Education - School Program Leader

Organizational Profile:

Vancouver Botanical Gardens Association, a registered charitable organization, delivers educational programs and Garden projects at VanDusen Botanical Garden, a 55-acre botanical garden and Bloedel Conservatory, a domed, lush tropical rainforest paradise in the heart of Vancouver. As Vancouver's 'green heart,' we help to protect the globe's biodiversity while acting as an oasis of calm in a busy city, providing a place for people to connect with nature and find peace in a world of plants and beauty.



School Program Leaders facilitate discovery for elementary-aged students during hands-on, activity-based field trips at either VanDusen Botanical Garden or Bloedel Conservatory.



  • Lead 90-minute environmental education programs for groups of school children from across the lower mainland
  • Facilitate a safe, fun, and high quality learning experience for students, teachers and chaperones
  • Conduct programs in accordance with stated educational objectives in content and style


Skills, Attitudes, Knowledge Required:

  • A love of nature and respect for the environment, with knowledge of ecology or gardening preferred
  • Previous experience working with children ages 4-12 is desirable
  • Confident and reliable communicator with children, volunteer team, and staff
  • Willingness to accept VBGA Education team’s stated educational objectives in content and style
  • Patient, positive, flexible, fun-loving, and willing to regularly reflect upon personal performance and skill development
  • Interested in ongoing training and education, both as conducted by the VBGA and independently
  • Comfortable standing, walking, and kneeling throughout the shift
  • Must pass a criminal record background check (free for volunteers)

Training and Orientation:

  • Orientation to VanDusen Garden and Bloedel Conservatory and the roles volunteers play at the VBGA
  • Role specific training in group management, interpretation skills, program content and teaching methodology will take place before each season. 
  • For Autumn 2019, training sessions will be offered over September 16-30 from 10 am - 2 pm
    • Bloedel Conservatory training: Sept. 16, 23, & 30
    • VanDusen Botanical Garden training: Sept. 18, 19, 24 & 25
  • New volunteers are expected to sign up for and attend as many sessions as possible; returning volunteers will attend a minimum of 3 training sessions per season or as needed. A detailed schedule will be provided in early September for your review. 
  • We may be able to make alternate arrangements for suitable candidates who are unable to attend specific training sessions.
  • There will also be ample time to shadow experienced leaders and co-teach before taking out own groups. Shadowing dates will be chosen during training.


Time Commitment:

  • One shift per week: 
    • Bloedel Conservatory we are recruiting for Monday 9:30-12:30 or 12:30-3
    • VanDusen Botanical Garden we are recruiting for Tuesday to Thursday 9:30-12:30 or 12:30-3 and Friday 9:30-12:30
  • Programs run on weekdays during the school year in three seasons: Fall at VanDusen and Bloedel (Oct-Nov), Winter at Bloedel (Jan-Apr) and Spring at VanDusen (Apr-Jun)
  • Training in September and March
  • A minimum of one year commitment - either at VanDusen, Bloedel, or both


Supervisory Relationships/liaison: Candidate will be supervised by and liaise with the School Programs Manager.


Authority/Decision Making: Must be comfortable making decisions and problem solving with minimal supervision.


Volunteer Benefits:

  • An opportunity to inspire and educate children
  • Enhance teaching and leadership skills 
  • Opportunity to work with educational professionals in a well-respected non-profit
  • Contribute your time and talents in an impactful way for a worthwhile cause
  • Reference letter