It was easy for Ian McRae to feel at home during his first volunteering shift at Toronto Botanical Garden. Although he didn’t start as a regular visitor, Ian quickly found a sense of belonging, where volunteering seamlessly became a natural part of his weekly routine. Within the TBG community, volunteers like Ian share a distinctive quality: gratitude for the people and the work.
Volunteers are at the heart of the Garden and help bring the mission to life. Ian, and many volunteers alike, are deeply passionate and committed to nature and green spaces; their energy and work are a part of the fabric that keeps our organization growing.
Volunteers Create Community at the Garden
TBG volunteers are unique because they grow the Garden and uplift one another, expressing appreciation for each other’s efforts. While a love for nature and green space is necessary for any of our volunteers, people like Ian go above and beyond for the volunteer experience, creating community.
Why does Ian love volunteering at the Garden? His answer is simple, “the people.” Reflecting on past experiences, he recalls a struggling tree during the last summer. “Our team had a crack at digging it out by the roots,” he says. “It took four hours and team effort to complete it in one shift.” The following week, a new native tree had taken place, symbolizing renewal, growth, and teamwork.
“The work is very satisfying,” he says. Ian is invigorated by the Horticulture Team’s innovative ideas and is excited about the positive change. “It makes me feel like I’m participating in something big,” he says. “It’s very satisfying.”
Gratitude for Learning Opportunities and Making Connections
Volunteering is wider than the time commitment. It is an opportunity to connect and to learn. “I’ve become so interested in plants, flowers, perennials, and annuals,” he says. “I’m even looking into horticulture classes and taking out books from the library.” And, not to mention the people (again!). Amidst Ian’s journey, he has immense gratitude for the Seasonal Horticulturists and the insights shared by the Master Gardeners. “I’ve been impressed by the people who have subject-matter knowledge and use it to solve problems.”
Within the Garden’s ecosystem is a flurry of stories like Ian’s, a testament to nature’s impact on a person and what one person can do for his community. Together, TBG is built of green spaces and human connections.