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Horticulture Manager

Oregon Zoo
Portland, United States Posted: June 22, 2024

Hello, we’re Metro! Metro is dedicated to shaping a better future for the greater Portland region. The work the people of Metro do every day benefits the lives of the people who live here, today, and tomorrow.

The Oregon Zoo is seeking a strategic leader for the operations, personnel, and programs of our horticulture team. This is an exciting opportunity to support the Oregon Zoo’s mission, contribute to conservation and education efforts, and enhance the guest experience by developing and maintaining vibrant and engaging landscapes.  

About the Oregon Zoo:
  • Community supported since 1888, the Oregon Zoo provides exceptional experiences to our community to inspire them to create a better future for wildlife.
  • From education programs to conservation efforts, the Zoo is working to save species regionally and worldwide. With more than 1.2 million guests a year, the Oregon Zoo is the top paid cultural attraction in the Pacific Northwest.
  • Additionally, the Zoo reaches audiences across the world with over 5 million social media followers.
  • The Oregon Zoo is recognized as a leader in animal care by our staff, volunteers, guests, and partners.
  • One of the greenest Zoos in the country, the Oregon Zoo is home to a state-of-the-art Veterinary Medical Center, on-campus endocrine lab, world-class elephant program, plus three new habitats – Polar Passage, Rhino Ridge, and Primate Forest.
As the Horticulture Manager you will:
  • Plan, coordinate, and optimize the Zoo’s botanical collection, arboriculture, landscape, grounds, and greenhouses. 
  • Supervise and mentor assigned staff fostering a culture of collaboration and excellence. 
  • Align horticulture programs with strategic priorities, focusing on sustainability, accessibility, and equity. 
  • Develop and maintain the Zoo’s horticulture database, and research and select plant species appropriate the application and climate. 
  • Provide horticulture and landscape architecture expertise in planning for infrastructure improvement, including exhibits and guest areas. Collaborate on innovative solutions to meet the needs of animals, staff, and guests.
  • Execute landscape construction projects, develop specifications, procure, and manage contractors, perform quality assurance, and coordinate with other departments.
  • Direct and monitor the planting, growing, harvesting, and delivery of browse for the living collection. Partner with other stakeholders to develop the browse program to respond to animal health, welfare, and husbandry needs.
  • Develop and implement volunteer and internship programs, horticulture education, and plant conservation projects.
  • Act as a resource for other Zoo divisions for public communication regarding the botanical collection and horticulture programs. Assist Marketing by reviewing information for public release. Serve as a spokesperson or assign other staff to present to the public horticulture information in forums such as interviews, meetings, and panels.
  • Monitor the maintenance, operation, and installation of irrigation systems.
  • Direct, coordinate, and monitor the integrated pest management for the entire Zoo using contractors and staff, ensuring compliance with and rules and regulations for the application of pesticides and herbicides, including proper documentation.
  • Direct the Zoo’s response to ice and snow and execute the Zoo’s Snow and Ice Removal Procedure, including but not limited to the de-icing and clearing of snow from walks, pathways, and parking lots throughout the Zoo during inclement weather. 
  • Manage and maintain the Zoo’s composting program, including “Zoo Doo.”
  • Participate in the preparation and administration of the Horticulture budget based on resource availability and requirements, and program goals and objectives. Prepare required reports or information in a timely manner as requested.
  • Serve a member of Facilities leadership team and support other departments’ operations, projects, and emergency response. 
Attributes for success:
  • Knowledge of and ability to apply horticulture best practices, including plant species identification, cultivation techniques, pest and disease management, soil science, and plant nutrition. Knowledge of local flora and their appropriate use.
  • Knowledge of arboriculture and experience with canopy management. 
  • Knowledge of the requirements for creating and maintaining naturalistic environments.
  • Experience managing plant collections, including plant procurement, inventory management, propagation, and maintenance. Knowledge of plant taxonomy, labeling, record keeping, and the ability to curate diverse plant collections. 
  • Ability to design and plan landscape to create aesthetically pleasing and functional outdoor spaces. Knowledge of plant placement, color schemes, water features, pathways, and seating areas.
  • Ability to understand how the needs and behaviors of animals are crucial to the design and maintenance of landscapes that are safe and enriching. 
  • Knowledge of effective management practices, including team building, personnel supervision, training, and performance management.
  • Knowledge of integrated pest management and the ability to manage a pest control program. 
  • Ability to respond to emergencies, including after hours. Ability to implement standard operating procedures and respond to emergencies, including inclement weather.
  • Ability to collaborate on the identification of appropriate plant browse materials for specific animals and direct the cultivation, harvest, and delivery of browse material. Ability to collaborate on developing community partnerships for browse donations.
  • Ability to ensure the work of staff, contractors, and volunteers is performed in a safe manor, and knowledgeable of the appropriate use of PPE.
  • Knowledge of laws, regulations, ordinances, and operating procedures of the horticulture programs.
  • Ability to develop, implement and monitor department budget, and knowledge of public contracting and procurement procedures.
  • Ability to communicate effectively with the public, fellow employees, and representatives of other organizations.
  • Ability to write clear and concise reports and make recommendations for future action.
  • Knowledge of project management best practices, including scoping, scheduling, and budget management.
  • Ability to maintain accurate and complete business records.
DIVERSITY AND INCLUSION                                              
  • At Metro, we strive to cultivate diversity, advance equity, and practice inclusion in all of its work.
  • This means attracting and empowering a workforce that is inclusive of a broad range of human qualities.
  • Workplace diversity is both a moral imperative and a business strength, essential to providing quality support and services to our region.
  • Metro’s goal is to hire, develop and retain highly skilled and talented individuals across all departments and programs who best reflect the diversity of our community.  
  • We will consider any combination of relevant work experience, volunteering, education, and transferable skills as qualifying unless an item or section is labeled required.
  • Please be clear and specific in your application materials on how your background is relevant.
Minimum qualifications: 
  • Advanced knowledge and training, which can be evidenced by a college degree and 
  • Four years of  horticulture experience in venues, attractions, or other public settings
  • Three years of supervisory experience
  • We will consider any combination of education and experience that provides the necessary knowledge, skills, and abilities to perform the duties and responsibilities of the position.
  • A valid Driver’s License 
  • Possession or ability to obtain a State of Oregon Public Pesticide Applicators License
Working environment:
  • Oregon Zoo is a unique event venue and hours will vary according to the needs of the zoo and events.
  • Due to the nature of the work, working on site will allow the candidate to have the most success in the role. 
If this statement is true for you, then you may be ineligible to apply:
  • If I was terminated for cause during any of my employment with Metro, or resigned in lieu of termination, I understand I may be ineligible for rehire for a minimum of 3 years.
Like to have qualifications:
  • You do not need to have the following preferred qualifications/transferable skills to qualify.
  • However, keep in mind we may consider some or all of the following when identifying the most qualified candidates.
  • Your transferable skills are any skills you have gained through education, work experience, including the military, or life experience that are relevant for this position. 
  • Bachelor’s Degree in a horticulture-related field
  • Five years of horticulture experience in a zoo or other animal-focused facility
  • Three years of experience with arboriculture and canopy management
Experience Required
Minimum qualifications:
  • Advanced knowledge and training, which can be evidenced by a college degree and Four years of horticulture experience in venues, attractions, or other public settings.
  • Three years of supervisory experience.
  • We will consider any combination of education and experience that provides the necessary knowledge, skills, and abilities to perform the duties and responsibilities of the position.
  • A valid Driver’s License. Possession or ability to obtain a State of Oregon Public Pesticide Applicators License.
  • $99,695.00 - $133,601.00 Annually

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