Community Engagement

Volunteers Help the Garden Flourish

Margaret Charlton has volunteered as a “Friend of the Garden” (FOG) for 40 years. Her husband, Charlie Sale, has been a FOG for 20 years. Their love and enthusiasm for the UBC Botanical Garden is infectious as they share stories of plant sales and the hugely popular Apple Fest.

UBC Botanical Garden is a beautifully serene refuge and a resource for both members of the University and the public. Its collection was started 100 years ago and is a storehouse of plants from around the world, many that are very rare.

Patrick Lewis, Director of UBC Biodiversity Collections describes the importance of the Garden, and the enormous contribution of its volunteers.

“It’s not just a green space, but a green space that is very much a part of academia. It’s a resource in the area of sustainability and biodiversity, really quite remarkable.”

Margaret, both a financial donor and a volunteer, believes that while the Garden benefits from the FOGs, the FOGs also receive much in return.

“It’s important to the volunteers because we get so much out of it. We learn so much.
And the Garden needs the volunteers to help raise funds, and the more money they can raise the better the future.”

As Patrick explains, “donors are vital for the bigger projects, but also for the actual operations of the Garden. They contribute to the life of the garden in just about every way imaginable.”

Charlie would agree, saying, “at the height of my activity here, I logged in 700-800 hours over the course of a year.”

They’re hours well spent, though.

“I just enjoy being in this environment, and being able to contribute. It’s very satisfying.”