The Brisbane Botanic Gardens Volunteer Guides are a group of volunteers from varied backgrounds with interests in Brisbane's botany, horticulture and history.
A formal qualification in horticulture or botany is not needed to become a volunteer guide, but good social and communication skills are important.
The first intake of volunteer guides was in 1988 following the success of guiding at World Expo '88. Some of the original guides are still actively guiding in both the City Botanic Gardens and Brisbane Botanic Gardens Mt Coot-tha and there have been intakes of new guides every two years since 1988. There are now close to 80 volunteer guides with active roles in both gardens.
Volunteer guides are trained with the knowledge and skills needed to help make the visitor experience to the gardens enjoyable.
The next volunteer guide training course is yet to be announced. The training sessions usually run on Wednesday mornings for approximately eight weeks and include:
- a historical background to Brisbane's City Botanic Gardens
- an overview of Brisbane Botanic Gardens, Mt Coot-tha
- general introductory walks
- communication and interpretation workshop
- basic botany - Fascinating facts about flowers
- introductory botany - Classification and Latin is a language
- planning a guided walk
- mini-bus tour and walking tour of the Hide 'n' Seek Children's Trail
- introduction to the laboratory and Mt Coot-tha Library
- codes of conduct
- roster management.
Role and commitment
Free Guided Walks program
Guides must participate in the Free Guided Walks program. This needs a fortnightly commitment on a specified day of the week, for example, every second Thursday.
Walks are at 11am and 1pm, Monday to Saturday in the Brisbane Botanic Gardens Mt Coot-tha and the City Botanic Gardens.
Guides usually start at 10.30am and finish after 2pm. Two or more guides are rostered each day and give guided walks to small groups of between two to six visitors.
Monthly meetings are held on the first Monday of every month from 9.30am to midday. The meetings are usually held at Brisbane Botanic Gardens Mt Coot-tha, but sometimes at a different venue. The agenda may include a guest speaker, training and general business. It also provides an opportunity to meet other volunteer guides.
Mid-monthly meetings are held on the third Tuesday of the month and may include information sessions, guided walks or a visit to another location, for example, Toohey Forest.
Guides also help with groups who have booked a guided walk.
Guides are encouraged to develop special interest walks and may also volunteer to be involved in special projects promoting the gardens such as the National Trust Heritage Festival.
Becoming a volunteer guide
The next intake for volunteer guides will be June 2019.
Council is currently recruiting volunteers for the new Visitor Information Centre at Mt Coot-tha. For further details, refer to Visitor Information Centre volunteers.
For more information: