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Tram Driver Interpreter - Seasonal

The Morton Arboretum
Zip Code: 
Employment type: 
Part Time
Required degree level: 
High School Diploma or GED Equivalency
Hearing Accommodations
Remote Position: 
Job Expiration Date: 

Position Summary: Transport and narrate for visitors on a 48-passenger, open-air tram on designated routes throughout the Arboretum, or narrate tour aboard visitor provided vehicles.  Provide interpretation of The Morton Arboretum, highlighting collections, seasonal elements, and Arboretum programs.  As an ambassador of the Arboretum and its mission, greet visitors and respond to inquiries.  

Essential Functions:

  • Pick-up tram at garage, complete pre-tour checklist, move tram to departure location, provide narrated tour for visitors of all ages, answer visitor questions, and return tram to garage after last tour of the day.
  • Greet passengers at tram stop 15 minutes before scheduled tour.  Remain after tour to answer questions.
  • Maintain cleanliness of tram by sweeping floor and dusting seats as needed throughout the day.
  • Use daily log to report tram operation problems and notify appropriate staff promptly.
  • Assist passengers in boarding and disembarking from vehicle if necessary.  Operate handicapped lift/ramp as necessary and secure wheelchair passengers.
  • Educate and entertain passengers with narration that highlights collections, grounds, seasonal points of interest, Morton family history, landscape features, Arboretum programs and membership.
  • Review updated information provided by supervisor through electronic media or in hard copy.
  • Participate in ongoing trainings.
  • Other duties as assigned.

Qualifications:  High school diploma or equivalent required.  Additional education of two or more years of college preferred.  Customer-oriented, safety-conscious, able to work independently, comfortable with speaking in front of a group and willing to work as part of a team.  Prior experience driving large transport vehicles and some knowledge of natural science and/or horticulture is preferred.  Excellent communication skills, professional demeanor, and articulate verbal presentation with a strong command of the English language required.  Must be at least 18 years of age.  Must become certified and maintain certification in First Aid and CPR (classes provided).  Must possess a valid driver’s license, which is subject to insurability and an annual Motor Vehicle Record (MVR) report.  Must be able to obtain and maintain insurability by Arboretum's insurance carrier by successfully completing a physical examination at defined intervals.  Must present professional image to the public by following the Tram Driver Interpreter dress code.    

Success Factors:  Customer service oriented individual who is able to relate effectively with people of various backgrounds and ages.  Teamwork, safety-consciousness, a friendly demeanor, excellent communication skills, and adaptability to various audiences and scheduling needs.  Ability to discern and adapt to the needs and interests of others, and make sound judgments based on the environment.  Interest in and ability to learn about The Morton Arboretum’s plant collections, grounds, programs, and history.

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 some physical activity:  limited lifting (up to 50 lbs.), physically able to climb aboard vehicle, assist passengers boarding the tram, and passengers with disabilities by operating accessible lift/ramp and pushing visitors seated in a wheelchair.  
  • Work Environment: Work is performed primarily outdoors, on an open-air 48-passenger tram.
  • Equipment: Tram, microphone/on-board audio system, accessible lift/ramp, two-way radio, First Aid supplies, computer.
  • Schedule: The tram operates 7-days a week from April through October, so flexibility in scheduling is essential.  Weekend and some evening work required.


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