Plant Health Scout

Division Assignment: Horticulture

Reports to:


To monitor plants for various pests, diseases and disorders as well as beneficial insects and mites. Monitoring, sometimes referred to as scouting, is an essential and vital need for the USBG to practice contemporary plant health care. Opportunities are available at the downtown Conservatory location as well as at the greenhouse Production Facility.

Primary Responsibilities:

  • Perform weekly plant inspection for various health issues
  • Install and maintain pest traps
  • Identify and count insects and mite pests
  • Identify and count beneficial insects
  • Identify symptoms of various plant disorders and diseases
  • Document finds on forms and identify location of findings and plant species
  • Provide reports to Plant Health Care Specialist


  • Experience in working with plants and/or plant health-related activities
  • Interest in plant health care and maintenance of living collections
  • Cooperative nature, including the ability to accept instruction and correction
  • Ability to be courteous, respectful and patient with visitors
  • Professional manner and appearance

Training Provided:

  • 3-hour onsite training with the USBG Plant Health Care Specialist

Time Commitment:

  • 100 hours a year
  • Flexible scheduling based on volunteer's availability


  • Develop knowledge and skills in contemporary plant health management
  • Learn to identify plant insect/mite pests and symptoms of infectious diseases, nutrient deficiencies and environment/cultural problems
  • Learn how to practice biological control of pests with natural enemies
  • Achieve more success in gardening and growing indoor plants
  • Opportunities to participate in continuing education at the Garden
  • Participation in horticulture in-service training programs offered to volunteers in the Washington, D.C., area
  • Participation in USBG public programs for free or at reduced rates on a space-available basis
  • Participation in USBG-sponsored volunteer appreciation events
  • USBG Volunteer newsletter


There are two formats available to submit an application. Either must be completed and accompanied by any necessary supporting documentation.

Microsoft Word Volunteer Application

Adobe Acrobat fillable PDF Volunteer Application


Once complete, you may either email your application and any supporting documentation as electronic attachments or send hard copies to the following mailing address:

United States Botanic Garden
Attn: Volunteer Coordinator
245 First Street
Washington, DC 20024-3201