My first visit to Red Butte Garden was as a chaperone for T's class in May 2007. T was nine years old, so maybe it was fourth grade. I didn't know anything about the place, but I found out it is in the foothills above the University and there is a lot of natural area. I think we saw a rattle snake.
Since May 2007 and prior to this year, I think I have been to the garden a couple of other times. Once I went with T in the summer. I remember that he played on the giant lizards in the Children's Garden. Another time I attended a concert there, but that wasn't really the garden itself - it was at the amphitheater.
My point is that I don't have a lot of experience with the place, but I was compelled to ask for a membership to the garden for Christmas last year. I thought it would be cool to go up there once a month or so and look around. You also get first dibs on the concert tickets when you are a member. There have been several shows over the years that I would have liked to attend, but it's tough to get tickets because it's such a cool, laid-back venue. (You can bring your own beverages. Very unusual in Utah.)
MT did give me a membership and I have been to the gardens a couple of times this year to walk around and check things out. I recently received an email saying that the garden was looking for volunteers and they were holding a volunteer fair where you could get more information and sign up. I decided that volunteering at Red Butte Garden would be a good thing. At the end of last year/beginning of this year, I did an exercise called "Unravelling". I've talked about it before. One of the goals I set for myself was to volunteer somewhere. It's all part of my plan to meet people and be more sociable.
I did go to the volunteer fair, and I signed up to volunteer in a couple of areas. After talking to the volunteer coordinator and going through a background check, I have been accepted. I have three jobs there: bloom recorder, photographer and garden guide. I think it will be pretty easy to get in 20 volunteer hours this year (20 hours is the minimum commitment.) Tonight I had my first training session for the jobs.
What is bloom recorder? I will go to the garden once a week and record what is blooming in my particular garden. I chose the Children's Garden because it is small and I thought it would be manageable. There are about a dozen pages of plant names associated with the Children's Garden. Thankfully everything has signs so I should be ok. I had about half an hour training on it tonight and I think it will be fine.
As a photographer, I will be taking photos of the garden. I even have a tag to wear that says I am a photographer! I will take photos of anything that catches my eye. It could be plants or trees or flowers. It could be birds or critters or even people. I'm pretty sure the photographer gig will be fun.
The garden guide business is a little more daunting, but it could be cool. I took a tour of the garden tonight with a guide and it was awesome. I learned a lot and I was excited about it. The garden is a beautiful place and the volunteer coordinator and the guide said the biggest thing was to share your enthusiasm about the garden and if you can share a little knowledge, too, it is good! I will have the opportunity to go through some more guide training before I take any people out. I may give private tours or act as a docent and just roam around answering questions or showing people how to get places.
You guys are going to be sick of hearing about Red Butte Garden (let's call it RBG). Or maybe you will think that you have got to get up there and look at it yourself and maybe even have me give you a tour :)
Here's a photo I took tonight: