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Media Relations Specialist

The Morton Arboretum
Zip Code: 
Occupational fields: 
Arts, Design, and Media
Fields of study: 
Media / Communication
Employment type: 
Full time
Years of experience: 
3 - 5 years
Required degree level: 
Bachelors degree
Vision Accommodations
Hearing Accommodations
Remote Position: 
Job Expiration Date: 

We’re a world-renowned nonprofit with an opportunity for a creative self-starter with a minimum of three years public relations experience and an interest in nature and conservation. We’re seeking someone who loves to dig into complex, scientific topics and make them understandable in written communication, and thrives in a fast-paced environment. You must have experience writing complex subject matter, including press releases. 

General Summary: Advance The Morton Arboretum’s mission to encourage the planting and conservation of trees for a greener, healthier, and more beautiful world by developing messaging and securing media placements that position the Arboretum as a top tree science and conservation organization locally and globally. 

In your cover letter, describe how your experience has prepared you for this position.

Position Summary: Work collaboratively with the Arboretum’s Science and Conservation team to proactively identify, develop, and pursue story ideas that showcase the institution’s leadership in tree science and conservation, and promote team members as experts. Draft media relations materials, including pitches, briefing materials, press releases, yearly calendars, and coverage reports, demonstrating writing excellence throughout. Develop science, conservation, and collection-related social media content. 


  • Bachelor’s degree in Public Relations or related field and  3+ years professional experience in public relations required, with proven record of media placements. 

  • Experience in non-profit or higher education with a focus on science or conservation beneficial. 

  • Ability to translate complex concepts into lay-friendly language for media outlets, with a track record of successfully pitching and placing these types of stories. Established contacts in the science/conservation/environmental media a plus. 

  • Fundamental understanding of how to tell a compelling story to a variety of audiences, and a clear understanding of how public relations fits within an organization’s institutional goals.

  • Excellent writing and speaking skills required. 

  • Working knowledge of Cision or other electronic media distribution and tracking service preferred. Ability to stay current with best practices and evolving trends in media relations and analytics required. Proficiency with Google applications beneficial. 

Success Factors: Creative, clear communicator with knowledge of AP Style and the ability to adapt to and sustain a brand voice. Curious, and driven to understand the Arboretum’s mission-focused work. Ability to handle multiple assignments simultaneously and quickly with strong attention to detail. Self-starter, creative, innovative, and a knack for thinking “out of the box.” Ability to relate effectively with people of various backgrounds and ages, as part of an institutional commitment to diversity and inclusion. A commitment to, and ability to effectively convey, the Arboretum’s mission with genuine passion, and the willingness to continually learn about the programs and mission. 

Physical Demands and Work Environment: The physical demands and work environment characteristics 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 these essential functions. 

● Physical Demands: Work requires some physical activity: walking over all types of terrain, in various weather conditions. 

● Work Environment: Work is performed primarily indoors, in an office setting, although travel within the grounds and buildings of the Arboretum is occasionally required. 

● Equipment: General office equipment. Driving a golf cart. 

● Schedule: Position requires some weekend, evening, or early morning hours.

Applications without a resume or cover letter will not be considered.

To apply, visit

The Morton Arboretum is a champion of diversity, supporting a culture of inclusion that attracts, inspires, and engages people to achieve success.  The Arboretum is committed to hire and develop employees based on job-related qualifications irrespective of race, religion, color, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, disability, or veteran status.  To increase diversity in professions related to the public garden realm, we encourage applications from underrepresented minorities, persons with disabilities, and veterans.  

The Morton Arboretum is dedicated to complying with our obligations as an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer.  All applicants are guaranteed equal consideration for employment.

The Morton Arboretum is a magnificent outdoor museum with a mission to collect and study trees, shrubs, and other plants from around the world, to display them across naturally beautiful landscapes for people to study and enjoy, and to learn how to grow them in ways that enhance our environment. Our goal is to encourage the planting and conservation of trees and other plants for a greener, healthier, and more beautiful world. The Arboretum ranks among the leading arboretums of the world in size, age, quality of specimens, and programs in Plant Collections, Science and Conservation, and Education.

History:  Established in 1922 by Mr. Joy Morton, founder of the Morton Salt Company and son of J. Sterling Morton, the originator of Arbor Day, the Arboretum has grown to include 1,700 acres of plant collections and gardens amid spectacular natural landscapes of woodlands, prairie, lakes, and streams.

Plant Collections:  The Arboretum grows and displays a rich diversity of trees, shrubs, and other plants that are Collections evaluated for their suitability for the midwestern United States. These living collections include 222,000 plant specimens representing 4,650 different kinds of plants. Arranged by geographic, taxonomic, and other special groupings, the collections are enhanced by restored natural areas of native plants.

Science and Conservation:  The Research Program focuses on practical scientific studies; key areas include tree health, tree Conservation improvement, and woodland conservation. Housed in the state-of-the-art Research Center is a Herbarium with a collection of 200,000 dried specimens for botanical research. The Chicago Region Trees Initiative develops strategies for tree and urban forest improvement; the Community Trees program advocates for trees in 274 communities in seven counties. ArbNet, facilitated by The Morton Arboretum, is an interactive professional community of arboreta with programs to foster advancements among tree-focused gardens. Science and conservation initiatives address international needs to build partnerships and save endangered trees.

Education:  The Education Program is relevant to needs and interests in learning about plants, nature, and ways to improve our world. Through the Thornhill Education Center, classes and other offerings for adults, youth and family, and schools and scouts serve 47,000 participants, with 646 schools partaking of field, lab, and outreach programs. Also available are teacher-training resources and a cooperative botany degree program with regional colleges and universities. The Sterling Morton Library contains collections of 27,000 volumes on botany, horticulture, natural history, and ecology; rare books, periodicals, and catalogs; and 12,000 botanical artworks. The Plant Clinic answers inquiries from 536 zip codes about plant selection and care. 

Vision Accommodations, Hearing Accommodations, Mobility