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SONOMA / SANTA ROSA: Volunteer opportunities, for the garden-minded

Volunteering in a community or public garden can be a great way to learn new skills and even polish your green thumb, locally.

Both the Luther Burbank Home & Gardens and The Sonoma Garden Park are actively looking for helping hands.

Applications are being taken now for the Burbank Home's annual training. Learn how to be a docent, work in the gift shop or help out in the historic garden located at the corner of Santa Rosa and Sonoma avenues in downtown Santa Rosa.

Docents and shop staff are required to fill three shifts per month during the tour season from April through October. Gardeners are asked to put in a few mornings a month throughout the year.

Volunteers have benefits, like invitations to volunteer luncheons and opportunities to plan and participate in special events and serve on committees where their skills and experience might come in handy.

Interviews are conducted in advance of the training, which is March 2,9 and 16. For information, call 524-5445 or email BurbankHome@lutherburbank.org.

Helping out in the Sonoma Garden Park is less formal. Volunteers need only come by on Thursdays from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. to help out in the nursery, learning how to grow local native plants, vegetables and perennials and helping with nursery maintenance and upkeep.

All ages and skill levels are welcome although kids under 12 must be accompanied by an adult. Volunteers should wear sturdy shoes, bring gloves and a refillable water bottle and be prepared to get dirty. Some snacks will be provided.

The garden is at 19996 Seventh St. E., Sonoma. For information, call 996-0712 ext. 113 or email megan@sonomaecologycenter.org.

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