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Giving Nature

Around the Gardens Blog

Across the Gardens, volunteers give back to help Birmingham Park & Recreation and Friends of Birmingham Botanical Gardens staffs meet needs and enhance garden spaces.

By  Alice Thompson Moore

This post is the first in an eight-part series highlighting some of the many ways that dedicated volunteers—both longtime and new—give of their time and talents to support the Gardens and all that it makes possible. We invite you to enjoy additional stories from this series through the links at the end of this post, then sign up to learn more about volunteering with the Friends.

Rarely a week goes by when I am not approached by an individual or an organization interested in volunteering at Birmingham Botanical Gardens. Volunteering has been a part of the culture of this community treasure since it opened nearly 60 years ago, and it remains integral to what we achieve—in our programming, our fundraising, and our stewardship of this special place.

Often, a passion for the environment and the beauty of the Gardens draws in our incredible volunteers. “I love being surrounded by nature, and I love to give back to my community,” UAB Honors College student Lizzie Valentine said in her application to volunteer. Many stay involved because they feel fulfilled by the impact they are making and the community they are building.

Our volunteer core has shifted and adapted in response to the pandemic. During the past year, we have seen an influx of new—and younger—volunteers eager to connect with the Gardens.

Experienced volunteers from Master Gardeners to others with specific skills train and mentor the next generation of volunteers, continuing this important pipeline and furthering the mission of the Friends organization. Here we celebrate a handful of recent examples of the extraordinary impact that volunteers have made in support of the Gardens and all who benefit from its presence.

Interested in volunteering at the Gardens? Learn more about volunteer opportunities by visiting

Giving Nature: An Eight-Part Series about the Impact of Volunteers at the Gardens

Part One: Giving Nature

Part Two: Feeding Mind, Body, and Soul

Part Three: No Time to Waste

Part Four: Show of (Helping) Hands

Part Five: Bridge of Accomplishment

Part Six: Seasonal Sketches

Part Seven: Sitting Pretty 

Part Eight: Clearing the Way