Van Dusen Volunteer Opportunities

Education – School Program Leader

School Program Leaders engage K-4 students in interactive outdoor field trips at the Garden. Leaders work with small groups of children during 90-minute programs in the fall and spring, rain or shine. New leaders receive hands-on training in September and March, plus ample time to shadow experienced leaders before taking their own groups.


  • Lead 90-minute environmental education programs for groups of school children during fall and spring, rain or shine.
  • Facilitate a safe, fun, and high quality learning experience for students, teachers and chaperones
  • Conduct programs in accordance with stated educational objectives in content and style

Skills, Attitudes, Knowledge Required:

  • A love of nature and respect for the environment, with knowledge of ecology or gardening preferred
  • Previous experience working with children ages 5-12 is desirable
  • Confident and reliable communicator with children, volunteer team, and staff
  • Patient, positive, flexible, fun-loving, and willing to regularly reflect upon personal performance and skill development
  • Interested in ongoing training and education, both as conducted by VanDusen and independently
  • Comfortable standing, walking, and kneeling throughout the shift
  • Must pass a criminal record background check

Training and Orientation:

  • Orientation to VanDusen Garden and the roles volunteers play at the VBGA: September 10th (time to be determined)
  • Shadow Dates (chosen at training) – September 10th -17th, 2018
  • Role specific training in group management, interpretation skills, program content and teaching methodology will take place Monday September 10th – Friday September 14th from 9:30am-3:00pm each day. Note, we may be able to make alternate arrangements for suitable candidates who are unable to attend all training sessions.
  • There will also be ample time to shadow experienced leaders and co-teach before taking out own groups. Shadowing dates will be chosen during training.

Time Commitment:

  • One shift per week: 9:30am – 12pm or 12pm – 2:30pm weekdays Oct- Nov, and April-June. Plus, training in September and March as noted above
  • A minimum of one year commitment

Supervisory Relationships/liaison: Candidate will be supervised by, and liaise with, the School Programs Coordinator and the Director, Education.

Authority/Decision Making: Must be comfortable making decisions and problem solving with minimal supervision.

Volunteer Benefits:

  • An opportunity to inspire and educate children
  • Enhance teaching, and leadership skills
  • Opportunity to work with educational professionals in a well-respected non-profit
  • Contribute your time and talents in an impactful way for a worthwhile cause
  • Reference letter


CUSO International

CUSO International is currently seeking Education Assistants for the year 2018-19 who will be placed in various schools in the Northwest territories with the objective to improve education outcomes for Indigenous children and youth. We cover the costs of flights, accommodation, medical, training, and provide a monthly stipend.

See a full description of the placement here.

CUSO International also has other opportunities in Education in 7 countries around the world.