RSABG Volunteers

Thank you for considering volunteering at Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden, California's native garden. Your valuable time is appreciated!

Volunteers are vital to the life, health and advancement of the mission of Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden to grow, display, study and conserve California’s native plants.

RSABG volunteers work inside or outdoors, help maintain the Garden’s grounds, help staff during special events, lead tours for the public, assist development and communication staff reach out to the public—just to name a few opportunities.

The staff of Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden appreciate our volunteers immensely. We strive to provide interesting ways for volunteers to invest their skills and expertise in worthwhile work, and we offer frequent opportunities for learning new skills, acquiring new knowledge, meeting new friends and participating in new and exciting experiences.

How to make a difference at California's Native Garden

Volunteers contribute service to RSABG in a wide variety of ways. Some volunteers contribute time on a regular basis, while others volunteer in a less-structured or scheduled manner. New projects and special events arise on an ongoing basis. We endeavor to keep Volunteers informed so they can expand their involvement and get to know other areas of the Garden. Placements are made based on individual Volunteer interests, schedules, and abilities, as well as the current and most pressing needs of the Garden. 

Being an active member (eligible for formal service recognition) of the Volunteer Organization has three requirements:

  1. 1. *Becoming a member of RSABG (visit for information), which permits free access to the Garden even when not volunteering. There are many levels of membership to choose from, including $50 individual membership or $75 family membership. (*The membership requirement is waived for full time student.)
  2. 2. Completing the New Volunteer Orientation Course, "RSABG 101". This is our basic training for new volunteers. It provides an overview of the Garden, its mission and its programs, services, departments and activities. It offers insight into the many ways you can get involved as a volunteer, and gives you the chance to meet and connect with Garden staff members and fellow new volunteers. You'll be contacted about the next RSABG 101 after turning in a Volunteer Application.
  3. 3. Contributing a suggested 40 hours per year.

All RSABG volunteers are required to be members of the Garden, but it may be possible for you to begin volunteering without completing the formal training course or committing to 40 hours a year. This will be determined on an individual basis where appropriate or necessary. Volunteers are only eligible for the formal service recognition (including awards and pins at our annual Volunteer Appreciation Dinner) if you complete the training and contribute 40 hours or more per year. Regardless of your availability, we encourage you to get involved in some way!

Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden seeks volunteers to take on roles that include gardening, leading tours and serving as information assistants. We have volunteer opportunities for people with various interests and abilities.

There are many benefits that accompany volunteering with RSABG including special lectures and tours for volunteers; field trips to other gardens, arboreta and places of botanical or historical interest; access to the RSABG research library and the volunteer library; discounts on classes and purchases at Grow Native Nursery and California Garden Gift Shop; social luncheons and mixers; meeting people with similar interests and spending time in a beautiful and environmentally conscience botanic garden.
Time Commitment
Many volunteers join the RSABG Volunteer Organization and make a commitment to contribute time on a regular basis; other volunteers contribute their time and energy in a less structured or scheduled manner. We welcome you to join the Garden’s volunteer efforts regardless of how much time you have to offer.
Volunteer Opportunities
Volunteer placement is arranged based on your interests, skills and schedule, as well as the current needs of the Garden. There are a number of opportunities in the areas of education, horticulture, visitor services, administration, research development and more. Here are a couple areas to consider:
  • Nature interpreters (docents) to lead tours for school children and, sometimes adult groups.
  • Horticulture assistants help maintain the Garden’s living collection through weeding, raking, watering, pruning, etc.
  • Garden Gift Shop associates to provide a friendly presence in the Garden’s store, answer questions and help with merchandise sales.

There are many other opportunities for service as well, including fundraising, database maintenance, creating floral arrangements with native plants, working in the research library and staffing special events.


Interested in volunteering at the Garden?

Tell us what your interests and special skills are.

Click here to download a volunteer application

Click here to download a copy of the RSABG Volunteer Handbook

Click here to download a copy of the RSABG Volunteer Organization Bylaws

Click here to download a copy of the RSABG Volunteer Standards of Conduct

For more information, contact Kathleen Noll, Manager of Volunteer Programs: (909) 625-8767 ext. 256, or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Volunteer Board

Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden 2016 - 2017

Volunteer Organization Board + Committee Leaders

Volunteer Organization Officers 

Albert T. Finnerty
Vice President
Linda Clement
Julie Scheuermann
Marilyn Irwin
Volunteer Organizaiton Committee Leaders
Goals & Evaluations
Linda Prendergast
Volunteer Personnel
Win Aldrich
Nadja Cole
Field Trips
Krista Von Stetten
Donna Bedell
Sherry Hogue
Shauna Gygli
Horticulture & Research
Donna Snider
George Snider
Visitor Education
Yvonne Wilson 
Volunteer Library
Amy Baumann
Public Relations
Sandee Rose

Oak Notes: Newsletter Volunteers


Louise Gish
Contributing Editor
David Gish
Carole Aldrich
Communications & Graphics Specialist
David Bryant
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Director of Development
Anne Scott-Putney
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Volunteer Program Manager
Kathleen Noll
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Volunteer Organization Board Bios

Lee Waggener
RSABG Volunteer Board Secretary and Oak Notes Editor

Volunteering in a garden of California native plants seems like a good fit for a California native who has always lived within 40 miles of where I grew up in South Gate. My mother was a skilled gardener who could beautify any surroundings with plants. My earliest memories were of a small victory garden, then of camellias and azaleas, then of a rose garden.

