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Manager of Horticulture

Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo & Aquarium
Omaha, United States Posted: November 10, 2023

The Manager of Horticulture at Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo & Aquarium (OHDZA) leads the Zoo’s horticulture team, providing direction and oversight of all horticulture activities, including the planning, design, procurement, implementation, and supervision of the zoo’s living plant collections to enhance an immersive guest experience, compliment animal habitats and increase opportunities to deliver on the Zoo’s mission. OHDZA’s mission is to inspire, educate and engage people to serve as lifelong stewards for the conservation of animals and their habitats. The Manager of Horticulture is a key leader of the Zoo team, touching on all aspects of operations, including indoor and outdoor spaces, animal habitats, exhibits and guest areas. Although located at Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo & Aquarium (in Omaha, NE), this position’s duties and responsibilities also apply to the Lee G. Simmons Wildlife Safari Park, in Ashland, NE where work is done in coordination and collaboration with the Safari Park superintendent.

Duties and Responsibilities/Essential Functions (include but not limited to):
  • Reports to the Director of Facilities Operations to develop immediate and long-term plans for achieving and maintaining horticultural excellence.
  • Manages and coordinates all initiatives of the Horticulture Department to maintain extraordinary Zoo landscapes and plants, and supporting an immersive guest experience that attracts and engages all audiences.
  • The duties and responsibilities listed apply to the Wildlife Safari Park in coordination with the Safari Park Superintendent.
  • Designs, conceptualizes, directs and manages all horticulture activities, including four-season horticulture design, plant cultivation and protection, turf and tree care, greenhouse production and sustainability practices.
  • Develops, assesses and monitors annual horticulture plans and the corresponding budgets.
  • Works collaboratively with other Zoo teams and external contractors to coordinate implementation of project work on Zoo grounds.
  • Provides strong leadership, management, support and professional development opportunities to the Zoo’s horticulture team. Hires, develops, motivates and monitors horticulture team performance and engagement, including delegating appropriate responsibility and accountability, while fostering strong, positive work relationships and high team morale.
  • Develops, maintains, and promotes positive and professional relationships with team members, volunteers, vendors, contractors, guests, and members, to achieve departmental and organizational goals.
  • Develops, implements, and manages appropriate record keeping systems managing horticultural collection, and other departmental records.
  • Represents Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo & Aquarium within the Greater Omaha community and to national professional audiences. .
  • Contributes to the Zoo’s mission, conservation, and education initiatives (such as the incorporation of native species to support local pollinators, songbirds and native wildlife species), guest formal and informal education endeavors, and support of field conservation programs.
  • Develops and fosters a strong working relationship with the animal care teams in the design, operation and maintenance of exhibit landscapes and adjacent areas.
  • Facilitates collaborative work with the Zoo’s animal nutrition and browse teams to enhance animal welfare and ensure safety when animals consume plants.
  • Ensures compliance with regulatory and safety standards, such as OSHA and EPA, as well as state, local and federal ordinances. Observes safety regulations and ensures that field teams do the same.
  • Provides landscape design input and horticultural expertise for select capital improvement, renovations and other large projects.
  • Performs other duties as required within the scope of the duties in this job classification in order to support the Zoo’s mission.
Supervisory Responsibilities:
  • Recruits, hires, supervise, trains, mentors, evaluates, and develops team members.
  • Schedules and coordinates work and staffing for the Horticulture Department in conjunction with team supervisors
  • Provides oversight and meets expectations and deadlines of assigned special projects.
  • Directly supervises the Horticulture Supervisors.
Required Qualifications:
  • Bachelor’s degree in landscape design, horticulture, garden management, agricultural, botany, life sciences or related degree. Five years or more of professional experience in a related position, including progressive supervisory experience and demonstrable organizational success in a similar role.
  • Demonstrable experience and understanding of horticulture operations and the design of complex gardens, landscapes and plantings in a large facility.
  • Demonstrable knowledge and background in the identification and culture of plants, as well as working knowledge of horticultural zones and best practices for indoor and outdoor landscapes.
  • Must have a valid driver’s license.
  • Must be able to coordinate multiple tasks simultaneously.
Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities:
  • Strong leadership and management skills, including delegation, prioritization of activities and responsibilities, conveying clarity, and strong interpersonal and teamwork skills.
  • High emotional intelligence and relationship-building skills.
  • Thorough knowledge of botanical garden collections, taxonomy and geography to support authentic immersive guest experiences through the Zoo
  • Ability to support science and sustainability practices
  • Creative and aesthetic landscape design skills.
  • Strong guest service, teamwork, and interpersonal skills.
  • Outstanding horticulture or related garden design skills.
  • Project management, organizational and planning skills.
  • Excellent communication and presentation skills, both written and verbal, that are effective with a range of audiences including staff, volunteers, professional groups, general public and media.
  • Knowledge and proficiency in Microsoft Office suite is required, familiarity with record keeping, landscape design, project management or construction software is desired.
  • Knowledge with national accreditation programs is desired.
  • Ability to serve and create experiences for diverse audiences.
Work Environment/Physical Demands:
  • This position works in both an office environment and outside. Significant exposure to weather is possible.
  • Position requires individual to be able to stand and walk for extended periods.
  • Travel Required
  • Some travel is required (conferences, workshops)

The information presented indicates the general nature and level of work expected of employees in this classification. It is not designed to contain, nor is it to be interpreted as, a comprehensive inventory of all duties, responsibilities, qualifications and objectives required of employees assigned to this job.

Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo & Aquarium is an Equal Employment Opportunity Employer as defined by the EEOC.

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