Shedd Aquarium is home to a diverse group of interpreted gardens covering 4 acres that are maintained by the Horticulture department. The gardens include a variety of natural landscapes, food production and ornamental displays. Public programming about environmental sustainability and the relationship between the landscape and the aquatic environment in Chicago is a key tenant of Shedd’s Guest Experience.
This full-time, exempt position leads the horticulture program in all areas of the grounds maintenance, planning, and programming. At Shedd Aquarium, the Horticulture Programs Manager will lead teams of contractors, staff, interns and volunteers in the care of an extensive plant collection, organic vegetable gardens, native landscapes and ornamental gardens. This work includes garden planning, managing annual operating budgets, watering, propagation, planting, organic pest management and plant pruning, harvesting, managing weeds and invasive plants. The Horticulture Programs Manager will also work across the organization and with Learning and Conservation departments to develop programming for the public regarding sustainable practices and links to environmental conservation. The Horticulture Programs Manger will contribute to computer records and plant databases, which includes research, cataloguing, photographing and labeling plant collections.
Demonstrate commitment to Shedd’s vision, mission and values.
Supervise all aspects of garden maintenance and planning. This includes, but may not be limited to: planting, weeding, watering and pruning on an as needed basis.
Initiate and partner in the creation of dynamic programs for the public that leverage Shedd’s gardens, landscape, and proximity to Lake Michigan.
Works collaboratively with various departments, but especially with Learning and Conservation divisions in addition to external program partners.
Garden design and care of native landscapes including the propagation of plants and sourcing from vendor partners.
Advise and lead capital gardens initiatives and manage irrigation systems
Recordkeeping – research, cataloguing, photographing, and labeling, and ongoing supervision of annual operating budget.
Manage vendor partnerships for exterior landscapes.
Assists and advises in design and maintenance of interior exhibit spaces.
Oversees bee keeping responsibilities for the organization.
Share and build knowledge of conservation, environmental issues and nature studies.
Other duties & projects as assigned.
Bachelors’ degree in Horticulture, Environmental Science, Landscape Design, or related field
7-10 years of experience in a public garden with significant responsibility horticulture design, maintenance, programming and public access
Ability to design and maintain gardens for effective public use
Experience creating dynamic programs that bring the public into contact with sustainable landscapes and the environmental impact of gardens
Knowledge of all types of plant material including knowledge and experiences with organic growing methods
Experience working in a public setting such as a botanical garden, museum setting, or public landscape with historic elements or significant environmental programs desired
Ability to lead and mentor staff, volunteers and interns
Experience working with and supervising contract and seasonal staff to create and maintain gardens
Interest in and ability to initiate and steward partnerships, learning programs and other efforts
Strong communicator, with computer literacy required
A keen interest in organic practices
Must be a team player who is well organized and able to keep track of daily work details/hours
Strong work ethic – both in groups or independently
Special Physical Requirements:
Lifting as much as 80 pounds may be required. Must be able to work in extreme weather, and should be comfortable working in the dirt
Comfortable with heights for purposes of accessing rooftop garden
We strongly encourage people of color, LGBTQ+ community, veterans and active duty military, parents, individuals with disabilities, and individuals from all cultural backgrounds to apply. Shedd Aquarium is an equal opportunity employer and welcomes everyone to our team.
If you need a reasonable accommodation at any point in the application or interview process, please let us know. In your application, please feel free to select which pronouns you use (For example – she/her/hers, he/him/his, they/them/theirs).