Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens : Volunteer Newsletter
Spring 2016
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Spring 2016

Hello everyone,

I’ve become acquainted with many of you so far but I know there are still a few of you that I have yet to meet. Being fairly new to the Mendocino Coast, I am very pleased to join the Gardens family and get involved in the local community. My background lies in journalism, which I studied at San Francisco State, as well as legal services and hospitality.  I am looking forward to watching the Gardens blossom and grow through spring and beyond while helping facilitate a pleasant and rewarding volunteer experience for each of you! 

Molly Rosenthal
Administrative Assistant/Volunteer Coordinator

Fran, Ted, and Sheila lead a group of students from Redwood Elementary around the Perennial Garden.
Photo by MCBG Volunteer and Docent, Sheila Klopper

Please share this newsletter with anyone who may be interested in joining the MCBG volunteer family!

SPRING Plant & Store Sale

Get ready!

We are very pleased with the number of people stepping up to help at the 2016 Spring Plant & Store Sale. Our new Volunteer Coordinator, Molly will be participating as a greeter Friday April 22nd for Preview Night and as a tag picker on Sunday April 24th. If you haven't had the opportunity to introduce yourself yet... stop by and say hello! 

We still have some time slots open for Sunday April 24th, Saturday April 30th, and Sunday May 1st.

Please contact Molly at 964-4352 x10 or sign up in the volunteer hours book at The Garden Store to reserve a remaining time slot.


Help us help you

The Gardens staff is always in search of suggestions on how to improve the volunteer program and how we can create an exceptional experience for all of our volunteers. After all, this is your Garden. Please take a few minutes to complete the short volunteer survey at the link below to voice some of your interests and opinions. Thank you!

CLICK HERE to take the Volunteer Survey

BEE-FRIENDLY botanicals

The Bee-Friendly Garden

Award-winning garden designer (and MCBG Board Member) Kate Frey and bee expert Gretchen LeBuhn provide everything you need to know to create a stunningly colorful and healthy garden that helps threatened honeybees and native bees thrive. The Bee-Friendly Garden is an essential tool for every gardener who cares about the planet and wants to make their yard a welcoming habitat for nature's most productive pollinator. 

Available now at
The Garden Store!


"The Gardens Volunteer"

A Newsletter for and about Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens Volunteers
Just a fun memory from the 1989 Spring/Summer Volunteer Newsletter. Did you know that two inches of snow fell at the Gardens in early February of 1989?

NOW hiring

Something to do... with a beautiful view!

Rhody's Cafe is looking for part-time/seasonal sandwich makers and counter personnel. Visit our website to view a full job description and download an application.

MESSAGE from our friends

Volunteering on the coast

June 2 – June 5, 2016

The 2016 Mendocino Film Festival is just around the corner and they are looking for a few talented, dedicated, and friendly people to join the crew. Positions are available on the operations team, at the box office, and more. For more information contact

Join the crew!



Special Events and Happenings

Perennial Days
 Jaime and Mario have been hard at work on the Perennial Garden and are offering hands-on educational gardening volunteer opportunities each Monday and Thursday morning now through November. This is a chance to get ideas for your own garden. Experienced gardeners have the opportunity to take the reins and adopt a garden bed for the season. Please contact to help on Mondays or to help on Thursdays.

Nursery and Propagation
Nursery on the Plaza is seeking committed volunteers to help us keep up with watering during the spring and summer. We are also looking for a few more volunteers who can help with propagation on a regular basis. Please contact Nursery Manager Liz Petersen for details and to set up a schedule. or 964-4352 x 12.

Woodland Garden
Plant Records/Gardener Karen Youngblood is now taking on volunteers to help in the shady and serene Woodland Garden. Flexible hours! To join Karen, please email her at to arrange a time that fits your schedule.

Rhody's Garden Café
Help prep food at Rhody's Café on Mondays and Wednesdays while learning some delicious tricks of the trade from Marie, our culinary genius of a Cafe Manager. Rhody's also needs volunteers for lunch service shifts from 12-3PM on Fridays or Saturdays. Work with a fun crew and prepare and serve nutritious and organic meals! This opportunity is great for those with a passion for food. Volunteers must be able to stand for most of the shift. Please contact Marie at

If you love being out in nature but have some physical limitations, we are always in search of assistance deadheading Rhododendrons. This job does not require much bending or sitting and the hours are flexible! Please contact Jim at or call Molly at 964-4352 x10.

Annual Rhododendron Show
Calling all social butterflies... We would love help from our volunteers pitching memberships at our membership sale on Saturday May 7 and Sunday May 8, the weekend of the Rhododendron Show. There will be a shaded booth in the front entrance where volunteers can help attract new members with their charismatic personalities. Share your passion for the Gardens, volunteers with wonderful people skills are encouraged to participate! We will need 2 volunteers each day. Please call Molly at 964-4352 x10.

