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Volunteer & Outreach Activities




Montgomery Botanical Center-Volunteer Lunch 2011

2011 Volunteer Luncheon

Volunteering at Montgomery Botanical Center

Volunteers are an important part of the Montgomery Botanical Center (MBC) team. Opportunities are as diverse as the volunteers' interests. Please check our listing of volunteer opportunities.

People from many walks of life volunteer at MBC, in areas such as landscaping, palm horticulture, cycad horticulture, facilities, the nursery, the archive, and plant records and documentation, which includes labeling, computer data entry, digital imaging, surveying, and plant inventory.

Typically, volunteers work one day a week (Monday through Friday) for a 4-hour block of time between the hours of 7:00 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. Flexible schedules are available.

Plant societies, community-minded organized groups, and local high schools, community colleges, and universities organize and schedule volunteer work days at MBC. Those volunteer work days are greatly appreciated by MBC. If your group would be interested in supporting MBC’s work with a work day, please contact Tracy Magellan, Montgomery Botanical Center Outreach Manager. 

City Year, a branch of AmeriCorp, visted MBC to help with a large-scale weeding project.  The event was organized as part of City Year Miami’s 96 Hours of Power, a program designed to have members volunteer around the clock for a 4 day period.  Removing weeds can cut down fertilizer and water usage and beautify the collection.

Twenty-two UPS employees came to Montgomery Botanical Center to participate in an environmental volunteer day. Montgomery Botanical is committed to sustainable practices. On aspect of this commitment is seen in MBC’s Plant Recycling Operation.  Trees trimmed on the property are recycled into mulch. 2009.

Nine student volunteers from the University of Miami' s Helping Others Through Pro Bono Efforts (HOPE) came to Montgomery Botanical Center and helped with a large-scale mulching project. They mulched all of the tropical conifer beds in three hours! Having  nine extra hands to help with the project saved MBC days of work. 2009.

Lee Anderson and his two long term volunteers, Cliff and Marilynn Renshaw, taught seven of Tracy Magellan's Miami Dade students how to propagate via cuttings as part of their course BSC1050-Biology and the Environment.  Concepts of root to shoot ratio and plant stress were discussed during the activity. 2009.

Volunteers working with Montgomery Botanical's Seedbank program pollinate plants, track seed development, collect seeds, and clean and distribute the seeds. Shown here are three volunteers collecting Macrozamia moorei cycad seeds.

Volunteers with the Collections Development department take digital images on a weekly basis for MBC’s database of cycad cone development. Shown here are (the late) volunteer, Mike Kambour, and former collections recorder, Michael Torres, recording a cone full of Encephalartos ferox seeds.

The Collections Development department has a strong volunteer program, which includes plant data collecting, plant data entry, downloading digital images into the database, and phenological studies. Volunteer Bob Hutchinson receives digital images from the field and links them to MBC’s database so they can be accessed via the collections database.

Each year, MBC acknowledges and thanks our volunteers during a luncheon. Here is MBC’s 1999 volunteer team after lunch.

Since the Montgomery Archive opened its doors in 1995, these volunteers have committed their time and energy to ensuring the long-term preservation of documents associated with the archive collection. Former executive director, Dr. Terrence Walters (standing), was MBC’s archivist from 1995 to 2005.

Master Gardeners of Miami-Dade County spend on Saturday a month helping out at MBC.  Lee Anderson, MBC’s superintendent, coordinates this extremely productive, committed, and hard-working team.

Outreach Activities

MBC also collaborates with many local, national, and international plant societies, organizations, institutions, and botanical gardens. Various outreach activities during the past years are highlighted below.

In September 2005, executive director Dr. Patrick Griffith led a tour for a group of botanists from Adelaide Botanic Gardens in Australia. Here, Patrick explains MBC's cycad pollination methods, demonstrated by this specimen of Cycas simplicipinna.

Long, but productive, hours were spent by the International Palm Society Board Members in MBC’s Nixon Smiley Meeting Room during a 1999 two-day meeting hosted by MBC.

MBC gives many lectures and tours to various organizations throughout the year. Shown here are members of the Central Florida Chapter of the International Palm Society.

MBC is proud to be part of a larger network of institutions -- the Coalition for Excellence in Tropical Biology (CETroB). CETroB is a research and education organization of Miami-based universities, botanical institutions, and museums that are working with the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History. MBC hosted the third working group meeting of CETroB in its Nixon Smiley Meeting Room.

The Society for Economic Botany held their mid-year Council Meeting at MBC in 1999. Scientists from Hawaii, Texas, Colorado, South Carolina, and Florida are shown in MBC's Nixon Smiley Meeting Room discussing the society’s future plans and goals.

Members of the World Conservation Union’s (IUCN) Cycad Specialist Group held their meeting at Montgomery Botanical Center in 1999 during the Fifth International Conference on Cycad Biology. MBC was a co-sponsor for the conference. The Cycad Specialist Group meets every three years.

Volunteer Opportunities


Montgomery Archive  Use your organizational skills while learning little-known facts about south Florida history; the lives of Robert and Nell Montgomery; and the scientific, botanical world. Get the satisfaction of developing and curating a small but growing archive while implementing a system of filing, coding, usage, and curation of documents and artifacts associated with the collections.

Data Entry  Whether you are already a computer-savvy, typing whiz -- or would love to learn -- you can become a part of the Collections Development team. See what it takes to develop a truly scientific database for palms and cycads as you input plant collection information. Will train someone who is comfortable with computers. Mornings, 2-4 hours, one or two days per week.

Digital Imaging  Interested in the biology of plants? Learn while uploading images of MBC's plant collection to the database for researchers to access. Mornings, 2-4 hours, one or two days per week preferred.

Grant writing  Use your research, organizing, and/or writing skills -- plus your knowledge of MS Office -- to help MBC seek funds to support activities in research, education, conservation, and community outreach. Needs include internet searches, organizing information, grant writing, and grant package coordination.

OUTDOOR WORK (bring hat, sunscreen, water, gloves, lunch)

Cycad Horticulture  Help the cycad curators with trimming, weeding, planting, irrigation, fertilizing, and scouting for pest problems. Bending and use of hand tools is required.

Nursery Complex 
Working closely with the nursery curator, volunteers will primarily help with re-potting seedling palms and cycads.

Palm Horticulture  Help maintain the palm collection with planting, trimming, mulching, fertilizing, weed control, treatments, and transplants. Bending and use of hand tools is required.

Groundskeeping  Get back to nature in a valuable way. Help our grounds team care and maintain MBC's outstanding scientific plant collections. Light weeding, pruning, and mulching, as needed. Observe and report on general health and/or conditions such as pathogens and pest damage. Bending and use of hand tools is required.

Irrigation  Like to work in a garden setting and are handy with tools? Help repair sprinkler heads and other irrigation mechanisms; assist with minor installations of irrigation; check clocks and zones.

Maintenance Shop  Assist with oil changes, golf cart washing, flat tires, blade changes, greasing equipment, painting, and minor repairs.

Note: Some positions require outside work and/or light lifting. MBC is open from 7:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. We encourage individuals to support a program for a minimum of four hours each week.

To apply, please contact Montgomery Botanical's Volunteer Program
at (305) 667-3800, ext. 114, or email: tracym@montgomerybotanical.org


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