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Urban Garden Lab Instructor

Requisition Number: 
Windy City Harvest
Job Status: 
Coordinate and teach a spring (ten-week, after-school/Saturdays), summer (seven-week), and fall (ten-week, after-school/Saturdays), after-school program (15 students ages 15–18) at After School Matters' downtown headquarters. The Urban Garden Lab instructor will guide youth in their exploration of the environmental and community benefits to rooftop gardening and help them discover the science behind sustainable urban agriculture.
Duties and Responsibilities: 

In this role you will be responsible for the following:

  • In cooperation with Chicago Botanic Garden staff, organize appropriate curriculum for the spring ten-week after-school program, summer seven-weeek daytime program, and fall ten-week after-school program including field trips, classroom activities, and fieldwork.
  • In cooperation with Chicago Botanic Garden staff, prioritize materials procurement for physical classroom space and lab activities including plants (edible, ornamental, and ecological) for existing rooftop planting space.
  • Interview and select 15 students from After School Matters applicant pool for participation in each section of the Urban Teen Growers program.
  • With students, plan and implement a final showcase during each section for students to present their work to ASM/Garden staff, funders, and community members.
  • Plan, plant, and maintain 40-bed rooftop farm and ten-bed container garden farm at the Thompson Center, including plant design and plant procurement (including growing starts for farm) with teens and outside program time.
  • Supervise one part-time (summer only) college-aged intern who will assist with lesson plan delivery, plant maintenance, and program implementation.
  • Supervise volunteers interested in helping with the program.
  • Lead team-building exercises.
  • Manage related site tasks including tool and machinery use and maintenance, deliveries, and general security during operating hours.
  • Act as a resource for information for project partners, community membrs, Garden staff, and the media as required, including regular program updates to all program partners.
  • Work with ASM staff to ensure all ASM policies and procedures are being followed.

Our ideal candidate will have the following:

  • At least two years experience working with teens in an experiential education environment
  • Ability to work independently
  • Flexibility to meet the demands of two ever growing and changing organizations
  • Experience with hydro- and aquaponics systems
  • Growing in a hyper urban environment
  • Ability to work with many stakeholders to meet the requirements of all while providing an amazing learning experience for a diverse group of teens
  • Dependibility to arrive early for and stay late after every class session
  • Experience with growing edible plants along with ornamentals to create aesthetically pleasing arrangements
  • Cooking experience using whole fresh foods
Physical Demands: 
Speaking loudly for long periods of time in an indoor environment that can be extremely hot and/or cold. Carrying awkward, heavy packages from 1st floor to 3rd floor roof. Carting 125-foot hoses six blocks to water farm at the Thompson Center. This is a physically demanding position that requires the candidate to lift up to 50 pounds.
Why Apply?: 

Come work in a setting that is like no other as you support our mission: We cultivate the power of plants to sustain and enrich life. Take the first step toward being one of the employees who make the Garden one of the treasures of the Forest Preserves of Cook County. Apply today. Please note that applicants who do not meet the required qualifications will not be considered.

Disclaimer: The above statements are intended to describe the general nature and level of work being performed by people assigned to this classification. They are not intended to be construed as an exhaustive list of all responsibilities and qualifications required of personnel so classified.