Olbrich Home Rooted and Growing


Duration: 3 months, starting late May or early June through August

Hours: 40 hours/week

Compensation: $10.00/hour

Number available: 1

Application deadline: February 16, 2016

Olbrich Botanical Gardens is a nationally recognized 16-acre public display garden located in Madison, Wisconsin - a city annually recognized for its innovation and livability. Olbrich received the American Public Gardens Association and Horticulture Magazine's Award of Garden Excellence in 2005, an annual honor bestowed upon 1 of over 500 North American public gardens. Olbrich offers a unique opportunity for individuals possessing a passion for the world of public horticulture to learn more about a future career in public gardens.

Interns work directly with staff in the conservatory and greenhouses to gain valuable practical work experience in botanical garden maintenance. Individuals will learn all aspects of environmentally responsible horticulture and sustainable practices during the course of the internship and are immersed in innovative conservatory and production greenhouse plant maintenance practices.

Interns work in all areas of plant maintenance in the Bolz Conservatory and work extensively with aroids, orchids and other plants in over 80 families. Interns also work in the support greenhouses and plant production including annuals, poinsettias, mums and asters.

Two paid field trips to other conservatories and greenhouses are included. Interns will experience Olbrich's enthusiastic guests during peak visitation times, and will work a five-day per week schedule including Saturday OR Sunday, and one or two of the three summer holidays.

Interns will have the opportunity to hone their managerial skills by occasionally supervising and working with volunteers. Preferred applicants are majoring in or recent graduates (within six months) of a horticulture or plant science-related scholastic program.

Candidates interested in working with a creative, fun and hard-working team of professional horticulturists, and dedicated volunteers, should submit an application, resume, and college transcripts (unofficial acceptable). Incomplete submittals will not be considered for an internship. Candidates must be available for an onsite interview, if selected for an interview.

Rental housing is available in the area, especially near the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus which is located nearby. Some students may be able to negotiate with an area family in a work-for-rent arrangement.

Internship Essential Functions

  • Ability to lift up to 50 pounds unaided.
  • Ability to work in warm and humid conditions.
  • Ability to bend, stoop, kneel and work with arms stretched out overhead.
  • Ability to assist in mulching beds in the Bolz Conservatory.
  • Ability to work between the hours of 7 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.
  • Ability to work a five-day per week schedule including Saturday OR Sunday (for example: Sunday through Thursday or Tuesday through Saturday).
  • Ability to maintain adequate attendance and work holidays when scheduled.
  • Ability to work in environments where pesticides have previously been applied (after expiration of mandated prohibited re-entry period).
  • Ability to understand and follow oral and written instructions.
  • Ability to establish and maintain effective working relationships and communicate effectively to work as a team with the staff and volunteers.
  • Ability to be tactful and courteous with garden visitors and children.
  • Ability to perform heavy manual and semi-skilled tasks for extended periods of time.
  • Ability to work with animals, such as birds, fish, and butterflies that are maintained in the Conservatory.
  • Ability to use hand tools, pruners, and watering hoses typically used in routine greenhouse and conservatory maintenance.

Application Materials

Application Form (PDF)

Submit your application by February 16 to:

John Wirth, Conservatory Curator

E-mail: jwirth@cityofmadison.com

FAX: (608) 246-4719

US Mail/FedEx/UPS to:

John Wirth

Olbrich Botanical Gardens

3330 Atwood Avenue

Madison, WI 53704

Checklist of Internship application materials

  • Completed Student Intern Application Form
  • Post-secondary education transcripts
  • Resume (preferred not required)


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Olbrich Botanical Gardens is operated as a public-private partnership between the City of Madison Parks Division and the Olbrich Botanical Society.
Olbrich Botanical Gardens | 3330 Atwood Avenue, Madison, WI 53704. | Phone: (608)246-4550 | Fax: (608)246-4719