Ethno-Botanical Garden VIP


This position is located at Voyageurs National Park in northern Minnesota. The volunteer(s) will be the primary caretaker(s) of a one-acre native plant garden adjacent to the Rainy Lake Visitor Center. The garden, which was previously a field of invasive plants, is a restored site planted with vegetation native to this region. The term Ethno-botanical refers to the cultural importance of these plants to the Ojibwe people. Primary duties are maintaining the garden on a daily basis and providing information about the history and purpose of the garden to visitors. Volunteers working in this capacity will receive appropriate training, guidance, and supervision from the District Interpreter.


As a uniformed volunteer with the National Park Service, the volunteer serves as the garden caretaker. The volunteer is responsible for planting shrubs and wildflowers, weeding invasive plants, pruning trees and shrubs, watering plants, and maintaining fences and trails. Duties may also include assisting with, or conducting interpretive programs (i.e. garden tours), helping to prepare for garden volunteer events (i.e. school groups), or helping to construct temporary displays and exhibits.

In addition, the volunteer will provide support to the visitor center. The volunteer will provide current, accurate information on Voyageurs National Park, the National Park Service (NPS) and surrounding areas; explain recreational opportunities, including National Park interpretive programs and services, and privately operated facilities and services; distributes maps, brochures, and other printed material; informs visitors of potential safety hazards; provide directions and routes of travel to provide access to the park.

The volunteer may perform a variety of general office duties, including answering telephones, responding to written or phone requests for information, filing, typing and duplicating informational handouts. The volunteer operates a variety of office machines, including cash registers, calculators, typewriters, copiers, computers (if appropriate background check has been run,) and telephone/fax machines. The volunteer may be a passenger in a government vehicle.

The volunteer may also perform any or all of the following duties in the course of completing their work. These duties are secondary to the primary duties and typically constitute 20% or less of the duties of the position.

· Stocking brochure boxes.

· Act as roving contact at the garden, boat docks, and trail head.

· Assisting other park staff at special events.

· Going into the field to familiarize self with area resources.

· Assisting, as needed, with basic emergency response.

· Opening and closing procedures of visitor center.


To perform the duties of this position, the volunteer should have the following knowledge, skills and abilities:

  • Ability to use a motorized weed whip and basic hand tools (shovel, rake, pliers, hammer, etc.).
  • Ability to operate a small motorized water pump and sprinkler system.
  • Knowledge of basic gardening methods (weeding, watering, etc.).
  • Ability to learn basic Minnesota plant species
  • Ability to communicate information in a courteous, tactful, and intelligent manner
  • Knowledge of NPS and park mission and goals.
  • Knowledge of the park and operations.

Supervisory Controls

The volunteer works under the direct supervision of the District Interpreter. After receiving specific instructions, the volunteer performs routine assignments independently. The supervisor is available when problems or unusual situations arise. Supervisor spot checks routine work for accuracy, with closer review performed for more difficult or non-routine assignments.


The volunteer maintains the integrity of the Ethno-botanical garden by weeding exotic plants; planting and thinning native vegetation; pruning trees and shrubs, watering plants during dry spells. The volunteer also provides information about the garden to visitors and tour groups. Assignments are primarily repetitive, consisting of clearly defined tasks. Questions regarding non-routine tasks are referred to the supervisor.

Scope and Effect

The results of the incumbent's activities contribute to the understanding and appreciation of the park and the natural and cultural resources within. By serving as the garden caretaker, the volunteer will preserve part of the park’s beautiful landscape and help visitors form connections with the natural environment and the diverse groups of people who called this area home. The results of the incumbent's activities contribute to visitor enjoyment and understanding of the park area and the public’s appreciation of the National Park Service mission. These activities affect the NPS and its employees, visitors, land managers, and neighbors.

Personal Contacts

The volunteer has daily contacts with the visiting public, other volunteers, park staff, inholders, and park neighbors. These people represent a cross section of the nation and of other countries of the world. Visitors are of all ages, and from all social, ethnic, and economic groups. The volunteer has contact with park visitors for the purpose of providing information about area facilities, services, activities and recreational opportunities. Public contacts occasionally include dealing with visitor complaints and conflicts, although these are typically referred to the supervisor. The volunteer must wear a park specified uniform.

Physical Demands & Work Environment

This position requires standing or kneeling for long periods of time, walking on uneven surfaces, bending, lifting of moderately heavy items, use of stepstools and ladders to reach fencing, and use of basic hand tools. Work is generally performed outdoors in the Ethno-botanical garden. Trips to park field locations or local travel within or near International Falls, Kabetogama, or Ash River may be required, which may include travelling as a passenger on a government vessel. The volunteer may be subject to working in adverse conditions while outdoors including weather (rain or sun), insects, and ticks.

Last updated: February 21, 2016

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

Voyageurs National Park Headquarters
360 Hwy 11 East

International Falls, MN 56649


(218) 283-6600

Contact Us