I'm one of the park attendants at the UI's Robert Allerton Park near Monticello. I've worked here a little over 14 years.
Our job is tough to describe. We do a little of everything: maintaining
the grounds, trimming shrubs, planting flowers, mowing grass, things like
We also help with setup for occasions such as weddings and picnics. We do road maintenance, such as the patching, and do building repair and maintenance, including the rental houses, and handle security.
I have to be licensed as a wastewater treatment operator and a water plant operator because the park has its own wastewater treatment plant and water treatment plant. Part of my job is getting samples of water [from both plants] and sending them for testing by the health department and the Environmental Protection Agency. I have a Commercial Driver's License and an operator's license for applying pesticides.
I hold a degree in forestry from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale.
We plow snow and remove some trees, taking out the dead trees that we didn't get to in the warmer weather. This is also when we do building maintenance and some of the machinery maintenance.
I work regular weekdays sometimes, but I also am scheduled for weekends and then I have days off during the week. I rent a house out here so I get calls on the weekend or late at night when something happens. The other night during a storm I got a call at 1 a.m. that one of the big trees had crashed across [a main] road so I had to come out and move it.
I used to have hobbies, but I don't anymore. I go fishing. I try to get away from the park.
I really haven't. Park attendant Rick Conover has picked up on [the flower and plant specialty] over the years and does all the flower work. He grows all the annuals out here. We used to have someone in horticulture who specialized in that, but our staff has been cut from seven full-time people to four.
Probably cutting all the hedge. We have three miles of the stuff and we have to cut it every month. Most of it is 24 inches tall, so we have to bend over a lot to do it. It's pretty hard on the back.
I like working outside; there are so many different things to do. It's
hardly ever the same job twice.