Denver Zoo
  • Horticulture
  • Denver, CO, USA
  • Hourly
  • Full Time

This is a regular full-time hourly position with excellent benefits, including complete medical/dental/vision coverage, 403(b) retirement plan, and a generous vacation package.

Denver Zoo is a leader in animal care, wildlife conservation, education, and guest experience. We are passionate about our commitment to excellence in support of our mission to secure a better world for animals through human understanding. We provide extraordinary experiences every day for our animals and visitors and our core values of Protect, Honor, Innovate, Serve, Engage, and Empower are evident in everything we do.  We value the different strengths our staff bring to Denver Zoo. We expect our staff to embrace and to commit to our core behaviors for engagement: Passion, Respect, Innovation, Diversity, and Excellence.

Denver Zoo's Horticulture department has an opportunity for a full time Horticulture Specialist.

The Horticulture Specialist position advances Denver Zoo's mission and goals by by providing routine maintenance of the Zoo's plant collection and exhibit botanics to include monitoring, pruning, fertilizing, pest control, watering, collaborative design, and record keeping necessary to optimize the health and vigor of the living landscape.

Essential Functions:

  • Adheres to and promotes Denver Zoo's mission, core values, and strategic initiatives.
  • Coordinate, monitor and implement the maintenance programs of specified section of the zoo's landscape through soil preparation, planting, watering, fertilization.
  • Designs, coordinates, and implements all annual plant displays in responsible area with approval from Director and managing Horticulture Coordinator. Designs, coordinates, and implements perennial plant displays with approval from Director, Horticulture Manager and supervising Horticulture Coordinator.
  • Works closely with the Horticulture Technician, and seasonal Horticulture Technicians.
  • Assists Horticulture Coordinator and Horticulture Technician(s) when needed.
  • Coordinates with supervising Horticulture Coordinator on the documentation of the Zoo's botanic collection database.
  • Works with Horticulture Manager, supervising Horticulture Coordinator, Collection Coordinator and Director to manage specialty collections.
  • Participates with the Horticulture department's role in Zoo's browse program; working with Veterinary Medicine and Animal department representatives.
  • Executes an Integrated Pest Management Program for all responsible areas and coordinates needed assistance with the supervising Horticulture Coordinator and the Horticulture Manager.
  • Monitors irrigation systems in specified area(s), performs minor repairs, and coordinates with the supervising Horticulture Coordinator, Horticulture Support Manger and the Irrigation team of repairs needed beyond scope of skill level.
  • Collaborates with the arboriculture team and the Horticultural Support Manager to correctly maintain the tree and shrub collection(s) within area of responsibility.
  • Cooperate with the Volunteer Programs staff to maintain a smooth and efficiently run volunteer program for the department. Identify volunteer needs, recruit, train and provide instruction for assignments.
  • Collaborates with fellow Horticulture Specialists to develop and lead yearly intern program for the department.
  • Participates in snow removal operations and is available to work certain weekends and holidays as an on-call status for snow removal.
  • Demonstrates a commitment to Denver Zoo's Safety & Sustainability Policies by adhering to all environmental, safety, & health regulations, procedures, and goals.
  • Value and consistently apply Denver Zoo's ROADMAP (Reaching Our Audiences by Developing Mission Aligned Programs) process and resources in engaging and educating guests at Denver Zoo.

 Additional Responsibilities:

  • Performs various tasks as assigned. 


  • B.S. horticulture, landscape design, forestry, environmental science, or related fields.
  • 2 years professional experience in related field.
  • A Minimum of 5 years work experience in horticulture will be considered in lieu of not possessing a B.S. Degree.
  • Maintain a Colorado Department of Agriculture Certified Operator License. If not yet certified, obtain within 3 months of start date.
  • Strong leadership and strategic planning skills, and experience supervising staff.
  • Experience and high level of comfort with Microsoft Office and Outlook.
  • Proficiency in both written and oral communication skills; ability to produce and maintain digital records, plans and simple landscape drawings. Ability to read, interpret, and apply organizational policy and procedures and other written guidelines to work functions, and to work independently.
  • Safe Heavy Equipment Operation basics needed.
  • Clear driving record. 

 Licensure and Certification:

  • Possession of a valid Colorado Class "R" Driver's License within three months of hiring.

Physical Demands:

The physical demands for this position involves light lifting under 25lbs and also requires carrying, pushing, pulling, and occasional heavy lifting up to 60 lbs. The employee is regularly required to stand, walk, talk and listen. The employee frequently is required to use hands to maneuver handle or feel objects, tools or controls. The employee is occasionally required to sit, climb or balance; also, reach, stoop, kneel or smell. Specific vision abilities required include close, distance, color, peripheral, depth perception vision and ability to adjust focus.   Minimal crouching, crawling, climbing, and non-confined sitting are also required. The position requires both mental and visual concentration.

Work Environment:

This position requires a substantial amount of contact with staff, volunteers, and other departments. The employee occasionally works near moving mechanical parts and in outside weather conditions and may be occasionally exposed to fumes or airborne particles, chemicals and zoonosis. The noise level in the work environment is usually moderate.


Compensation and Benefits: 

This is a regular full-time hourly position with excellent benefits, including complete medical/dental/vision coverage, 403(b) retirement plan, and a generous vacation package.


Completed applications must be submitted by August 25, 2017

Denver Zoo reserves the right to close the position prior to the above date.

Denver Zoo is an Equal Opportunity Employer




Denver Zoo
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