DUNSEITH, N.D. -- The International Peace Garden recently welcomed two new hires, Meredith Swanson as Sunken Garden horticulturist and Joe Malaterre as facilities manager.

Malaterre takes over for long-time IPG employee Keith Burton, who retired in 2019. The horticulture position has been vacant since early 2019.

Growing up in a small Minnesota farming community, Swanson is no stranger to the rural plains. With a master’s degree in horticulture from North Dakota State University with an emphasis on ornamental plant improvement and experimental design, Swanson is uniquely prepared to take over the trees, shrubs, evergreens and perennials of the Sunken Garden.

Swanson will be responsible for not only the general care and maintenance of Sunken Garden, but will be working with the director of horticulture, Johannes Olwage, to execute and expand short- and long-term plans for horticulture development in the Sunken Garden and ancillary areas like the edible pollinator garden.

IPG’s second hire, Malaterre, was born and raised in the Turtle Mountains and took the reins of the facilities position in early March. As facilities manager, Malaterre is in charge of maintaining the vast IPG infrastructure, including more than 150 building’ mechanicals and other related projects. As a local, he’s no stranger to the Peace Garden.

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Malaterre comes to the IPG with an array of skills and education in general construction, mechanicals and facilities maintenance. He most recently served as site supervisor and maintenance technician for the Dunseith Border Station for the past eight years.

"The Peace Garden is a unique site that requires a variety of specialized skillsets to keep it running efficiently and manage the year-round needs for care and maintenance of facilities, grounds and plants,” said Tim Chapman, the garen’s Chief Executive Officer. “Meredith and Joe are welcome additions to our team and their education and backgrounds in their respective fields will help us continue to focus on the improvement and future growth plans for the Peace Garden."