Two arboretum employee stand near a vehicle with plants in the back

Job Opening: GATEways Horticulturist

Apply by August 18, 2022

Design and care for GATEways teaching gardens, cutting-edge sustainable and educational landscapes that engage millions of visitors! Apply to be an GATEways Horticulturist at the UC Davis Arboretum and Public Garden, where every career employee receives extremely competitive health and retirement benefits including:

  • Three weeks vacation at start, holidays and paid sick leave
  • One of our state's best pension benefits and a retirement savings program
  • An impressive selection of medical, dental, vision and life insurance
  • Plus, much more...


EXPLORE UC Davis' Competitive HEALTH and RETIREMENT Benefits


Full Position Description

Job Summary

Under the supervision of the Arboretum and Public Garden's (APG) Director of Public Horticulture and Engagement and in close coordination with the Director of GATEways Horticulture and Teaching Gardens, this position operates as a project manager for projects to develop and improve GATEways teaching gardens and scientific plant collections in the Arboretum and on the UC Davis campus. Works directly with UC Davis faculty, students, and staff as well as with key community members to design and care for cutting-edge sustainable and educational landscapes that incorporate sustainable gardening strategies, innovative uses of space and technology, art, interpretive signs, plant labels, changing exhibits, and public programs that engage University visitors. Sustainable strategies include selecting regionally-appropriate plants and climate-ready plants (e.g., California native plants, Mediterranean climate plants, and desert plants) and garden designs that result in low-input and low-maintenance landscapes. Responsible for developing, managing, and implementing student internship programs, volunteer programs, and lifelong learning programs with a focus on the intersection of horticulture and health and wellbeing. Responsible for developing, managing and supervising high-level and highly-skilled volunteers, civic and student service clubs and others. Participates in a variety of fundraising activities for assigned GATEways projects, including writing grants for project and program support and providing funding proposal materials. As needed, provides donor engagement and stewardship support for Arboretum and Public Garden and GATEways donors. Manages all aspects of assigned projects, including supervision of students and volunteers, budget planning and expense reporting.

Actively participates as an expert in assigned areas such as biodiversity, sustainability, edible landscaping, urban horticulture, climate adaptation, and green infrastructure which are the core components connecting campus landscapes with UC Davis academic and research programs.

Job Scope

The UC Davis Arboretum and Public Garden (APG) is composed of three sub-teams that collectively hold responsibility for managing the entire campus landscape. This position will report to the Arboretum sub-team and collaborate with members of the Grounds and Landscape Services sub-team and the Putah Creek Riparian Reserve sub-team. The goals of the APG are to create a more visitor-friendly campus, transition to a more sustainable and resilient campus landscape that is adapted to our future climate, make the academic programs of UC Davis visible to campus visitors, build environmental leadership in students and community partners, engage the public in lifelong learning opportunities, and leverage campus financial and human resources. Key programs of the APG include the UC Davis GATEways Project, the Learning by Leading™ Program, Nature Rx, and the Living Landscape Adaptation Plan. The GATEways Project transforms the campus into physical and programmatic portals for the public to engage in the riches of UC Davis. The Learning by Leading Program builds environmental leadership skills with students through hands-on, real-world projects and programs involving mentorship by staff, faculty and community members. Through the Nature Rx program, campus and regional community members learn how to support their health and wellbeing through experiences with plants, gardens, and nature. The Living Landscape Adaptation Plan charts a course for sustaining a thriving campus landscape in the face of significant climate change disruptions.

Essential Responsibilities

  • 40% Leadership for facilitating the development and maintenance of GATEways Gardens and Arboretum collection
    Oversee the development and maintenance of sustainable and educational landscapes. Serve as project leader to fulfill research and teaching goals, use best practices in environmental science and sustainable horticulture, and create opportunities for visitor outreach. Assist in climate adaptation planning, collection reviews, exhibit development and team trainings. Work with APG leadership, academic partners, campus and civic leaders, staff, students and outside consultants (i.e. landscape architects) to design and install landscapes that are horticulturally cutting-edge, regionally- appropriate, visitor-friendly and incorporate education and outreach, innovative uses of space and technology, art, health and wellbeing features, etc. to engage visitors. Serve as a key staff liaison with academic programs to develop instructional plans and regionally- appropriate teaching landscape designs that meet their engagement goals. Oversee all project management issues including timelines, budget, resources, and personnel. Work with plant records specialist to maintain accurate plant collection records. Seek innovative ways to reduce costs and increase efficiency. Work collaboratively with Grounds sub-team operations staff to address overall maintenance and training needs. Work as part of high-performance horticultural/grounds team.
  • 30% Leadership of volunteer, community service, and lifelong learning programs
    Supervise professional services volunteers, campus and community partners, and student employees in the development, leadership and maintenance of GATEways gardens and Arboretum collections. Recruit, train, and supervise volunteers to build and help maintain specialty gardens, collections, educational landscapes, and exhibits. Work with community leaders to engage volunteers in creating community- build gardens and exhibits. Organize/manage community work days and manage volunteer projects. Work with students and local service clubs to develop shared-leadership model for community-building days.

