Lincoln Park Zoo inspires communities to create environments where wildlife will thrive in our urbanizing world. The zoo is a leader in local and global conservation, animal care and welfare, learning, and science. A historic Chicago landmark founded in 1868, the not-for-profit Lincoln Park Zoo, is a privately-managed, member-supported organization and is free and open 365 days a year.
The department of Animal Care and Horticulture are an integrated team that cares for the animals and plants that live at the Lincoln Park Zoo.
Horticulturist report to the Director of Horticulture and are critical hands-on members of the horticulture team, responsible for performing day-to-day plant care and garden maintenance in her or his landscape area. Horticulturist also regularly provide direction and supervision of volunteer gardeners.
ESSENTIAL JOB FUNCTIONS
- Able to work all days of the week on a flexible schedule. A weekend shift may be assigned during peak growing season.
- Frequently works independently and in groups with other zoo staff and volunteers.
- Daily inspection of assigned garden areas, ensuring gardens meet aesthetic standards and that safety concerns are addressed.
- Daily grooming and weeding of garden beds, containers, and interiorscapes.
- Daily watering of planted containers, garden beds, lawns, and interiorscapes. Setup and removal of hoses as necessary for watering task, using watering cans and other watering tools as needed.
- Installation of display plants, seasonal greens, and permanent collections plants under the guidance of Director of Horticulture and/or Manager of Plant Records and Horticulture Programs.
- Pruning of trees, shrubs, and hedges using power and manual tools; maintaining proprer tool sanitation.
- Assists with garden planning and design in assigned landscape areas and interiorscapes.
- Utilizes knowledge of plant identification to coordinate with animal care staff to protect zoo animals from potentially toxic plants.
- Uses appropriate technology, tools, and other resources to support operational and programmatic activities.
- Capture plant record events (planting, removals, rejuvenation pruning, label failures, etc.) and report those to Manager of Plant Records and Horticulture Programs.
- Participate in plant health care, following best cultural practices and integrated pest management plans.
- Maintain an Illinois pesticide operator license and work in coordination with Associate Manager of Horticulture Operations (or staff person holding an Illinois pesticide applicator license) to ensure appropriate use of plant pesticide and fertilizers on zoo grounds and report chemical use to Associate Manager of Horticulture Operations for recording.
- Maintains inventory, cleanliness and function of daily use tools and supplies. Support the Associate Manager of Horticulture Operations in general tool maintenance and organization.
- Aid in the repair and maintenance of irrigation systems, under the guidance of the Associate Manager of Horticulture Operations.
- Ensures cleanliness, order, and safety of working environment for her or his self and those in and surrounding the work site.
- Assists with escorting horticulture contractors as needed.
- Support in recruitment, onboarding, regular training of gardening volunteers.
- Lead semiweekly volunteer gardening crews, coordinating gardening activities, tracking volunteer gardener’s attendance, hours, and interactions with each other and guest. Regularly inspecting volunteer gardener’s work and ensuring quality standards are being met in planting, weeding, and general cultivation.
- May be asked to represent the zoo at internal and external functions, including but not limited to zoo donor tours, zoo special events and professional meetings and conferences
- May use vehicle for zoo pick-ups and deliveries
- May be asked to direct volunteers and guests in a zoo emergency
- May be asked to participate in zoo horticulture-related programming
- May be asked to participate in a zoo committee
- Performs other duties as assigned
KNOWLEDGE, SKILLS & ABILITIES
- Thorough knowledge of and ability to communicate and be understood in verbal and written business English
- Knowledge of common plant species and growing requirements
- Knowledge of appropriate horticulture techniques and practices
- Knowledge of proper handling and use on a variety of related tools, equipment and machinery
- Knowledge in PCs, word processing, and spreadsheets
- Ability to operate electric cart, gas cart, and other transportation equipment
- Ability to effect and enforce safe work practices
- Ability to respond calmly and productively in emergency situations be they human or animal
- Ability to interact courteously and respectfully with supervisors, fellow employees, volunteers, zoo visitors and general public
- Ability to understand and carry out oral and written directions
- Ability to organize tasks and time to ensure timely completion of all projects
- Ability to train volunteers in proper horticultural practices and procedures
- Skilled in public speaking and moderating groups of people
Associate’s degree in horticulture or related field, Bachelors degree preferred.
Two years related experience, preferably working with horticulture and volunteer groups.
Note: A comparable combination of education, experience or training that would provide the level of knowledge, skills and ability required may qualify individual.
- Ability to lift on frequent basis up to 75 lbs. Ability to remain on feet for long periods of time. Ability to frequently bend, stoop, reach and climb. Ability to safely and effectively utilize the program tools and equipment. Ability to move about on sometimes slippery, muddy surfaces.
- Ability to work in all weather conditions. Ability to work on uneven terrain
- No allergy to plants or animals which may interfere with the ability to work.
- Available to work weekends, holidays and evenings as assigned
- Available to work special events that may occur outside of regular work schedule as assigned
- Available to assist with emergency and storm related horticulture events as needed, including potential to be called in on days that are scheduled off or during unscheduled hours
- Must have valid driver’s license with good driving record
- Ability to obtain an Illinois pesticide operator license
- Able to work flex schedule seasonally
Lincoln Park Zoo is committed to an environment that is inclusive and welcoming. We celebrate the diverse qualities, perspectives, values and experiences of all people. For Wildlife. For All.
Please see Lincoln Park Zoo's careers webpage to apply: