Seasonal Assistant, Plant Health Care

Requisition Number: 
Plant Health Care
Job Status: 
The assistant plant health care, seasonal, is charged with the primary responsibility of keeping the general grounds weed free. Most of the time is spent working independently out on the general grounds, performing manual weed control, spraying herbicides, and performing general landscape maintenance. This position also assists the plant health care specialists with other duties such as fertilization, pruning, equipment maintenance, making spray treatments, aerating turf, and other projects. As needed, this position will assist with general landscape maintenance tasks, such as planting, transplanting, pruning trees and shrubs, watering, mulching, mowing, maintaining tools and equipment, chipping brush, weeding, removing refuse, deadheading, edging, and greenhouse work under the direction of the grounds crew. There may be occasional evening, weekend, and holiday hours requested. This is a full-time, seasonal position of 26 weeks, with an anticipated start date of early April. The hours are 6 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
Duties and Responsibilities: 

In this role, you will be responsible for the following: 

  • Remove weeds using manual techniques and herbicide sprays under the direction of the plant health care supervisor. 
  • Maintain an accurate daily log of herbicide applied. 
  • Safely operate small equipment such as golf carts, weed whips, leaf blowers, chain saws, and sprayers.
  • Inform the plant health care supervisor of disease, insect, weed, and animal problems, as well as tool and equipment problems.
  • Keep tools, supplies, vehicles, and work areas clean and organized.
  • Assist with Plant Health Care Department activities such as equipment maintenance, fertilization, making spray treatments, and aerating turf under the direction of the Plant Health Care specialists.
  • As needed, perform the following tasks, consisting primarily of manual labor under the direction of full-time grounds crew staff: mulching, planting, transplanting, pruning trees and shrubs, watering, maintaining tools and equipment, chipping brush, removing debris, deadheading, edging, and greenhouse work.
  • Work safely without injury to self, others, property or plants.
  • Respond to public and staff questions for general information. Interact daily with staff, volunteers, and the public in a friendly and respectful manner. 
  • Assist the Horticulture division with support for special events and other projects as needed.

Key Garden competencies/behaviors desired

  • Communicates in a manner that gains the trust and support of others at all levels.
  • Works effectively with others despite differences of opinion and style; builds alliances.
  • Has a tolerance for opposing points of view.
  • Strives for collaboration. Works cooperatively, as a positive contributor to the team.
  • Demonstrates a positive attitude and shows kindness in all workplace interactions.
  • Makes decisions appropriate for level of responsibility.
  • Can effectively adapt to change; can shift gears comfortably; is flexible, and embraces change with a “can-do” attitude.
  • Is self-aware; knows personal strengths and weaknesses; seeks feedback and is open to negative feedback as an opportunity for improvement.
  • Is cool under pressure; can be counted on to hold things together during tough times; can handle stress; is not knocked off balance by the unexpected; is a settling influence during a crisis.
  • Recognizes problems, constructively identifies and articulates solutions.
  • Picks up garbage when it is seen regardless of position.
  • Follows safety guidelines to ensure a safe working environment and consistently demonstrates safe work behaviors.
  • Is welcoming of new hires.

Our ideal candidate will have the following:

  • Completed a horticulture-training program or taken classes in gardening, with experience in landscape maintenance.
  • Must be able to identify weeds. 
  • Must obtain a pesticide operator’s license through the Illinois Department of Agriculture within the first month of employment. 
  • Good written and verbal communication skills.
  • A valid driver’s license and insurable by the Chicago Horticultural Society is preferred but not required.
Physical Demands: 
Must be able to lift, push, pull, and carry items up to 50 pounds. Must be able and willing to work outdoors when the weather is hot, humid, or cold. Be comfortable working on slopes and step ladders.
Why Apply?: 

Seasonal positions generally have an assignment that are less than 9 months. Seasonals are offered a multitude of benefits which may include paid holidays with an additional generous flat amount premium for working on an actual holiday, Life Time Fitness subsidized discount, Garden Membership, Complimentary General Admission to other Cultural  Institutions such as the Art Institute and the Shedd, complimentary tickets to special Garden events (e.g. Orchid Show, Night of 1000 jack-o lanterns) special employee plus guest events, and more.

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.

We are an Equal Opportunity Employer and do not discriminate against any employee or applicant for employment because of race, color, sex, age, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, status as a veteran, and basis of disability or any other federal, state or local protected class.

In accordance with Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1972, the 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.