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Assistant Horticulturist, Butterflies & Blooms

Requisition Number: 
Interpretive Programs
Job Status: 
The assistant horticulturist works closely with Interpretive Program staff in the exhibition to maintain the plants and butterflies and to facilitate the visitor experience during public hours. The person in this position also works with Horticulture & Visitor Services.

Care for the butterflies, maintain the plantings, and interact with visitors and volunteers in the exhibition on weekends. 

Duties and Responsibilities: 

In this role you will be responsible for the following: 

  • Perform general landscape installation and ongoing maintenance tasks including watering, weeding, grooming, removing debris, path raking, fertilizing, and monitoring for plant health issues. 
  • Care for the living butterfly collection by collecting and properly disposing of any caterpillars and dead butterflies; carry out morning and afternoon releases of adult butterflies and monitor daily for pupae diseases and health of the adults. Collect, purchase, and prepare supplemental diets and monitor level of natural nectar sources. Replace as needed. 
  • Comply with all USDA containment requirements and assure that all workers follow proper procedures. Report all inconsistencies to the Plant Health Care supervisor. 
  • Oversee and coordinate activities of horticulture volunteers. 
  • Monitor the number and variety of species (adult butterflies, pupae, and plants) in the exhibition. Update exhibition signage and provide species identification for volunteers and visitors. 
  • Interact with staff, volunteers, and the public. Speak to a wide variety of visitors and answer questions from volunteers and visitors about the exhibition and butterfly gardening. 
  • Assist with weekly replacement pupae orders and shipments as needed. Learn to mount and label pupae in emergence chamber as needed. 
  • Work with Volunteer Facilitator to staff interpretive positions and doors as needed to provide breaks and to cover for unexpected absences of scheduled staff and volunteers. 
  • Maintain a high level of computer literacy for purposes of interdepartmental documentation and communication. 
  • Assist with special exhibition programs, tours, or events as needed. 

Our ideal candidate will have the following: 

  • The ability to lead a volunteer group (typically two volunteers) in maintaining the garden. 
  • Ability to maintain accurate records. 
  • Has completed a horticulture training program or taken classes in gardening with a minimum of six months' experience in landscape maintenance. 
  • Has completed some undergraduate work in biology or entomology, or has a degree in any of the life sciences, and desires to learn about the life cycle and handling of butterflies. 
  • Excellent customer service and verbal communication skills. 
  • Commit to working Saturdays and Sundays (7 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.) from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day weekend. 
Physical Demands: 
Must be able to lift, push, pull, and carry items up to 50 pounds. Able to work in the exhibit under any weather conditions—hot, humid, rain, or cold.
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.

In accordance with Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1972, Chicago Botanic Garden does not discriminate on the basis of sex in its programs or activities, including in employment or admissions. Please call (847) 835-8264 to contact our Title IX Coordinator should you have questions or concerns.