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Garden Naturalist

TITLE: Garden Naturalist

DEPARTMENT: Horticulture

REPORTS TO: Garden Supervisor

CLASSIFICATION: Full-time; Permanent; Non-exempt; Hourly

Bok Tower Garden is currently seeking a full-time Garden Naturalist. The primary responsibility is to perform general gardening duties to maintain the integrity and beauty of the Florida Garden, which encompasses the following: Florida Flatwoods, Window by the Pond, Bog and Sandhill ecosystems. This will also include the care and cultivation of the Endangered Plant Garden. There will be occasional coordinated assistance required cutting, spraying, burning, and bush removal in upland pine habitats under the coordination of the Land Steward.

This position will require leading programmed school groups and visitor tours through the natural areas and provide Florida native ecosystem interpretation. Occasional duties required include supporting and training of volunteers, students and interns, perform general gardening duties as required to maintain the integrity and beauty of the Gardens and oversee the proper operating procedures for the Pond filter and Wetland re-circulating pump. Responsibilities also include debris removal off boardwalk and pathways, the maintenance of water bodies, wildlife feeding stations and garden furnishings


  • Bachelor’s degree in horticulture, natural resources or agriculture required
  • Minimum of two years managing ecosystems for federal, state and local park systems with additional gardens and ground experience preferred


  • Previous experience in garden or grounds maintenance with the ability to operate various types of power equipment (lawnmower, chainsaw, front-end loader, tractors, etc.)
  • Interest in and willingness to learn Central Florida horticulture and the aesthetic ethic of the Gardens
  • Ability to establish and maintain effective working relationships with staff, volunteers and interns
  • Ability to understand and interpret instruction to work effectively and efficiently with minimal supervision
  • Ability to perform strenuous physical work outside in the Florida weather year-round
  • Ability to lift at least 60 lbs.
  • Ability to pass a background check and drug screen test
  • Ability to implement vegetation and wildlife management plans
  • Ability to recognize plant communities and specific ecotypes
  • Ability to maintain optimal species via hand weeding, mechanical and chemical means
  • Ability to assist in the evaluation of ecological conditions pertaining to the various ecotypes and recommend management strategies
  • Ability to increase biological fauna and flora diversity through habitat stewardship; this includes vertebrates and invertebrates
  • Ability to actively promote Bok Tower Garden’s green sustainable initiatives.
  • Ability to provide scheduled native Florida ecosystem interpretative programming walking tours for visitors, volunteers, school groups and camps


  • Inspects assigned area daily to assess maintenance needs:
    • Determine plant needs – water stress, disease and damage, growth decline, pruning needs, and general health of plants; reports major problems to Garden Supervisor
    • Determine maintenance needs – weeding (pulling of weeds or treating weeds with herbicide to prevent re-sprouting), , clearing of fallen debris, or pathway maintenance
    • Maintain labeling on specimen plants; report damage or missing labels to the Garden Supervisor
    • Communicate daily with Garden Supervisor or for special daily work assignments or garden concerns; schedules or concerns may change throughout the year based on planting schedules, weather concerns or possible design changes by the Director
    • Proper herbicide calibration for hand sprayers and larger pieces of equipment
  • Responsible for the use and maintenance of tools, equipment, and materials
  • Performs minor maintenance, lubrication, and cleaning of power equipment
  • Care for pond filter and re-circulating pump refers more serious problems to the Garden Supervisor or Mechanic
  • Responsible for maintaining required knowledge of established garden plants and understanding the cultural requirements to maintain their growth and cultivation
  • Demonstrates a continual positive effort to maintain effective working relationships with staff, volunteers, and management


  • Must be able to lift at least 60 lbs.
  • Continual or prolonged periods of time standing, walking, bending, stooping, reaching, crouching, and lifting
  • Continuous communication and/or interaction with staff, volunteers, visitors, and management
  • Occasional weekend and/or holiday work required to meet departmental deadlines or to provide staff support for BTG special events
  • Must be able to perform strenuous physical work outside in the Florida weather year-round

A horticulture competency test will be administered to all applicants invited to interview.

We offer competitive wages and an attractive full-time employee benefits package. Resumes, accompanied by letters of interest, may be submitted by mail, fax or email. Applications may also be picked up at the entrance gate at the street address listed below and may be mailed or returned to the entrance gate for processing. Bok Tower Gardens is a Drug-Free workplace and an Equal Opportunity Employer.

Human Resources
Bok Tower Gardens
1151 Tower Blvd.
Lake Wales, FL 33853

Fax: 863-676-6770


Deadline for resume/application submission:  Position is open until filled.
Only qualified applicants will be contacted.