Thank you for your interest in the Docent Training program at the Ruth Bancroft Garden!

Docents are the public face of the Garden and an essential resource we offer our visitors to deepen their understanding and increase their pleasure in Ruth Bancroft’s exceptional achievement. Our Docents play a vital role in shaping our visitor experience by leading tours for children and adults, and serving as informal Garden Hosts—orienting and welcoming visitors to the Garden.

Docent Training Program for 2021-22:

(15 August 2021)- The application process for the 2021-2022 docent training program is now closed.  See below for more info about the waitlist.

The Docent Training Program begins September 2021 and ends in April 2022, and includes 12 sessions of 3 hours each on Saturday mornings. We will observe all the guidelines for individual and group safety, including masks and social distancing.

The fee for the training is $300 for members, $350 for non-members.  After 15 August 2021, chosen applicants will be contacted and directed to a payment page on the website.

All participants must be fully vaccinated and fill out a COVID-related liability/waiver form.


a group of people stand in the paths at the ruth bancroft garden, taking notes during an enrichment training. overcast skies and succulents and drought tolerant plants

To decide if the program is right for you, here is an overview of what the training to become a docent includes.

  • Gain basic botanical knowledge of succulents and cacti
  • Learn about water-conserving garden practices that are critical in this period of climate change
  • understanding Ruth Bancroft’s garden design principles and why the garden’s beauty has endured for more than four decades
  • Identify plants in the garden with our curator Brian Kemble, who collaborated with Ruth for many decades
  • Participate in training tours with other Bay Area garden experts.
  • Create and present a 10 minute tour and giving productive feedback to classmates.

We recognize a 12-session course is a serious commitment of your time and energy with these expectations:

  • attend and actively participate in all 12 sessions
  • complete advance readings and review online resources for each session
  • participate in collaborative in-class projects with other trainees
  • design, write, and give a 10 minute tour, with feedback from staff and veteran docents
  • volunteer to lead docent tours at least once a month for a year after completing training.

Dates: Sept. 18, 25, Oct. 30, Nov. 20, Dec. 11, Jan. 22, Feb. 12, 19, Mar. 5, 19, 26, Apr. 9.

For a more information about the program click here.

To Apply:

Application/registration for the 2021-2022 docent training program is now closed.  If you are interested in being on the waitlist for the 2022-2023 program, please contact Susan V., RBG Docent Program Manager.