Start Date: November 2023 Compensation: $44,000-59,000
Provides horticultural support for the care and maintenance of the plant collections, gardens and landscaped areas of the Scott Arboretum and the entire Swarthmore College campus and properties owned by the College. Tasks performed include general gardening duties and plant collections maintenance; assisting in the maintenance of the Crum Woods and faculty/staff housing properties; program assistance for Scott Arboretum educational programs and volunteer education; co-supervising volunteers, student workers and summer interns; providing assistance for College events; performing maintenance to keep the campus exteriors safe; providing assistance during weather emergencies, for snow and ice during winter storms and for other grounds keeping duties; provides educational tours for Arboretum visitors.
HORTICULTURAL TASKS (70%)
- Assists in maintaining the plant collections by performing timely planting, weeding, mulching, pruning, fertilizing, irrigating, leaf raking, and other plant cultural practices with minimal supervision in order to maintain campus aesthetics and provide proper horticultural care. Assists in design modifications as needed to the Arboretum’s landscape and gardens. Assists in plant records and plant curation as needed.
- Assists in maintaining specialty garden areas consisting of Bond Rose Garden, Cosby Courtyard, Harry Wood Garden, Lang Fragrance Garden, Singer Hall landscape, Winter Garden, cherry border, peony collection, gravel culture, various courtyard gardens and major horticultural collections as the most intensively-maintained gardens on campus.
- Assists in maintaining a broad range of trees, shrubs, vines, herbaceous perennials, annuals, and turf grass; has the basic knowledge to provide proper horticultural care in a timely and efficient manner. Demonstrates ability to decide a course of action relative to soils and fertilization. Is up-to-date on accepted practices relative to soil care, pruning and planting in order to implement best management practices.
- Assists in making decisions relative to the common diseases, insects, weeds, and cultural problems of landscapes and turf in the mid-Atlantic region in order to make proper decisions for daily maintenance.
- Demonstrates familiarity with sustainable landscape/gardening practices relating to soil and plant health.
- Possesses basic knowledge of restoration processes and maintenance of natural areas such as the Crum Woods.
- Maintains Pennsylvania pesticide applicator certification for ornamentals and turf in order to legally and safely apply pesticides or organic control materials.
GROUNDSKEEPING DUTIES (20%)
- Keeps campus areas, turf, roads, sidewalks, and patios maintained in an efficient way. Has the ability to prioritize these tasks in order to provide a safe and aesthetically-pleasing campus.
- Performs trash removal, irrigation, turf renovation, turf mowing, snow removal, and leaf raking in order to efficiently maintain safety and high horticultural aesthetics on campus.
- Assists with special function set-up and tear-down in order to prepare the facilities in a timely manner for College- and Arboretum-hosted events.
- Is present for and assists in College emergencies, bad weather occurrences, and special College functions in order to maintain campus safety for students, staff, and visitors.
EDUCATION SUPPORT (10%)
- Develops, leads or assists with Arboretum classes and lectures open to members, the public and volunteers.
- Provides horticultural information to the public, members and volunteers.
- Leads or assists with various educational programs (Arboretum tours, lectures, conferences, sales and events; Alumni weekend tours) as needed.
- Lends support when requested to the College’s professors, students and educational departments in their classes and laboratories that utilize the plant collections, gardens and Crum Woods.
EQUIPMENT OPERATION AND MAINTENANCE
- Safely and proficiently uses all hand gardening tools consisting of: pruners, shovels, rakes, loppers, hedge shears, and other gardening tools.
- With proper training, safely and proficiently uses grounds power equipment consisting of: tractor, loader, trucks, lawn mower, chain saw, weed whip, turf aerator, turf slicer/seeder, snow plow and thrower, brush chipper, and other grounds maintenance equipment.
- With proper training becomes proficient at performing the daily maintenance of all grounds hand and power tools and equipment.
- Performs other job-related duties as assigned.
- Builds successful working relationships with coworkers and supervisors. Projects a positive image of the grounds department and of Swarthmore College. Communicates readily and works effectively as a member of a team.
- Works successfully with coworkers, interns, students, and Arboretum volunteers in order to efficiently and effectively accomplish the workload of the department.
- Adapts to new work situations, people, ideas, procedures, and organizational structures, in order to be successful in a constantly changing work environment.
- Exhibits maturity, reliability, composure, and stability under pressure in order to handle on-the-job stresses and challenges.
- Understands and abides by a high standard of professional ethics in order to ensure the integrity of the organization.
- Works successfully with a diverse department and upholds the College’s commitment to equal opportunity.
- Assists in daily supervision of 2-7 assigned volunteers, 1-5 student workers and 1-3 summer interns.
- Bachelor’s degree in horticulture or related discipline; or, practical horticultural training course (two to four year program) plus one to three years of job-related experience
- Prior gardening/horticulture experience
- Maintains Pennsylvania pesticide applicator certification for ornamentals and turf in order to legally and safely apply pesticides or organic control materials, or is willing to do so
- Must possess a valid driver’s license.
- Must have demonstrated knowledge of ornamental plants and turf including: plant identification, cultural requirements, care and maintenance, proper pruning techniques and IPM practices.
- Must be familiar with the operation and maintenance of hand tools and grounds maintenance equipment.
- Ability to frequently lift objects weighing up to 50 pounds and possess the physical strength to perform groundskeeping/gardening operations. Ability to carry a 35-pound backpack sprayer for extended periods.
- Hand, arm, and back strength to shovel, prune, and rake for extended periods of time. Ability to manipulate vibrating, hand-held power machinery for extended times. Ability to perform kneeling, bending, squatting motions for extended times. Ability to work from a ladder doing pruning and other plant care. Visual ability to do detailed pruning.
- Ability to read and interpret pesticide labels, machinery safety manuals, and new information related to horticultural practices. Ability to maintain written maintenance records and keep a journal of daily work.
- Ability to work under harsh weather conditions and perform emergency storm-related damage services is required. Ability to work occasional scheduled weekends. Emergency work may require time outside of the normal workday.
- Physical dexterity to perform the job and ability to work outside year-round are necessary.
- High level of productivity; work pace is frequently fast-paced.
- Ability to work with diverse crew, faculty, staff, and volunteers.