The Living Desert is seeking an experienced Curator of Gardens to oversee all aspects of over 50 gardens throughout our park.
Located at the base of the picturesque Santa Rosa mountains in the heart of the Southern California’s Coachella Valley you’ll find an oasis in the desert - The Living Desert Zoo and Gardens. Having the mission of desert conservation through preservation, education and appreciation, our focus is on protecting animal and plant species found in the deserts of the world, including North America, Africa, and Australia. We were recently named the # 1 Zoo in North America by Yelp reviewers and Top 10 Botanical Gardens by USA Today readers. The Living Desert is accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums.
Duties and Responsibilities:
- Under directorial direction sets long and short-range goals; establishes priorities, organizes, and maintains botanical collections; initiates the acquisition/disposition of the plant collection and programs for the improvement of care, propagation, and display of the plant collection; assists in setting standards of the aesthetic look of The Living Desert.
- Directs propagator and supervises selection of all species to be propagated. Accepts or rejects plant donations based on appropriateness to collection. Searches for and purchases plant species from outside sources for current and future exhibits, gardens, landscapes, and projects.
- Assists in the planning, design, construction, and installation of new or renovated landscapes, gardens, and exhibits.
- Functions as the key liaison for the garden department during the design and construction phases.
- Directs and /or supervises the maintenance of the plant inventory and records.
- Develops departmental protocols and operating procedures.
- Maintains proper permits for the exhibition and propagation of plant collection and acts as a liaison between The Living Desert and governmental agencies (i.e., USDA).
- Oversees garden department volunteer program in conjunction with Education Department.
- Participates in administrative staff meetings, planning sessions, and committee meetings.
- Seeks development of the botanical garden and promotes its recognition through professional organizations, conferences, workshops, and public forums.
- Establish goals, objectives, and standards of performance; develop and implement operating policies and procedures for department.
- Maintain a safe and productive workplace for visitors and team members.
- Able to always deal courteously and effectively with the public, and to represent the institution at the highest standard of professionalism.
- Able to establish and maintain effective and professional working relationships with co-workers and other department personnel, and to do so in accordance with The Living Desert Employee Handbook.
- Aid other departments as needed.
- Contributes to desert conservation through reduction of waste, water and energy use, and inspiring guests and team members to take conservation actions.
- Other related responsibilities as necessary to accomplish department objectives.
B.S. degree or higher in Landscape Design/Architecture. Preferred emphasis in botany, horticulture, or other plant science or related field. Experience and/or other plant science or horticulture training may substitute. Must hold a valid California driver license and be insurable on The Living Desert's automobile policy. Must be an energetic self-starter with good leadership and communication skills and be willing to work with others in a team setting.
The ideal candidate will possess:
- A broad knowledge of horticulture/botanical terminology, practices, methods, tools, materials, and equipment used in grounds and parks maintenance.
- Software literate in Microsoft Access, Word, Excel.
- General knowledge of formulating and administering budgets.
- Good observational skills.
- Ability to speak and give presentations to public groups.
- Ability to give and comprehend written and oral instructions, and to accurately carry out such instructions.
- Ability to communicate clearly and concisely, both orally and in writing.
- Ability to form professional networking relationships with other institutions and companies.
- Must be a motivated self-starter who needs minimal supervision.
- Ability to formulate and carry out policies.
- Ability to make independent decisions in accordance with established policies and procedures.
- Must have strong interpersonal, communication and leadership skills.
- Ability to work with others in a team setting.
If you’re the person we’re looking for, please visit our website:
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