Arboretum Curator

Arboretum Curator
Organization Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy
Location Buffalo, New York, United States
Job Type Full Time
Application Deadline Dec 27, 2019

Position Summary:

As part of an exciting restoration project, the Conservancy is seeking its first Curator for the renewed historic South Park Arboretum.  Completed in 2018, the arboretum’s professionally executed feasibility study identifies 11 phases of work to return this rare Olmsted design to Buffalo.  Key to its success is the right Curator.

This management position will oversee the entire arboretum’s development, its implementation and curation of the anticipated prized tree collection which is sure to draw attention and tourism to the region.  The Curator will develop annual work plans, coordinate on volunteer assistance programs, and oversee contracted work for planning, construction and daily maintenance.  In collaborating with the Conservancy’s fundraising and development team, the Curator will assist with collections policies, dedication plans and proposals to generate revenue and awareness, and will lead development of the arboretum’s interpretive and future educational programming components.  This position will additionally be responsible for the ongoing maintenance of a GIS-based tree inventory for both maintenance and commemoration purposes.

This position is slated as an integral member of the management team, reporting to the Director of Park Administration and working along side the Conservancy’s forestry staff, the South Park supervisor and maintenance crew. Collaborative relationships will be required in developing a strong partnership with the neighboring Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens.

Relocation stipend is negotiable.  This position is exempt according to the Fair Labor Standards Act and the NYS Department of Labor rules and regulations. The workweek includes flexible schedules depending on the workload and area assigned, with some weekend and holiday work.

Major Duties and Responsibilities:

Planning, Design & Implementation

  • Guide the development and management plan for phased arboretum collections, landscapes, garden displays, and nursery features.
  • Direct and oversee the design, installation, and horticultural maintenance of arboretum collections, gardens and landscapes.
  • Manage plant collecting/propagation, plant records, collection mapping, and record labeling, collections policies, and electronic record keeping using ESRI Desktop, GIS or related BG-Base software applications.
  • Ensure plant collections and transactions are compliant with developed policies as well as state, federal, and international regulations for certified arboreta.


  • Develop and implement departmental financial budgets, within the constraints of the overall operating budget and in consultation with the Sr. Director of Finance & Administration
  • Serve as a member of the BOPC senior management team. Coordinate programs, events and activities with Executive Director, Director of Planning and Advocacy, Director of Operations, Director of Park Administration, Development team, and additional personnel as needed.
  • Provide research and information on plants, botany, and horticulture to the public, media, staff, and volunteers. Give tours and presentations. Writes articles for publications.
  • Participate in professional organizations as a representative of BOPC.
  • Demonstrate a continued interest and advancement in public horticulture and network with other arboretums and public gardens.
  • Provide clear and concise annual staff evaluations.
  • Perform additional duties and/or assume additional responsibilities as delegated by the Director of Park Administration.

Daily Operations & Sustainability

  • Supervise, manage and train qualified staff.
  • Manage outside vendors and related contracts.
  • Supervise and guide volunteers.
  • Oversee botanical interpretive labeling in displays and landscapes.
  • Manage insect and pest control programs. Ensuring compliance with local, state, and federal regulations.
  • Manage all tools and supplies, inventory, etc. relating to storage, proper care, and safety.

Qualifications and Attributes:

  • ISA Certified Arborist preferred, or the commitment/ability to attain certification within 12 months of hire.
  • Minimum of a Degree in Horticulture, Forestry, Arboriculture, Environmental Science or related field.
  • Minimum of 3 years of practical experience in managing and caring for a living collection of woody plants, with a working knowledge of modern curatorial standards for woody plants.
  • Working knowledge of different tree species’ classification, genetics, life and soil requirements, adaptation to new environmental conditions and resistance to disease, pests, etc.
  • Familiarity with GIS, geological, and/or botanical technical database software for arboreta and/or horticulture
  • Proven leadership experience and track record of quality and effective employee management; desire to be in a senior role with enhanced responsibilities.
  • Knowledge of, and willingness to develop, preferred and professional methods, best practices, techniques and requirements for arboretum maintenance as to BOPC standards for facilities, grounds, gardens, features and equipment.
  • Ability to instruct with hands-on engagement to direct, make appropriate job assignments, monitor progress, motivate and mentor employees or volunteers for their continued growth and productivity. Willingness to self-improve, learn and increase own performance or related credentials.
  • Capacity to lead by pitching in and to quickly resolve problems and formulate solutions that are equitable, efficient and practical.
  • Able to make key decisions swiftly, with consistency at following policies and procedures.

TO APPLY: send cover letter and resume to [email protected]