Interested in volunteering with us? Here are some of the things you can do!
Please keep in mind that a record of volunteer hours must be kept by the volunteer and approved by one of our staff if you would like a reference letter. Reference letters will be available after 6 months of volunteering with us and a total 40 hours of volunteer work completed.
Due to concerns over health and well-being, especially during summers, we only allow volunteers to work a MAXIMUM of 3 hours per day. However, we appreciate your excitement!
Regular Sol Garden Maintenance:
Regular maintenance of the Sol Garden or any garden in fact is a must! Volunteers in this section will be involved in regular watering and weeding of the garden. We have seven flower beds with a large bush of shrubs surrounding the perimeter of the Sol Garden. So, regular care is very important. But, don’t be scared because you are completely free to decide when you want to come and how long you would like to help out! Once you complete the orientation and training, you are free to come by whenever you like to weed from Mon-Fri, 11am-5pm! However, watering will require the company of one of our staff who are available Mon and Fri from 11am-5pm due to storage of the hose.
UNIBUG: User Network for Insect Biology in the Urban Garden
The User Network for Insect Biology in the Urban Garden or UNIBUG is a citizen science research project that aims to engage and teach local communities about the ecology of urban gardens. We focus mainly on attracting beneficial insects into urban gardens that help control common garden pests such as aphids and spider mites. These include a variety of ground beetles. So, be aware that you have to LOVE bugs to volunteer with this project! However, you may still volunteer with UNIBUG regardless and we will try our best to help you overcome your fears! Volunteers in this section will be involved in weekly counts and identification of ground beetles found in our beetle traps placed around the Sol Garden. Volunteers may also set up traps in their own gardens and count beetles there as long as they keep track of their hours. Training to set up traps and identify beetles will be provided.
Sol Garden Third Thursday Workshops:
Volunteers in this section will be working to help set up and prepare for our monthly workshops and events that occur every third Thursday of every month! Tasks and activities will vary according to the topic of the workshop. This may include watering and weeding of the Sol Garden, poster hang up around the Douglas College – David Lam Campus, event site set up and take down, and communicating with event participants so they feel welcomed and comfortable! Hours will typically range from 2-3 hours per workshop or event. Please keep in mind that volunteers for these events or workshops will usually be paid with free cake and refreshments!
Pollinator volunteers are separated into two sub sections. Frequency counts and bee house monitoring.
Volunteers here will be identifying and counting the number of pollinators that visit the “Pollinator Friendly” bed located in the Sol Garden. It is one of the seven flower beds part of the Sol Garden. This activity will take about 30 minutes and occurs weekly on Friday from 11am-5pm during the growing season (Spring and Summer). Training to identify pollinators and accurately record data will be provided. Please note that volunteers must be comfortable with bees and wasp!
Volunteers may also perform frequency counts in their own gardens as long volunteer hours are recorded, the data is inputted into our data sheet found on our website, and training has been completed.
Bee House Monitoring:
This activity is only available to volunteers who own or have access to a mason or leafcutter bee house. This will involve a monthly check-in and count to see how many pollinators are using the cells/tubes of your bee house. Volunteers can expect to spend about 30 minutes on this task. Simply look in your bee house and follow the instructions of the form provided below.
The garden survey will involve analysis and observation of your own garden. Volunteers here will be answering questions provided on our “Anatomy of My Garden” survey form and “The Surroundings of Your Garden” form. These will involve describing the colours of plants in your garden, measuring square footage of bee friendly plants, and keeping note of any activities or objects near your garden that may affect how many bees visit. This activity goes well with the Frequency Counts and Bee House Monitoring activities mentioned above. The garden survey by itself may take about 30 minutes to an hour. All three activities combined may take about 1-2 hours.