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A Program from the Chicago Botanic Garden - an Exchange of People, Ideas and Technical Expertise

Volume 2 Number 4 - December 2004


Wouldn't you really rather be at the Chicago Botanic Garden right now? Well, that is exactly what we're offering - an opportunity to come and work with our staff, explore program ideas, collections management strategies and all of the many diverse aspects of public garden horticulture and education operations. This special program is only offered to professional staff working in botanic gardens, arboreta, museums and educational institutions. And its free! In fact, you receive a stipend of $100.00 for each week that you are with us.

The Chicago Botanic Garden is looking for enthusiastic, self-motivated professionals who wish to enhance their present training and development. We invite you to take full advantage of the education and training opportunities we offer by joining us in the professional exchange program.

The Chicago Botanic Garden encompasses 300 acres in Glencoe, Illinois, 23 miles north of downtown Chicago. It maintains an extensive collection of herbaceous and woody plants ranging from temperate to tropical. The Garden houses a fine circulating horticultural library.

The Program

The purpose of the Professional Exchange Program is to provide colleagues from public gardens and educational institutions with a unique career opportunity to exchange information and technical expertise in an applied setting.

Professionals are invited to "work-study" at the Chicago Botanic Garden for periods ranging from two weeks to three months. The program is flexible and individualised. Goals and priorities are developed by the participant in cooperation with the Professional Training Department.

Participants work one-on-one with colleagues as peer-professionals in a mutual exchange of information and expertise in a 'hands-on' educational experience. Close contact with staff encourages maximum growth for everyone involved. Reciprocal staff exchanges between the Chicago Botanic Garden and other institutions are encouraged; but not mandatory. Participants are welcome year round.

The Chicago Botanic Garden offers professionals a broad spectrum of specialties from which to choose including:

  • Aquatics
  • Arborculture
  • Botanic Garden Administration
  • Collections Documentation and Mapping
  • Community Gardening Programs
  • Dwarf Conifers
  • Education
    - adult and youth programs
    - environmental and outreach programs
    - professional seminars & symposia
  • Fruits and Vegetables
  • General Grounds Maintenance
  • Greenhouse and Nursery Crop Production
  • Herbaceous Perennials
  • Horticultural Therapy
    - garden design & tools for the disabled
    - sensory plants for the visually impaired
    - therapy programming
  • Integrated Pest Management
  • Japanese Landscaping and Maintenance
  • Plant Evaluation and Introduction Programs
  • Plant Information Services for the Public
  • Prairie Restoration and Woodland Ecology
  • Rose Culture and Display
  • Taxonomy
  • Tours and Visitor Services
  • Tropical, Arid and Indoor Plants
  • Turf Management
  • Urban Landscape
  • Demonstration Gardens
    - alpine rock garden
    - bulb garden
    - formal herb garden
    - native plants of Illinois
    - ornamentals for the midwest
  • Volunteer Programs
  • Woody Ornamentals

For Individuals

The Professional Exchange Program provides you with an opportunity to develop an individualised progam that focuses on your own professional development. The format allows you to strengthen your present knowledge and skills by exchanging ideas and expertise with peer-professionals.

For Institutions

The Professional Exchange Program provides your staff with exposure to materials, procedures, designs and philosophies from other organisations and sets the stage for future cooperative ventures. Participants return with new viewpoints, fresh ideas, and technical information.


During their stay at the Garden, participants are provided with a stipend of US$100 per week. Participating institutions are encouraged to offer a similar stipend to exchange personnel from the Chicago Botanic Garden. Each institution sending staff is responsible for special permits or additional costs incurred by having staff employed temporarily off site. The participant or their institution is responsible for providing regular salary and benefits during the exchange period.


Housing for participants is provided by residents or staff in the area. The Gardens does not arrange housing for participants who bring their families. Because public transportation to the Garden is limited, the use of a car is recommended but not required. The participant or their institution is responsible for transportation expenses to and from Chicago.

Application Procedure

Applicants are asked to submit a resume, letter of support from their institution, and a proposal outlining what they would like to learn or accomplish within this program. Applicants must be an employee of a botanic garden, arboretum, university, park, museum, zoo, or related institution.