Receptionist Position Description

Supervisor: Outreach Program Manager

Objective: To provide friendly, informed public contact to visitors at the Arboretum Visitor Center and education about the Arboretum as well as assist in the administration of the Arboretum. Receptionists can enhance the public's experience at the Arboretum by providing a variety of services.


  1. To greet visitors and offer information and assistance by:
    • Showing them maps and brochures about the Arboretum and the Friends of the Arboretum;
    • Suggesting areas for walks, depending on the season and their interest and ability. Volunteers will have access to phenological data on the Arboretum website or in the Naturalist's Notes notebook.
  2. To answer the telephone, responding to caller's requests/questions. In-coming staff calls will be forwarded to the staff member's phone and, if unavailable, to their voice mail or answering machine.
  3. To be aware of staff's comings and goings (staff carry the responsibility of keeping the receptionist informed) so that callers can be given prompt, reliable assistance.
  4. To read the written information at the desk, be aware of programs, events, tours, classes and Friends of the Arboretum activities and to know where to refer calls and questions.
  5. To participate in additional training events as they are scheduled.
  6. To become familiar with all Visitor Center exhibits and be able to direct visitors appropriately.
  7. To be willing to work on related clerical tasks from other Arboretum departments as appropriate.

Qualifications: Desire to learn about the Arboretum: friendly, outgoing personality; desire to assist Arboretum visitors; good communication skills, previous office experience helpful but not required.

Training and Preparation: Training will be provided by program supervisor, experienced volunteers and Arboretum staff. There will be continuing training and follow-up as needed throughout the duration of the volunteer's involvement with the Arboretum. Training will include Arboretum history and general information, equipment use, resources available to answer visitor's questions, information related to the Arboretum exhibits, bookstore and library, and other related areas.

Commitment: After successful completion of the initial training, volunteer receptionists can sign up for any shift available and are asked to make an initial six-month commitment to the position. Shifts run 9:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. or 12:30-4 p.m. weekdays; weekend shifts are 12:30-4 p.m. Volunteers are asked to commit to three shifts each month.

Benefits: Meet people; make a difference in the Arboretum; flexible work schedule and responsibilities; assist Arboretum visitors by making their visit more enjoyable; learn more about a world-renowned resource right in your backyard! Arboretum volunteers are invited to attend the annual Madison Area Naturalists' Winter Enrichment Lecture Series. Receptionists receive a quarterly newsletter. Parking is free.

This is an equal opportunity position. Please let us know if you need any special accommodations.

Please call the volunteer coordinator at (608) 262-5604 for more information.