Japanese Garden Docent

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  • A group opportunity. Invite your friends.

Field trip teaching assistants.Five field trips: Dates are: May 20 AM and PM and May 21 PM, June 28 AM and August 5 PM.
Second grade children from a Chinese immersion school--55 of them each morning-- plus 30 from a multigrade homeschool the afternoon of May 20 will practice designing a dry garden using a lunch box size mini Zen garden. Other groups are multi age 1-6 grades. They'll get an introduction to Japanese gardens and how they compare with other perennial gardens. They'll tour our garden using a discovery tour based on the coloring book Garden of Many Parts--a new Normandale Japanese Garden Committee publication. And they will take home tiny Japanese gardens that they plant themselves. On June 28, I will do a similar field trip with about 40 girls who will be at Normandale all that week for a STEM camp. Field trips are reserved in advance, we require $5 per student and we encourage their teachers and parents to purchase the coloring books to reinforce what they learn. They are available for a $10 donation (less if purchased in bulk). Teaching assistants need to arrive thirty minutes ahead of the scheduled time to help me with set up and they will remain for thirty minutes afterwards to help me with clean up. Before the first time you help me, we need to arrange for a training so that you are thoroughly familiar with the lesson and how you can assist the teachers and me to help the children.

Monday, May 20, 2019 at 9:15- 10:30 AM grade 2 from Chinese Immersion school

Monday, May 20, 2019 at 1:00- 2:00 PM grades 2-5 mixed ages group

Tuesday, May 21, 2019 at 9:15- 10:30 AM grade 2 from Chinese Immersion school

Friday, June 28, 2019 STEM camp for Girls time TBD

Monday, August 5, 2019 grades 3-5 mixed ages group 1:00-2:00 PM

Summer programs "Show & Tell Sundays" series--Val Wagner began this in 2016 to celebrate the Garden's 40th year. It is a series that highlights the garden's elements. Val did monthly programs, starting with a program about our Cherry Trees on Sunday, April 17, 2016. She had uncanny luck in that the trees burst into blossom on April 17 that year! Other topics were the Koi, the Bentendo, shelters and lanterns; the waterfall, bridges and islands; and artfully pruned trees and shrubs. When we did not repeat the series in 2017, we got several inquiries and comments urging us to do it again. Last year, a couple of Committee members shared the Sundays. If you are knowledgeable about the garden and want to lead a program or two, let me know. If your Sundays are not available, a Saturday morning series might be appreciated. Talk to me about your idea, please! (Currently, no Sunday opportunities are scheduled.) My husband Steve and I are repeating the Saturday Round Shelter programs: "Imagine Japan!" for families. This is similar to, but shorter and cheaper than the field trip program because we don't include the wet gardens. I have selected five dates. We don't require reservations and we offer the program at no charge. (As we do with tour groups, we promote donations and offer the two types of books available at the suggested donation rate of $15-history or $10--coloring per book.) If you want to help us, I encourage you to do so. Sharing the garden with children in this way is the most fun I have had as a garden volunteer (and I have been there for some of the koi releases!) If you're interested, you could even borrow the props and zen gardens from me and offer the program a Saturday or two during July while I am away!

Saturday, June 8, 2019 at 12:30-2 pm

Saturday, June 15, 2019 at 12:30-2 pm

Saturday, Aug 3, 2019 at 12:30-2 pm

Saturday, Aug 17, 2019 at 12:30-2 pm

Saturday, Sept. 7, 2019 at 12:30-2 pm

4 More opportunities with NORMANDALE COMMUNITY COLLEGE FOUNDATION--Japanese Garden


We'll work with your schedule.


Normandale Japanese Garden andKopp Student Center, NCC9700 France Ave SBloomington, MN 55431



  • Environmental Education
  • Gardening
  • Horticulture
  • Japanese
  • People Skills


  • Teens
  • People 55+
  • Group


  • Background Check
  • Must be at least 17
  • Orientation or Training
  • Classes plus prep and clean-up take 2-3 hours. You can help with one a year or develop some classes of your own after working with Committee members.
  • One of the teaching locations requires using stone steps. However, most of the garden is handicap accessible. Knowledge of Japanese culture is a plus, but the ability to be heard and understood in English is essential. Comfort with ages 7-11.

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