Initiatives Supported by the Friends
Over 1,500 individuals and families are members of the Friends. Anyone can join, and annual membership gifts support the programs and gardens. Different levels of membership offer a range of benefits, including early admission and discounts at Arboretum plant sales, free or reduced admission to other botanical gardens, and a member newsletter.
The Friends group hosts public plants sales that traditionally take place 7-8 times per year at the Arboretum Teaching Nursery. Over decades the sales have grown into huge, festival-style events that attract thousands of people from all over Northern California to shop the tens of thousands of regionally appropriate plants. The plant sales are supported by teams of community volunteers, student interns, and professional nursery staff members. Due to current state and campus restrictions on in-person events during the pandemic, the plant sales are being reinvented as an online shopping experience for our fall 2020 season.
Over 240 community volunteers work with horticulture staff to care for the Arboretum and Public Garden's gardens, collections and other landscapes on campus, conduct the scientific work of managing the plant collections, present public programs or serve on volunteer leadership committees. Many volunteers work as part of weekly teams and develop a deep and lasting connection to the Arboretum and Public Garden. Some volunteers have been involved for decades. The Friends helps support the volunteer program by organizing volunteer communications, education, social activities and recognition. Collectively, Arboretum and Public Garden volunteers contribute over 26,000 of hours of service per year with an estimated value over $780,000!
The Friends Board members partner with staff to plan and host outreach and stewardship events, including an annual volunteer recognition event, an annual donor recognition event, public presentations and lectures and smaller gatherings throughout the year. These activities may take place in Board member homes, at local businesses/organizations, or in the Arboretum.