Overview of Naturalist

The Gabis Arboretum is looking for a Naturalist who delivers meaningful environmental education experiences that seek to improve the environmental literacy of diverse audiences. Responsibilities include leading group tours, field trips, public classes and virtual environmental education programs. The Naturalist will use the arboretum trails and ecosystems as a classroom to create a connection with the natural world for program participants and guests. The Naturalist will also maintain the arboretum’s native areas through invasive removal, participation in controlled burns, pesticide application and other maintenance techniques. The ideal candidate will be knowledgeable about native ecology and wildlife. The position requires a collaborative spirit while working with staff and volunteers to support the arboretum’s mission.

The Gabis Arboretum at Purdue Northwest is a 300-acre nature preserve focused on woody plant collections, environmental education programs and community events. The arboretum is part of Purdue University Northwest and located in Valparaiso, IN.

Duties and Responsibilities of Naturalist
  • Develop, coordinate and implement nature-based education public programming for youth and adults
  • Adapt and maintain curriculum for field trips
  • Lead group tours and field trips
  • Informally teach nature based public classes and virtual programs
  • Train volunteers to assist in the delivery of education programs
  • Stewardship of the arboretum’s natural areas
  • Assists with general maintenance of grounds, gardens and trails with primary time focused on maintenance of natural areas
  • Performs invasive removal
  • Participates in conducting controlled prairie burns, tree removal, pesticide application, and other specialized maintenance techniques
  • Assist with wildlife habitat management projects
  • Snow removal
  • Provides leadership and training to volunteers
  • Lead volunteer efforts in restoration projects
  • Train volunteers on programs for field trips
  • Participate and represent the arboretum in environmentally-focused community groups and maintain relationships
  • Assist with grant-writing for programs and projects as opportunities arise
  • Perform other duties as assigned.

Experience of Naturalist
  • 1 year of work experience in nature-based or environmental education programming
  • Must also have experience working with a variety of audiences including PreK-12 school groups, community groups, families, and adults
  • Experience operating machinery such as mowers and trimmers preferred
  • Experience working outdoors with land maintenance and/or plant maintenance
  • Experience operating snow removal equipment preferred.

Benefits of Naturalist
  • Tuition remission at any Purdue campus
  • University contribution of 10% to retirement (3 year waiting period)
  • University contributions to Health Savings Account –
    • Plus a chance to earn more through participating in University Wellness Initiatives
  • Accrue 15 days’ vacation your first year, then 22 days’ vacation your 2nd year plus rollover
  • Employee Wellness Programs
  • 10 paid holidays
  • Paid Parental Leave after one year of service
  • Free Vision Insurance

For more information on our excellent benefit package, please visit: https://www.pnw.edu/human-resources/benefits/

Education of Naturalist
  • HS Diploma required
  • Bachelor’s degree in environmental science, education, biology, horticulture, forestry, or a related field preferred
  • A combination of education & experience may be considered.

Core Competencies of Naturalist
  • Base knowledge of natural sciences, environmental principles, local plant species and local wildlife
  • Ability to operate grounds maintenance equipment
  • Ability to work outdoors and in various weather conditions
  • Ability to hike throughout the arboretum
  • Ability to deliver meaningful nature-related programs to various age groups
  • Must be proficient in Microsoft Office programs
  • Strong leadership and communication skills
  • Ability to work Tuesdays-Saturdays
  • Ability to lift and carry 10-25 lbs frequently and up to 40 lbs
  • Experience with herbicide application and invasive plant management preferred
  • Experience writing grants preferred
  • Current first aid and CPR certification preferred, or willingness to obtain

Additional Information

Professional references will be verified prior to any offer of employment. Employment is contingent upon completion of successful background check along with a motor vehicle records check if applicable.

Purdue University Northwest is an EEO/AA employer fully committed to achieving a diverse workforce.  All individuals, including minorities, women, individuals with disabilities, and protected veterans are encouraged to apply.