    Assist with organization of programs and events for students, volunteers, and the general public to increase the visibility and/or research and teaching use of APG landscapes, collections and programs with a special focus on the intersection of horticulture and health and wellbeing.
  • 20% Leadership for research, education and student Learning By Leading programs
    Develop innovative learning and leadership experiences for UC Davis students in the realm of horticulture and horticultural outreach. Actively participate in developing programs that engage students with GATEways landscapes and Arboretum collections. Develop leadership roles for students at every phase of landscape planning and design, collection enhancement and implementation.

    Participate in developing educational outreach activities for students including facilitating training, and workshops. Develop opportunities for students to interact as public ambassadors for UC Davis and the Learning by Leading Program. Mentor students in the development and implementation of lifelong learning programs for the public. Work directly with faculty supervisors in setting student goals and reviewing accomplishments. Document student work, including organizing end-of-quarter evaluations, reflections and testimonials.
  • 10% Support for GATEways fundraising activities
    Participate in fundraising activities for APG projects and programs as part of a team-based, profit-center model. Participate in donor presentations and tours, and donor/earned-income events (e.g., plant sales) as horticultural expert. Connect donors with student leaders to show the work of GATEways, NatureRx, Learning by Leading, and the Living Landscape Adaptation Plan. Collaborate with faculty and staff researchers to develop projects for foundation and grant-funded projects. Write grant and foundation proposals, project budgets, and timelines.

    Collaborate with researchers and faculty on their research projects in the APG.

Physical Demands

  • Position requires lifting up to 50 lbs. and working outdoors in a variety of weather conditions.
  • Must be able to bend, stoop, and lift a variety of materials such as tools, plants, soil and potting mix.

Work Environment

  • Valid CA driver's license required.
  • Work occasional overtime, evenings/nights, weekends and holidays, usually on short-term to meet operational needs.
  • Work schedule for position is Tuesday through Saturday.

UC Davis is a smoke and tobacco free campus effective January 1, 2014. Smoking, the use of smokeless tobacco products, and the use of unregulated nicotine products (e-cigarettes) will be strictly prohibited on any UC Davis owned or leased property, indoors and outdoors, including parking lots and residential space.

Minimum Qualifications

  • Education in and demonstrated experience with applied best practices in horticultural science.
  • Familiarity with identification and geographic origin of a wide variety of plants suitable for cultivation in garden settings.
  • Knowledge of sustainability issues and experience implementing solutions in landscapes, horticulture, water management, etc.
  • Knowledge of climate threats to Central Valley landscapes and adaptation strategies.
  • Experience designing thematic planting plans (e.g., drought- tolerant, low-maintenance, appropriate for a given region, centered around varied educational messages).
  • Demonstrated experience implementing new landscapes and maintaining new and existing landscapes.
  • Experience in developing and maintaining effective relationships with researchers, academic partners, community members, donors and other stakeholders.
  • Experience in museum collection management, curation, and interpretation.
  • Experience developing programs for and managing adult/community volunteers in implementing and maintaining landscape/garden projects.
  • Leadership skills to recruit, manage, teach and motivate volunteers and students.
  • Experience managing university student internship programs.
  • Experience in designing, planning and delivering public programs to diverse audiences.
  • Leadership and management experience that include planning, problem-solving and decision-making.
  • Skills to establish goals, prepare project plans and budgets, and evaluate results and desired outcomes.
  • Organizational and project management skills to prioritize, organize, and manage multiple projects; to work effectively under pressure with conflicting deadlines; and to solve problems on an ad-hoc basis.
  • Interpersonal and communication skills to work effectively and diplomatically with people from diverse ethnic, economic and cultural backgrounds, including students, staff, faculty, prospective donors and the general public.
  • Skills in the use of a broad range of Windows-based software, including word processing and spreadsheet programs such as MS Office. Skills to use database software.
  • Writing skills for the preparation of articles, grant proposals, project proposals, and reports.

Preferred Qualifications

  • Familiarity with identification and geographic origin of a wide variety of plants suitable for cultivation in California, preferably Central California.
  • Skills to propagate regionally-appropriate plants.
  • Experience with recruitment, education and retention of adult volunteers.
  • Experience mentoring/fostering leadership in university students. Experience in developing programs that allow students to take on successively greater leadership roles as their abilities grow.


EXPLORE UC Davis' Competitive HEALTH and RETIREMENT Benefits


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