Esplanade Association Volunteer Docent Program

Welcome to the Esplanade Association’s Volunteer Tour Docent Program! The Esplanade Association is a privately-funded nonprofit organization that works to revitalize and enhance the Charles River Esplanade, sustain its natural green space, and build community in the park by providing educational, cultural, and recreational programs for everyone. Working in collaboration with the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation, the Esplanade Association is dedicated to improving the experiences of the millions of visitors who enjoy Boston’s iconic riverside green space.  

Volunteers are essential to the work of the Esplanade Association. With your help, we’re able to educate the park’s visitors about the history and art of the Esplanade. This Guided Tour Docent Program is intended to help you learn more about the Esplanade, our organization, and to share your passions. 

Overview of Program:

The Esplanade Association (EA) is seeking passionate volunteer tour docents to lead tours of the Esplanade. This is a great opportunity to engage with the public and learn more about the fascinating history, art and ecology of the park! Docents will supplement staff to help EA offer more tours to the public, educating them on our history, mission, programming, and more. 

How the program works:

  1. From, March to November, the Esplanade Association offers free tours of the park to the public. Tours range in topics, our most popular being our history tours and trees & gardens tour. 
  2. Volunteer tour docents will be trained to lead general history tours and art tours of the park, and will be allowed to sign up and lead tours on their own after passing the training process. 
  3. Volunteers will be expected to report back to EA programs staff with information such as number of attendees, route covered, etc. 
  4. Volunteers should have excellent public speaking skills and ability to build connections with the public; the ability to work independently and communicate success of programming to staff; and a love for public parks. 
  5. Volunteers will be required to complete a iCORI background check

Expected time commitment:

  • Volunteers will be asked to lead a minimum of 2 tours per year.
  • Training will consist of:
    • Orientation  
    • Shadowing (1) tour 
    • Co-leading (2) tour 
    • Once you have completed the training, you will then be able to independently lead a tour.  
  • Volunteers will be required to complete an online survey after every tour to report back information to our programming staff. 

Benefits to you:

  • Connecting with a community of park lovers dedicated to making the Esplanade a destination for residents and visitors alike. 
  • The opportunity to share your passion with dozens of people. 
  • Committed volunteers are invited to special events and are recognized for their efforts throughout the year. 
  • The Esplanade Association will market your tours to the public. 

To apply:

  • Please express interest by e-mailing detailing your experience and why you’d like to be a tour docent. Please include a reference name and e-mail that we can contact. EA will schedule a brief screening call. 
  • If selected, we will schedule an orientation session (virtual or in-person) to go over tour topics and training. 
  • Following this training, you will shadow 1 tour with a current EA staff member, followed by co-leading a tour with an EA staff member. 
  • At the conclusion of the training, you will be a certified volunteer tour docent and will have access to our tours sign-up system.