Arboretum’s extended family.
Signing up: To learn more about the stewards initiative or to sign up to become a steward, please email Rhonda Bush or call her at 206-941-2550. You can also download a volunteer application form, fill it out, and either fax it to Rhonda at 206-325-8893 or mail it to her c/o the Arboretum Foundation, 2300 Arboretum Drive East, Seattle, WA 98112.
Short History of the Stewards
In fall 2011, in response to budget crises affecting the University of Washington and Seattle Parks and Recreation, the Arboretum Foundation and UW Botanic Gardens created a special volunteer program dedicated to the care and maintenance of the Pacific Connections Garden at the south end of the Arboretum. Our goal was to recruit and train a dedicated cadre of volunteers—the Pacific Connections Garden Stewards—who would, under the supervision of the Arboretum and UWBG horticultural staff, assist the small paid crew in caring for this new garden.
The program was a great success, and it inspired the Foundation and Seattle Parks and Recreation to create the Azalea Way Garden Stewards in summer 2012. This program has also been very successful to help with the completion of the New Zealand and Cascadia Forests, and in providing assistance to City staff in maintaining Azalea Way, an historic, Olmsted-designed display. As of summer 2014, the Garden Stewards program has recruited more than 60 volunteers to help with maintenance of the Arboretum.