ONGOING Volunteer Opportunities


Daily :: Garden Store, Nursery and Propagation Helpers, deadheading Rhododendrons, Woodland Garden, Camellia bloom clean-up

Monday :: Vegetable Garden, Perennial Garden
Tuesday :: Begonia care, Heritage Rose Garden, Heath and Heather care, Dahlia care
Wednesday :: Restoration/Reforestation, Native Plant Garden, Dahlia care
Thursday :: Dahlia Garden, Perennial Garden

Friday :: Vegetable Garden

Variable :: Docents, Bulk Mailings, Construction Projects, Library, Events, Office Help


Visit our website for more detail on the various volunteer opportunities.


Shinning a light on greatness

Our "Volunteer Spotlight" segment will feature a dedicated or new volunteer each quarterly newsletter. We hope to get around to all of you!

Donna Worster

Thank you and Welcome!

Volunteer Since: January 2016
Volunteer Hours: 46

From Master Gardener classes, to docent training, to propagation... you would think Donna Worster has been an MCBG volunteer for years. However, she has only begun to dig in! She starting lending her time and talents to MCBG in January of 2016, making her one of our newest volunteers.

Although new to our garden-by-the-sea, she is no stranger to the Mendocino Coast. Donna grew up all over the Bay Area but finally settled in Mendocino County in 1966 during the height of the lumber mill and fishing fleet. She and her husband lived on a farm in Inglenook where they tended horses, cows, pigs, German Shepherds and cared for three kids of their own. Eventually they sold the animals and moved their family to Fort Bragg.

Donna opened a ceramic store called The Ceramic Shop (pieces created in her shop are still floating throughout homes along the Mendocino Coast) and her husband opened an insurance company called Coastal Insurance. Two of their clients were Ernie and Betty Shoefer, the founders of the Gardens!

In 1981, after her three kids had left for school, she split with her husband, remarried a widower with five girls and moved to Ukiah. She recalls that she and her second husband were inseparable and never wanted to spend time apart – so they never did! When he died in early 2015, she found herself apart from family, kids and spouses for the first time in her life. She decided to return to the Mendocino Coast. Quickly becoming an invaluable member of the community, Donna is a member of Fort Bragg Garden Club, Friends of the Gardens, Soroptimist Club, Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens, and is currently training as a Master Gardener, and MCBG docent.

Her passion for supporting community business and her desire to embark on a journey of self discovery initially led her to volunteer at the Gardens. She joined the Master Gardeners class this past winter,  is on her way to becoming a docent. Most often you will find Donna in the propagation area or helping out in the nursery. She attributes her knack for nurturing young seedlings to her experiences as a mother, raising two sets of kids. Working oftentimes alone at the Nursery, Donna is finally finding comfort in her solidarity. She states that surrounding herself with new plant life has helped her overcome the death of her partner. 

Helper Highlights

  • Rockstar volunteers Ted and Fran Steinhardt have been hard at work putting Gardens volunteers through docent training. Thanks to their deep knowledge of horticulture and Gardens' history, the classes have produced some very knowledgeable docents. We look forward to watching each of them develop their own docent style... Time to bring on the tour buses!
  •  While Henry Gieras enjoys the solitude of the propagation house, his wife Sharon Gieras spends her time helping in the Vegetable, Perennial, Dahlia, and Native Plant Gardens. Each have contributed almost 40 hours in the last month! The couple has only been volunteering at the Gardens since last summer. It is quite impressive how much time they have donated so far.
  • MCBG Volunteer and Board Secretary, Ben Nicholson has gone above and beyond this past month aiding in the search for Lead Gardener and Executive Director. In fact, he has contributed  50 hours in the past 30 days.


39th Annual John Druecker Memorial Rhododendron Show

The largest in California!

Join us Mother's Day Weekend—May 7 and 8, 2016—for the 39th Annual John Druecker Memorial Rhododendron Show.

Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens co-sponsors the event with the Noyo Chapter of the American Rhododendron Society. This year's juried show is expected to be one of the largest on the entire Pacific Coast with over 1,000 entries. The show will feature a cascade of vibrant Rhododendrons, raffles, a silent auction, people's choice awards,educational displays, food, and more! A large selection of Rhododendron and other plants will be available for purchase in the big tent and at Nursery on the Plaza.

VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITY: We would appreciate some volunteer help at the membership booth. Please contact Molly at 964-4352 x10 if interested in helping pitch membership benefits to our visitors over the Rhody Show weekend.

CALL FOR ENTRY: All rhody growers are welcome to enter their best trusses for judging. For an entry form, go to Truss entries will be accepted at the Gardens on May 5th from 5:00pm to 7:00pm and May 6th from 9:00am to 1:00pm.

PICK A WINNER: Join the Noyo Chapter ARS on Wednesday, April 27 at 7:00pm for a special meeting at First Presbyterian Church (367 S Sanderson Way, Fort Bragg, CA 95437). American Rhododendron Society's Noyo Chapter president, Dennis McKiver will explain how to identify winning blooms and share tips for showing your rhody.

F O L L O W on F A C E B O O K
V I S I T our W E B S I T E
Copyright © 2016 Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens, All rights reserved.

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