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Plant Production Aide

The Morton Arboretum
Zip Code: 
Fields of study: 
Environment / Agriculture
Employment type: 
Required degree level: 
High School Diploma or GED Equivalency
Vision Accommodations
Hearing Accommodations
Remote Position: 
Job Expiration Date: 

General Summary:  Assist the plant production staff in propagation, culture, and production of plants, and with the maintenance and development of the nurseries.  Full-time hours (37.5 hours per week) for six months.


Qualifications: High school diploma or equivalent required.  Interest in growing woody and perennial plants, and in learning cultural techniques used in greenhouse and nursery production required.  Previous horticultural work experience is a plus.  Ability to operate machinery and equipment used in nursery and greenhouse management.  Must possess a valid driver’s license, which is subject to insurability and an annual Motor Vehicle Record (MVR) report. 


Success Factors: Strong attention to detail.  Physical strength and stamina to perform tasks associated with nursery and greenhouse production. 


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: Requires regular amount of physical activity: some lifting and carrying (up to 60 lbs. assisted), bending, climbing (up to 8 ft.), pushing, pulling, standing or sitting for prolonged periods, walking, and kneeling.  Sense of vision in the normal range with or without correction.  Sense of touch and the ability to wear Personal Protective Equipment required
  • Work Environment: Work is performed in a combination of indoors and outdoors, sometimes in hot greenhouse environments.
  • Equipment: Typical plant care and growing equipment, greenhouse and environmental controls, hand and power tools, Arboretum pick-up truck and Cushman cart, commercial riding mower, and skid steer tractor.
  • Schedule: Monday-Friday 7 am - 3:30 pm; requires occasional weekends and holidays, collectively or in rotation with other employees to maintain


The Morton Arboretum is an equal opportunity employer – disability/veteran.

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