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USDA Climate-Smart Horticulturist II - PT 



Seeking a motivated, creative, and passionate Climate-Smart Horticulturist for our Botany Department at the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum!

Brief Summary of Position
The Arizona Alliance for Climate-Smart Foods is a grant-funded project promoting climate-smart food production practices to help Arizona farmers reduce water use and carbon emissions. Over the course of three years, the project will 1) identify promising desert-adapted crops and germplasm, 2) incentivize farmers to adopt these crops along with water-wise growing practices, and 3) develop and expand markets for the resulting climate-smart products and foods. The Arizona Alliance partners include the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, the University of Arizona, Local First Arizona, and the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Sciences.

The Horticulturist performs various duties to support grant activities related to desert crops and wild crop relatives (e.g., agave, prickly pear, desert legumes). These include duties in the office, in the plant nursery, on Museum grounds, in the field or on farms, and at public events. The Horticulturist will assist with the identification and acquisition of desert crops and crop wild relative germplasm, care for project-related plants, landscapes, and gardens on-grounds, and participate in work, field trips, and public programming both on- and off-grounds.

Note: Application review will begin immediately and will continue until the position is filled. Please understand that if offered a position, you will be required to successfully complete a pre-employment drug screen and provide the equivalent of a satisfactory 3-year Drivers History Record as a final condition of employment.


Job Title: USDA Climate-Smart Horticulturist II 
Department: Botany
Reports To: Curator of Botany
FLSA Status: Non-Exempt
Compensation: $16.25 per hour - (This is a part-time grant-funded position for 16 hours a week) - Term: 1 year with possibility to extend up to 3 years. 

Essential Duties and Responsibilities include the following. Other duties may be assigned. 

  • Work collaboratively with other project members and partner institutions.
  • Work independently and efficiently on assigned projects.
  • Read, analyze, and interpret common scientific and technical journals.
  • Participate in public programming (events, workshops, etc.) on- and off-grounds.
  • Participate in field trips and off-grounds work.
  • Oversee volunteers.
  • Planting, watering, weeding, pruning, fertilizing areas of responsibility.
  • Collect, organize, and manage data from propagation and field trials (survival, growth, health, etc.).
  • Succulent, cactus, shrub, and tree installation and pruning. Hazardous cactus removal.
  • Propagation duties for desert crops and crop wild relatives.
  • Keep accurate accession records of the botanical collection within assigned areas of responsibility.
  • Apply pesticides as needed, guided by Integrated Pest Management concepts.
  • Design, install, and troubleshoot irrigation systems.
  • Use and maintain hand and power tools.
  • Interpretation of botanical and horticultural subjects to the general public.
  • Opportunity to be involved in teaching and writing.
  • May participate in tours and traditional/social media requests

Supervisory Responsibilities
This job has no supervisory responsibilities.

Position Requirements

Education and/or Experience
Bachelor's degree from four-year college or university; or one to two years related experience and/or training; or equivalent combination of education and experience.

Language Skills
Ability to read, analyze, and interpret general business periodicals, professional journals, technical procedures, or governmental regulations. Ability to write reports, business correspondence, and procedure manuals. Ability to effectively present information and respond to questions from groups of managers, clients, customers, and the general public.

Mathematical Skills
Ability to calculate figures and amounts such as discounts, proportions, percentages, area, circumference, and volume. Ability to apply concepts of basic algebra and geometry.

Reasoning Ability
Ability to apply common sense understanding to carry out instructions furnished in written, oral, or diagram form. Ability to deal with problems involving several concrete variables in standardized situations.

Technical Skills
To perform this job successfully, an individual should have basic computer software knowledge to include word processing, data base, and spreadsheet applications. Knowledge of or ability to learn Rain Bird Maxicom Central Control System highly desirable. Geographic Information Systems knowledge is desirable. New staff are trained by senior staff to enter data into a Geographic Information Systems (GIS) database using tablet applications; cloud based mapping systems and desktop GIS applications. The position also reviews existing or incoming data for currency, accuracy, usefulness, quality, or completeness of documentation.

