Opportunities for Volunteering and Community Engagement
Our Master Gardeners embrace opportunities for volunteering and community engagement, as they facilitate working collaboratively to help solve gardening problems and challenges within our communities, and to spread up-to-date horticultural information.
The MGAA supports its members by posting opportunities for volunteering and community engagement. Opportunities are added as they arise, so please check back often for new postings.
If you are interested in any of these opportunities, please connect with the person or organization directly, using the contact information provided.
Please see disclaimer.
Community Crop, Calgary
Seed Saving Project
Since 2011, Community Crop (CC) has been using spare 2’ x’4’ beds at their Currie Booster garden where began a project of growing plants specifically for seed saving. They then decided these saved seeds would be a great way to fund their presence at Seedy Saturday (SS) and further link them to the Calgary horticultural community. Since then, this project has continued to maintain its presence at SS and further developed towards a low-input model of growing. There is now an additional 4’ x 8’ bed at their South Calgary garden used for this project.
CC is primarily looking to use perennial, drought-resistant plants from which to save seed. This will ease the amount of cultivation necessary each year and reduce water usage while giving insects a home in their gardens.
Tasks Involved Throughout the Year
- Transplanting perennials to different locations.
- Sowing seeds, then watering and checking up on them as necessary (dictated partially by precipitation).
- Adding compost (from our garden’s bins) to amend beds as necessary.
- Collecting seeds as they ripen on different plants, then drying and eventually cleaning them.
Ben, a long-time gardener with CC, oversees this project. He has gone through the Master Gardener program and just finished the Landscape Horticulture Apprenticeship Program at Olds College. We look forward to having your excitement and knowledge while working together towards a thriving community-based seed saving program.
When you are dividing your perennials this spring, please consider donating your extra plants to Enviros’ Passages program. Other outdoor and indoor plants are also needed.
Enviros and the Passages Program
Enviros is a Calgary based not-for-profit social services agency working with Alberta’s most vulnerable individuals and families since 1976 in areas of Addiction & Mental Health Services (Wilderness & Adventure Therapy); Child, Youth & Adult Intervention Services; and Youth Justice Services.
The Passages program is a residential program that gives at-risk teens the support they need to transition back into a more traditional home life and family-living situation.
The program is located in a six bedroom residential home in an average Calgary neighbourhood. It’s designed to be just like any other home on the street in order to create a feeling of genuine community and family among teens who live there.
Having indoor and outdoor plants at Passages is important to teach the youth skills for growing food and taking care of plants. Plants help make Passages look like the other residential homes on the street, instead of like a “facility”. This is critical to Passages and our clients being accepted as part of the neighbourhood. Inside, plants go a long way to creating the feeling of being at home that most of us take for granted but that our clients lack. In addition, a growing body of research shows that the presence of plants, both inside and outside, provides a number of health benefits such as lower stress and anxiety along with improved mood and self-esteem.
Thank you for your consideration. Generosity from community members like you is what makes it possible for us to continue the work Enviros does, and for our clients to make the positive changes in their lives that we know they’re capable of.
If you have plants to donate to Enviros’ Passages program, please contact April MacDougall, the Program Supervisor for Passages, at 403-827-8810.
Camp Kindle, Water Valley
Garden Maintenance for the Kids Cancer Care Foundation of Alberta
You must be registered with Kids Cancer Care before you can visit camp. To register, read the complete information below to ensure this opportunity is a good fit for you then follow the instructions in the “Contact and Registration Information” section.
Kids Cancer Care (KCC) requests MGAA members as volunteers to maintain gardens at Camp Kindle.
Camp Kindle and the Kids Cancer Care Foundation of Alberta
The Kids Cancer Care Foundation of Alberta is a charitable organization that helps families fighting childhood cancer in Alberta. Our programs are uniquely designed to meet the needs of the whole family at each stage of the cancer journey, from diagnosis through treatment and beyond. The foundation helps Alberta children and families by providing funding and programs in these key areas: Camp and Outreach; Research and Hospital; and Education Support and Scholarship programs. Please click here to learn more.
KCC’s free camp programs offer kids across Alberta a chance to escape the demands of cancer for outdoor fun and adventure in a safe, caring environment.
Volunteering with MGAA at Camp Kindle
- There are about 10 garden beds to maintain
- They vary in size from 10ft x 6ft to about 42ft x 8ft
- Duties may include typical gardening tasks:
- updating the garden bed designs to group similar plants together for a more cohesive look and/or plants moved to ensure each plant has room to grow.
- maintaining the beds (weeding, transplanting, pruning)
- redefining bed borders
- amending the soil
- selecting plants suitable to the area (low requirements, deer resistant, etc.)
- Camp Kindle is approximately 1.5 hours north west of Calgary
- We carpool from Calgary, leaving between 7:30am and 9:30am
- Alternate driving arrangements may be made by anyone coming from outside Calgary
- At the end of the shift we often stop at the general store for a snack or ice cream before heading back to Calgary.
Please visit our online gallery to see the amazing work MGAA volunteers completed in 2017.
Contact And Registration Information
This activity is organized by Ryan Rainkie. If you are an MGAA Member who is interested to come out and play in the dirt at Camp Kindle please click here to send an email to Ryan to get the registration process underway.
Your email should include the following details:
- Subject: Interested to volunteer at Camp Kindle
- Your name
- Phone number
- Location in the city for car pool planning (closest major cross streets are fine).
- If you are able to drive and how many passengers you can take
- Which week days typically work best for you for volunteering
- Possible volunteer days may be any day of the week Mon to Sun
After Ryan receives your email, you will be sent additional information as well as instructions for registering with KCC if you have not previously registered with them.
Please also note that KCC is regularly looking for volunteers to help with various additional projects and initiatives. For anyone wanting general information about volunteering with KCC, not specifically related to maintaining the gardens, please click here.
Help A Fellow Master Gardener!
A student who recently completed her Master Gardener coursework (in Calgary) is looking for some assistance in helping to improve her ability to answer gardening questions for the public, based on the most recent Master Gardener curriculum.
This volunteer opportunity offers a chance to refresh your knowledge of the Master Gardener course information! Someone with a strong interest in gardening and an interest in learning may be the best fit. An educational background is an asset but not required.
The Calgary Horticultural Society is looking for some new writers to submit some articles for their 2018/2019 magazine.
The CHS has a list of topics that are trending for 2019, but are open to suggestions as well.
Submission should be approximately 300 words for 1 page and 600 words for 2 pages, with 2-4 photos. If you don't have photos, the CHS can add from their collection or request some from their volunteer photographers. Julie would appreciate receiving all articles by Saturday, March 16, 2019. This allows you to be finished the article before the busiest time of the season, and it allows the CHS to be well-supplied with material for the summer months when we publish monthly. If you would like to submit an additional article after the March 16 deadline it will be a welcome contribution as well!!