The ideal candidate is energized by the opportunity to help shape programs from the ground up at an award-winning new 40-acre urban nature park, Paradise Creek Nature Park,www.paradiscreeknaturepark.org, in Portsmouth, VA.
Featuring restored tidal wetlands and an urban forest under on-going revitalization with native plants, the park serves the non-profit Elizabeth River Project's mission to engage the public in restoring the environmental health of the urban Elizabeth River.
Responsibilities of this job:
1) Serve as site manager to oversee the horticultural integrity of volunteer, student and youth efforts to restore the conservation value of an urban landscape that includes a mature forest, tidal wetlands and native plant beds;
2) Conduct safety patrols and coordinate site safety initiatives;
3) Provide horticulture training to staff, volunteers, students and youth with a special focus on introducing conservation ethics and horticulture skills to urban youth.
A degree and experience in horticulture, conservation landscape gardening or closely related fields is required. Law enforcement experience is also a big plus; experience as an armed park ranger is ideal but not required. A minimum of three years’ experience is preferred working with public parks including experience and compatibility with conducting safety patrols (urban setting preferred). Excellent communication skills required. Must enjoy and have an aptitude for small handy-man projects as well as landscaping. Experience presenting education programs a plus.
The ranger will work as part of a team of environmental educators on the staff of the Elizabeth River Project, www.elizabethriver.org, one of the oldest and largest non-profits working to restore any tributary of the Chesapeake Bay. The ranger will coordinate efforts with the City of Portsmouth, which separately provides routine site maintenance such as mowing and trail maintenance. In an award-winning partnership, the City operates the site as its third largest public park while Elizabeth River Project manages volunteer, education and environmental conservation landscaping at the site. This position reports to the Elizabeth River Project. Full-time hours, typically Tuesday-Saturday; competitive salary and strong benefits.
Serve as site manager responsible for planning, coordinating and overseeing the horticultural integrity of multiple on-going projects to enhance the conservation value of the park’s urban forest, restored tidal wetland, managed beds and educational facilities.
Multiple other staff will design and lead volunteer, student and youth programs at the park to plant and maintain native species and remove invasive species.
The role of the Senior Urban Park Ranger will be to ensure a dynamic master plan for conservation landscaping is being followed throughout these initiatives; effective landscaping practices are used to enhance survival of plantings and enhance the aesthetic and educational experience of park visitors, and the plan is continually adjusted as site conditions change, taking into account expert advice of multiple project partners.
Includes hands-on landscape gardening. Requires the ability to work outdoors in all conditions for long periods of time, ability to lift at least 50 lbs., ability to use gardening tools and power-operated equipment.
Oversee a part-time landscaping assistant.
Oversee the landscaping integrity of initiatives to include an “edible park” program promoting edible native plants, a start-up “youth conservation corps” engaging urban youth in to remove invasive plants, plant native plants, pick up litter and the like; episodic volunteer events to assist with landscaping, and student field trips to engage students in “service learning” in which they install or maintain native plant beds for the benefit of wildlife.
Coordinate conservation landscaping efforts of Elizabeth River Project with routine maintenance efforts of the City of Portsmouth.
Conduct routine park safety patrols to provide a friendly, welcoming presence to visitors while identifying and proactively addressing safety risks. Notify enforcement, medical response and other authorities as appropriate.
Oversee facility management for a modest two-room education building operated by Elizabeth River Project. Perform light facility maintenance as needed and/or coordinate contractor assistance with maintenance.
Train volunteers, staff, students and youth in horticultural techniques such as planting, weeding, removing invasive species, transplanting and thinning. Assist with school field trips as needed as part of a larger education team of Elizabeth River Project.
Assist with management of grants and budgets relating to the park.
Other duties as assigned to support the education and restoration programs of the Elizabeth River Project.
Horticulture or closely related degree and conservation landscaping experience is required. Ability to identify native plants of SE Virginia and identify and plan for effective removal of invasive species for SE Virginia. Experience with creating and carrying out landscape master plans to achieve goals in both aesthetics and environmental enhancement.
Law enforcement experience a big plus. Experience as an armed park ranger ideal but not required.
A minimum of three years’ experience in a public park setting is preferred, to include experience and compatibility with safety patrols (experience in an urban setting is preferred).
Training/experience presenting youth /volunteer education programs preferred. Excellent communication skills; ability to communicate horticulture topics with contagious enthusiasm.
Management training and experience; proven ability to multi-task, meet deadlines, manage budgets, manage other staff and volunteers
Excellent public interaction skills. Pleasant, welcoming attitude.
A strong understanding and commitment to environmental stewardship.
Must pass a criminal background check
Must be available for a schedule that includes Saturdays on a routine basis
Ability to work outdoors for prolonged periods in all weather
Ability to lift 50 lbs. and operate landscape equipment
A “can do,” positive attitude
Ability to problem-solve and think independently
Can manage logistical challenges and emergencies in the field
Compatible with a small, fast-paced, non-profit work environment
Courage and persistence - thrives on the challenge of inventing new programs
Additional Salary Information: Great benefits
About Elizabeth River Project
Join a fast-growing, award-winning non-profit working to restore the environmental health of the urban Elizabeth River in the Norfolk, VA., area. This team operates two environmental education programs: the Learning Barge, "America's Greenest Vessel," and Paradise Creek Nature Park, a 40-acre urban park that is a partnership with the City of Portsmouth.
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