Enjoy the Great Outdoors, help Bham blossom + more reasons to volunteer at Birmingham Botanical Gardens


You can play a role in protecting, nurturing, and sharing the wonders of Birmingham Botanical Gardens! Photo via Friends of Birmingham Botanical Gardens

If you’ve been outside at all in the last couple of weeks, you’ve probably noticed how gorgeous the weather has been. If you’re wanting to spend more time outside, meet new people and make a difference in Birmingham, we’ve got just the thing for you. But don’t take our word for it—keep reading to hear from volunteers with the Friends of Birmingham Botanical Gardens.

Meet the Volunteers

Birmingham Botanical Gardens is one of the most treasured spots in Birmingham. With 67.5 acres of beauty, it takes a lot of people—including more than 1,600 volunteers annually—to help maintain the Gardens. We caught up with two current volunteers to learn more about the work they do. Check it out!

April Hall

April and classmates in the Friends’ Native Plant Studies program took “field trips” to get hands-on knowledge. Photo submitted

April is a Birmingham native who’s been volunteering with the Gardens regularly for over two years.

“I worked for a nonprofit for several years, and that led me to really get involved with volunteering. The Friends of Birmingham Botanical Gardens is the one I’ve been volunteering the most with over the past few years.”

April Hall

Dahlia McKinney

Dahlia in her vegetable garden. Photo submitted

Dahlia is originally from the Philippines, and she’s been in Birmingham since 2008.

“I’ve been volunteering with them for the past five years, and mainly work with the Bruno Vegetable Garden Group.

Most of the time, we’re in the vegetable garden, but if they need us somewhere else, we do anything they need us to do.”

Dahlia McKinney

Why volunteer?

Volunteers are all smiles for new faces. Photo submitted

Most people would agree that the biggest barrier to volunteer work is finding time to do it. I asked April and Dahlia a few questions about what makes the commitment worth it for them.

Dahlia noted that the connections to others were a big draw for her. April has really enjoyed the knowledge her service has offered.

“I loved it from the very first day. I’ve been planting native plants in my yard for many years, but this gave me an opportunity to get to know plants that wouldn’t thrive in my yard.”

April Hall

What does volunteering at the Gardens look like?

Assisting with propagation is just one of the many roles volunteers might play. Photo submitted

Volunteers in the Gardens can do all kinds of work—some of it’s even indoors. Both April and Dahlia are involved with specific garden groups.

“I work mainly in the Kaul Wildflower Garden, which I prefer especially in milder temperatures.

When you’re out in the Gardens, you’re weeding, thinning out patches of plants that have become overgrown, planting new things, collecting seeds, preparing the ground for new kinds of plants, all that.”

April Hall

Why did you choose to volunteer with the Friends of Birmingham Botanical Gardens?

Don’t forget your favorite gloves! Photo via Friends of Birmingham Botanical Gardens

We all know Birmingham has a multitude of outstanding nonprofits and other organizations that could use extra hands. I asked the volunteers why they invest their time in the Gardens.

“The physical benefits are fantastic working out in the Gardens…it really does help build up strength.

From the community standpoint… knowing that the work I’m doing there is leading other people to love and appreciate native plants is so fulfilling.”

April Hall

Finding a community of people who share your interests is a wonderful way to meet new friends and build relationships, while doing something worthwhile.

“I feel like, in the Botanical Gardens, I have kindred spirits—I feel like I belong.

I love to garden… When we garden, we’re not just tilling the soil.”

Dahlia McKinney

Want to try it out for yourself?

April in the Kaul Wildflower Garden. Photo submitted

These ladies certainly inspired me to get out and get my hands dirty. If you’re interested in volunteering with the Friends of Birmingham Botanical Gardens, all you have to do is contact volunteer@bbgardens.org.

Read more about volunteer opportunities here. There really is something for everyone!

Want to show your support for the Gardens in other ways? Become a Friend today. There are tons of benefits, including a member gift and free plant annually, discounts at some of Bham’s trendiest garden shops and a whole lot more.

“There are the obvious benefits of getting to shop early at the plant sales, getting discounts for classes and programs—all that.

But you also know that your money is going towards this beautiful gem in Birmingham, and it’s free. A lot of other botanical gardens in other cities have a charge, but this is a such a wonderful, free resource.”

April Hall

You can read all about the benefits here. Once you’re sold (it’s hard not to be), just follow this link to become a member.

Help protect, nurture, and share one of Birmingham’s greatest treasures! Join the Friends today!

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  • A Birmingham transplant who can usually be found hitting a new hiking trail or restaurant opening when she's not writing stories and snapping photos for Bham Now.