Posted: March 15, 2017

Arboretum Natural Areas Program Assistant

Opportunity: The Natural Areas Program Assistant is a part-time position housed within The Arboretum at Penn State. The incumbent works under the direction of the Arboretum's Director of Horticulture & Curator to plan, document, and coordinate day-to-day operations of the Wildflower Trail project, the Arboretum's ongoing woodland restoration effort. In addition, the incumbent may assist with the planning and implementation of other projects located in the Arboretum's natural areas, including its prairie restoration site. This is a paid part-time, year-round position, with a typical commitment of 10 hours/week during the academic year and up to 40 hours/week during the summer. Exact start date is negotiable. Responsibilities:

  • Planning and Documentation: Work with supervisor to establish annual project work plans, including location and extent of project work areas, targets and time frames for invasive plant removal and native plant introduction, and spring procurement lists for desirable woody and herbaceous species. Conduct field inventories of past plantings to determine survival and success rates. Monitor conditions inside and outside deer exclosure to assess extent of deer herbivory.
  • Restoration Activities: Lead targeted removal of non-native invasive plants in key woodland and natural areas. Lead efforts to re-establish native plants in these areas, with special emphasis on establishing ephemeral wildflowers for the Wildflower Trail project. Identify and facilitate removal of hazardous trees and limbs near walking trails. Lead efforts to maintain and improve walking trails.
  • Volunteer Management: Recruit, schedule, and supervise groups of student volunteers for Saturday work sessions during the academic year. Publicize volunteer opportunities through flyers, listserve postings, and via Arboretum website and social media. Plan activities for each session, and coordinate equipment and labor support as needed.
  • Project Communication:
    • Internal Communication: Schedule quarterly project committee meetings, and distribute agendas, minutes, and other committee materials.
    • External Communication: Collaborate in development of educational and interpretive materials, including project signage, a brochure map/guide, and website content. Assist with development and delivery of educational programs, including guided seasonal wildflower walks.
  • Qualifications: Applicants should be enrolled in or have graduated from a degree program in Plant Science, Forest Science, Biology, Ecology, Environmental Resource Management, Landscape Architecture, or a related field of study. Experience with Microsoft Office is required. Experience with Adobe design software and/or mapping software such as ArcGIS will be considered an advantage. Previous experience with plant nomenclature and identification is preferred. Applicants should hold, or be willing to obtain, a PA Pesticide Applicator License (CORE and Category 18) within 6 months of hire. A valid PA driver's license is required. This position involves physical work outdoors in variable weather conditions, and the incumbent will be required to bend, stoop, carry, and lift up to 40 lbs. in the course of performing the duties of this position.

Application: Applications must be submitted electronically via the Penn State Jobs website at This position is listed as Job #69770. Please make certain to include a cover letter and resume in application materials. Instructions for using the PSU Jobs website are available at Qualified applicants will be contacted for in-person interviews.

Submitted by Kathleen Reeder (