Volunteering at Tofino Botanical Gardens

Volunteers are an important role at the Gardens.  We enjoy collaborating with students, interns, artists, travelers and local residents. We can subsidize accommodation for individuals who bring interest, enthusiasm and energy to the Gardens.

Please read this page and then email your resume and cover letter to info@tbgf.org. If you are a horticulture student interested in a work practicum or internship, please contact us to discuss!

What are the Tofino Botanical Gardens?

Tofino Botanical Gardens was established by George Patterson in 1997 to provide visitors to the Clayoquot Sound UNESCO Biosphere Reserve with an introduction to the natural and cultural history of the area. Our twelve acres of gardens, exhibits, old growth rainforest, and shoreline have been designed to encourage people to explore the relationship between culture and nature.

Sites include our Cafe, Ecolodge, community garden, natural pond, children’s garden, a comparative botany garden featuring plants from the temperate rainforests of Chile, a tropical garden and more. Additionally, several environmental organizations operate out of the Ecolodge including Surfrider Pacific Rim, Raincoast Education Society, and Strawberry Isle Marine Research Society.

What experience do I need to volunteer there?

Skill sets in areas such as horticulture, landscaping, interpreting, carpentry, taxonomy, marketing and social media, and barista experience are desired. Key values and characteristics include a passion for the environment and sustainability, ability to engage courteously with the public, a flexible schedule, easygoing, and works well with other staff. We make sure to match tasks with your abilities and interests, though some tasks are unavoidable (such as weeding!). You must be neat, clean and presentable to the public at all times.

Where will I sleep and eat?

Volunteers may be able to stay in staff accommodation on site or in their own arrangements off site. Volunteers live with other staff, provide their own food, cook and clean for themselves.

What will I do and how long are the work days?

For volunteers, the general work schedule is three full days per week, but this can change depending on what is going on in the Gardens at the time. Interns work a full week. During the spring, garden tasks include preparing and seeding beds, weeding, trail maintenance, and clearing for new garden areas. Summer tasks focus on weeding and watering, trail and bed maintenance, and interacting with the public. Fall tasks include mulching and preparing beds for winter, and the inevitable weeding. Carpentry projects occur year round. Volunteering at Tofino Botanical Gardens does include hard physical labour. If you are not prepared for this then this opportunity is not for you.

How long can I stay? Can I get a job while I am in Tofino?

We ask a minimum two week commitment, but volunteers can stay longer depending on the season, the schedule and their capabilities. We host horticulture interns for the full duration of their practicum.

Successful applicants are genuinely interested in gardening, horticulture and the environment and are willing to make a real commitment to the Gardens! We do not intend to accommodate people solely looking place to live in Tofino. However, volunteers can work elsewhere while they volunteer as long as their commitment to the Gardens remains a priority.

What can I do during my off hours?

There are a lot of things to do here! We are a thirty minute walk from downtown Tofino, where you can find coffee bars, galleries, restaurants, stores, internet, and a public library. Tofino has weekly Monday night movies, and concerts and dances of all genres.  Companies in town offer whale watching, kayaking and other outdoor adventures in Clayoquot Sound.  We are a fifteen minute walk from the beach, where you can walk, swim, surf, boogie board, or have a sunset picnic. If you have a bicycle, we encourage you to bring it. We have a fantastic library of natural history guides and information on site.

Can I bring my dog? My kids? Can I smoke?

Sorry, we are not prepared to accommodate dogs or children, and we do not allow smoking on the property.

We hope this answers some of the question you might have about volunteering here. If you think this sounds like the place for you, then please contact info@tbgf.org with your resume and cover letter.