Plant Health Care Leader - Full-time
Lisle, IL
Full Time

Position Summary:   Lead, facilitate and manage the Plant Health Care program through diagnosis and record keeping of plant pest and disease problems on the Arboretum grounds, synthesis of current research and knowledge content, and development and implementation of plant health care training.  Design and implement applied research in collaboration with the Center for Tree Science and industry partners.

Essential Functions:

  • Design, plan, and implement program goals and future strategies for the Arboretum related to plant health care.
  • Manage all aspects of day-to-day plant health care program operation, maintenance, and safety.  Manage an operational budget and pursue external funding by developing and submitting grant proposals that further the strategic goals of the Arboretum.
  • Provide diagnostic analysis for the care and management of the Arboretums’ grounds, collections and Plant Clinic, carry out technical laboratory tests, provide recommendation for treatment, make improvements for protocol development, and record diagnosis in arboretum database.
  • Identify current and emerging pest and disease problems in the region.  Identify key areas of needed research and develop applied research projects, both independently and in collaboration with scientists in the Center for Tree Science and industry partners.
  • Accurately compile, evaluate, analyze, interpret data, and publish findings.  Prepare reports and analyses setting forth progress, trends, and recommendations or conclusions.  Prepare and deliver presentations to a range of audiences.
  • Leverage and expand professional networks of diagnostic clinics, universities, industry and other relevant professionals to expand reach, collaboration and knowledge.
  • Collaborate and ensure regular communications and development of shared goals with other related Arboretum programs including Collections, Plant Clinic, Forest Health, Forest Pest Outreach, and Science and Conservation.
  • Provide training and technical support for staff, interns, and volunteers assisting in pest and disease scouting on Arboretum grounds, including data collection and processing.
  • Other duties as assigned.

Qualifications:  Master’s degree in plant pathology, entomology, urban forestry, horticulture, biological sciences, or related field required, PhD preferred.  3+ years professional experience in diagnosis of disease and insect pests of woody landscape plants required.  Demonstrated knowledge of the principles of research design, data analysis, and ability to conduct independent research.  Excellent organizational skills and a capacity to function independently and as part of an interdepartmental team required.  Proven record of strong communication and collaboration skills including the ability to adapt communications to a variety of professional and lay audiences.  Strong computer and internet research skills, with a proficiency at managing files and records, and preparation of images and scientific graphics, required.  Must possess a valid driver’s license, which is subject to insurability and an annual Motor Vehicle Record (MVR) report.  Proficiency with Microsoft Office and Google applications beneficial.

Success Factors:  Ability to comprehend the scientific procedures, research results, and the use of computer programs through self-study.  Ability and willingness to work in a laboratory and in the field.  Ability to prioritize, manage multiple projects simultaneously, follow through in a timely manner, and assure timely completion of projects.  Strong analytical skills and an ability to get to the heart of a problem quickly.  Flexibility, excellent interpersonal skills, and the ability to work well with all levels of internal management and staff, as well as outside clients and vendors.

Physical Demands and Work Environment: The physical demands and work environment characteristics described here are representative of those that must be met by an employee to successfully perform the essential functions of this job.  Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform these essential functions.

  • Physical Demands: Requires some physical activity: walking over varied terrain, bending, limited lifting and carrying (up to 30 lbs. assisted).  Manual dexterity and visual acuity to observe plants. Use of chemicals may be necessary, ability to wear Personal Protective Equipment required. Some travel required. 
  • Work Environment: Office environment and Arboretum grounds.  Work is performed indoors and outdoors, in a variety of weather conditions.
  • Equipment: General office equipment, field and laboratory equipment, including specialized equipment relating to particular field of research, Arboretum pick-up truck and/or utility vehicle.

For full consideration, please include resume and cover letter with application.

The Morton Arboretum is an equal opportunity employer committed to achieving a diverse workforce.  EOE/M/F/D/V/SO

If you have questions, please contact