My own interest in plants didn’t happen until I was a student at Pomona College and took a plant classification class for a science requirement. Predecessor Lyman Benson was a wonderful teacher who could inspire anyone to love finding a plant, identifying it and creating a pressed plant collection. Many of our class meetings were in the wash to the east of the college that was still wild and undeveloped at the time. What a refreshing break from sitting in a classroom on a beautiful Southern California day! I remember my first visit to the RSABG Herbarium and being quite surprised at finding a garden at the end of College Avenue. Maybe if I had taken his class my first year, I would have been a botany major instead of a music major. Who knows?

After graduation, teaching elementary school in Ontario and being a musician at the Claremont United Church of Christ took up most of my time and I visited the Garden only occasionally. After retirement I brought my grandson to a special event and ran into a long-time friend, Judy Whale, from school days in South Gate. Her words, “This is the best place in town to volunteer. You should try it!” stuck with me, and now I am a nature interpreter as well as a member of the Board of Volunteers.

My grandchildren help me volunteer when possible, and I’m hoping they develop a love of the Garden and an appreciation of the richness, variety and uniqueness of California native plants.

Janice Tsuma
RSABG Volunteer Vice President 2012-13


Imagine the courage of the nature interpreters! Waiting for them at the gates of RSABG was a whole class of mothers pushing strollers containing their three and four year old children! A couple decades ago, I was one of those mothers, and that tour was my first introduction to the Garden. It obviously made a positive impression on me. Over the years, I visited occasionally, and, when my growing family’s demands lessened and I discovered I had some extra time, I decided to respond to an advertisement in the local paper for new volunteers, and now I’ve just completed 10 years as a volunteer! I work in the Herbarium workroom on Monday mornings, lead school tours on Thursdays and am currently serving as vice president of the Volunteer Board.

I was a valley girl—a San Joaquin Valley girl. I grew up in the small town of Madera, and came south to attend California Lutheran University. After college, I taught for Los Angeles and Glendale School Districts for seven years before leaving the West Coast and accompanying my husband to Connecticut. After five years, employment opportunities returned us and our new daughter to southern California. The following years were spent raising our two children and managing the household.

When people ask about my activities at the Garden, I tell them that the volunteers are one of the nicest groups of people I have known, and that volunteering here provides so many opportunities to learn, share, and enjoy interacting in a beautiful setting. I am looking forward to an exciting year on the Board!

Shaunna Gygli
RSABG Volunteer President 2012-13


Shaunna Gygli…who is that? I know many of you are wondering, and now the wait is over!

I grew up in a very small town of about 1,000 people in southeastern Idaho in the shadow of the Tetons. I hiked, skied and camped in this most beautiful area of Yellowstone National Park. I’ll bet many of you didn’t know that a slice of Yellowstone is in Idaho! It was here that my love of nature was nurtured. Even though I have lived in California for 50 years, I must get back to my mountains often.

After graduating from the University of Idaho with a bachelor’s degree in education, I moved to Northern California to begin my teaching career. My first year was as a fourth grade teacher where I learned about California’s diverse regions and how the first Californians used their natural resources so effectively. When I moved to Pomona in 1980, I increased my knowledge of native people and natural history by joining historical societies, becoming a docent at the Southwest Museum, and taking many classes at RSABG.

My teaching philosophy includes a strong belief in hands-on experiences for children. To this end, in 1989, I developed Bonita Unified School District’s Hands-on History Program for fourth graders. Even though I retired from the district eight years ago, (after 42 years) I continue to provide the Hands-on History field trips to over 700 students annually.

After retiring I traveled, read a lot, worked part time and became a docent at the Museum of the American West. And, in 2009, I became a volunteer at RSABG where I am a Nature Interpreter and where I volunteer at most special events. I was a member-at-large on the Volunteer Board. We have all made a conscious decision to volunteer our time and talent for various reasons. As for me, I volunteer at RSABG because I believe in our mission statement, and it is a way to pay back the valuable education my students and I received here over the years.

I was surprised and delighted by the opportunity to serve as your president. I look forward to getting to know each of you and to working together to increase awareness of The Garden’s unique programs and resources.

My life is continually enriched by the people that I have met and worked with here. I hope to meet you at the quarterly luncheon on September 14. I know that we volunteers don’t just work, we make it work!