Research Horticulturist I - Full-time (Term-limit)

Lisle, IL
Full Time

The Morton Arboretum is a world-renowned nonprofit dedicated to protecting and growing trees locally and globally. The Science and Conservation Department is key in providing critical support in growing and maintaining world class plant collections. We are currently seeking a hard-working, attention to detail, full-time staff member to assist with the daily maintenance of plants in research experiments in the greenhouse and in the field. In order to be successful in this position, the candidate will need to work and communicate with the staff within the department and across the organization. This is an incredible opportunity to be part of a team working together to make the Arboretum exceptional.

Position Summary:  Maintain field experiments and research zones across the Arboretum's living collections, gardens, natural areas, and greenhouses in excellent horticultural and research condition for programs in the Center for Tree Science, a global hub of research and expertise focused entirely on trees. Contribute to research projects by performing the assigned tasks and duties. Funding for this position is temporary with an expected duration through 2024, with the potential for extension.

Essential Functions: 

  • Maintain plants in research experiments in the greenhouse and/or field in order to meet assigned research goals. Consult with research supervisors in order to assist in planning and implementing scientific studies. 

  • Routinely coordinate with other program supervisors within assigned areas, such as horticulturists, arborists, lawn crew, plant propagation, and natural areas staff.

  • Perform all horticultural functions, coordinating with appropriate Collections staff, involved in the care of a specified area, including:

  1. planting, dividing, and transplanting trees, shrubs, groundcovers, and herbaceous plants

  2. Installation and maintenance of irrigation systems

  3. weeding, mulching, and watering

  4. cultivating and fertilizing

  5. pruning and arboricultural work, removing dead and diseased wood, and dead plants

  6. participation in prescribed burn crew

  7. edging beds, brush cutting

  8. removing litter, twigs, leaves and other material from assigned and adjacent areas

  9. safe and proper use of pesticides and pesticide mixing/storage facility

  10. invasive species surveillance and control

  11. monitoring and controlling threatening insects, diseases, and nuisance animals

  12. record keeping; installing and maintaining proper plant labels

  • Maintain research area infrastructure, including but not limited to electric fences, watering systems, weather stations and other instrumentation.

  • Learn, understand, and demonstrate the ability to safely operate and maintain all motorized equipment according to the operator manuals. Responsible for proper operation and maintenance of tools and equipment used in daily work.

  • Assist in the monitoring and maintenance of research materials and equipment, in coordination with the responsible research team.

  • Research and review appropriate sources of information and protocols to maintain a current knowledge of horticultural issues relevant to ongoing laboratory research methods.

  • Provide guidance to temporary employees, students, and volunteers assisting with the experiments and communicate with external and visiting collaborators.

  • Ensure safety and cleanliness of assigned greenhouse and research sites. 

  • Other duties as assigned.

Qualifications:  Associate degree in horticulture, arboriculture, or a related field required. 9+ months of relevant work experience required. In lieu of this, 3+ years of demonstrated practical work experience in horticulture or a related field required. Strong interest in outdoor plants and their proper culture and care. Must be able to identify major plant genera, know growth characteristics, and horticultural requirements of plants. Must be able to safely operate essential equipment and tools, and have a basic understanding of them, including the care and maintenance. Must become certified and maintain certification in First Aid and CPR (classes provided). Must be able to obtain and maintain an Illinois Pesticide Operator's License. Must be able to obtain a Class C Commercial Driver’s License, which is subject to insurability and an annual Motor Vehicle Record (MVR) report. Willingness to obtain necessary training to participate and potentially lead prescribed fires.  Basic proficiency with Google applications beneficial.

Success Factors:  Ability to coordinate work with staff and supervisors across departments to ensure long-term success of numerous research projects / areas, often involving shared spaces and environments. Ability and willingness to work independently in greenhouse and field environments. Ability to perform physically demanding work outside in all weather conditions. Effective time management skills. Ability to guide and give direction to assigned temporary employees, contractors, and volunteers. Customer service oriented with the ability to relate effectively with persons internal and external to the Arboretum. Ability to embrace and align with the organization’s employee core values to be inclusive, take ownership, work together, keep learning and make the Arboretum exceptional.

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 significant physical activity: limited lifting (up to 100 lbs. assisted) carrying (up to 30-50 lbs.), bending, climbing (up to 15 ft.), walking over varied terrain. Sense of vision and hearing in the normal range with or without correction. Sense of touch and the ability to wear Personal Protective Equipment required.

  • Work Environment: Work is performed primarily outdoors in all weather conditions. Exposure to loud, prolonged noises and/or vibrations. This position requires regular on-site presence.

  • Equipment: Horticulture hand and power tools, landscape equipment, pesticides and related application equipment, irrigation controller, snow removal equipment, prescribed burn equipment, chipper, dump truck, front-end loader, mower, tractor, wheelbarrow, van, utility vehicle, aerial bucket truck, two-way radio, general office equipment.

  • Schedule: Work requires occasional evening, weekend, and holiday hours depending on the season.

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

All Arboretum employees will be required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and provide proof of that status in order to maintain their employment.

The Morton Arboretum is a champion of diversity, supporting a culture of inclusion that attracts, inspires, and engages people to achieve success. The Arboretum is committed to hire and develop employees based on job-related qualifications irrespective of race, religion, color, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, disability, or veteran status. To increase diversity in professions related to the public garden realm, we encourage applications from underrepresented minorities, persons with disabilities, and veterans.  

The Morton Arboretum is dedicated to complying with our obligations as an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer. All applicants are guaranteed equal consideration for employment. 

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