Computer Skills
To perform this job successfully, an individual should have knowledge of Word, Excel, PowerPoint and cloud storage platforms such as Google Drive and Dropbox

Other Skills and Abilities

  • Knowledge of Sonoran Desert region flora and desert food plants desirable.
  • Good written and oral communication skills.
  • Ability to work independently (after training) and problem solving.
  • Weekend work may be required.

Certificates, Licenses, Registrations

  • Valid Arizona Driver’s License or ability to obtain
  • Satisfactory 39-month AZ DMV report 

Physical Demands
The physical demands described here are representative of those that must be met by an employee to successfully perform the essential functions of this job. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.

While performing the duties of this position, the employee is regularly required to stand; use hands to finger, handle, or feel and reach with hands and arms. The employee is frequently required to walk and stoop, kneel, crouch, or crawl. The employee is occasionally required to sit, climb or balance; talk or hear and taste or smell. The employee must frequently lift and/or move up to 10 pounds and occasionally lift and/or move more than 100 pounds with the assistance of equipment. Specific vision abilities required by this job include close vision, distance vision, peripheral vision, depth perception and ability to adjust focus.

Work Environment
The work environment characteristics described here are representative of those an employee encounters while performing the essential functions of this job. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.

While performing the duties of this position, the employee is regularly exposed to all aspects of outside weather conditions. The employee is occasionally exposed to wet and/or humid conditions; moving mechanical parts; high, precarious places; fumes or airborne particles; toxic or caustic chemicals; extreme heat; risk of electrical shock and vibration. The noise level in the work environment is usually moderate.

While performing the duties of this position, the employee is regularly exposed to plants that are armed with spines, thorns, and urticating hairs. Some of these plants may contain chemical compounds that may irritate skin and/or cause allergic reactions.

While performing the duties of this position, the employee may be exposed to stinging and biting insects, venomous reptiles, small mammals, and working in close proximity to housed mammals and reptiles.

The above description reflects a general overview of the responsibilities and position requirements for this job classification. It is not intended to be a complete description of all duties and requirements that may be inherent in the position. The Museum is a drug and alcohol free workplace and participates in E-Verify.


IDEA Commitment
The Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum is committed to fostering a welcoming space and a diverse, inclusive team that reflects the communities in which we live and work. We understand that inclusion, diversity, equity, and accessibility (IDEA) are integral to the fulfillment of our mission, and to our success as an organization. We are working to build the structures, policies, hiring practices and organizational culture that ensure representation and opportunity for all, and create an environment of belonging where everyone feels respected, safe, and understood. As we continue to engage in this work, we are integrating the core values of IDEA into our programs, exhibits, communications, and other public offerings. Valuing each other’s differences brings us together to create a thriving workplace and fair work culture, allowing us to fulfill our mission more effectively.

We believe inclusion is everyone’s responsibility. Ways in which our commitment is demonstrated include continuous development, modeling inclusive behaviors, and proactively addressing bias. Visit the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum’s IDEA page to learn more.

The Museum’s IDEA Coalition consists of staff members who are driving our efforts to build a culture where people feel they belong and have a voice.

The Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum is a non-profit institution dedicated to the conservation and research of the Sonoran Desert region with the goal of making the Sonoran Desert accessible, understandable and valued. We are a fusion experience zoo, botanical garden, aquarium, art gallery, natural history museum, and research institute. The Association of Zoos & Aquariums has recognized the Desert Museum for over 25 years of continuous accreditation.

The mission of the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum is to inspire people to live in harmony with the natural world by fostering love, appreciation, and understanding of the Sonoran Desert.

EOE Statement We are an equal opportunity employer with a strong commitment to diversity and inclusion. For this position, we are seeking candidates who are U.S. citizens or permanent green card holders. We believe that inclusive teams with diverse perspectives are essential to our success and encourage applicants from all backgrounds to apply, within the remit of the eligibility criteria.  
Open Date 3/26/2024  

This position is currently not accepting applications.

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