Ecological Restoration Technician, Natural Areas

Chicago Botanic Garden Published: January 6, 2023
1000 Lake Cook Rd, Glencoe, IL
Skill Level
Entry Level
Job Type
Full-time Internship
Natural Resources/ Restoration / Scientific
(Number of Job Posting Views: 2)

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About our natural areas:

The Garden’s natural areas encompass 60% of our 385-acre campus in Glencoe (located 25 miles north of Chicago). They represent prairie, woodland, and aquatic habitats, and are stewarded by a team of ecologists to support, showcase, and better understand the unique and diverse natural history of our region.

We use stewardship techniques like prescribed burning and invasive species control to support the widest diversity of appropriate native species in each habitat type. We also encourage and support research, conducted in partnership with other staff in the Negaunee Institute for Plant Conservation Science and Action, and are dedicated to monitoring to assess long-term change and impacts of our stewardship efforts.

The person in this role will spend a majority of their time in our shorelines, which weave our natural areas and formal gardens together. Five of our six miles of shorelines have been restored using bioengineering techniques and more than half a million native wetland plants (representing 240-plus species) to stabilize shoreline soils, increase resilience to flooding, improve water quality in our six lakes, and provide habitat for wildlife.   

Position Overview

The Ecological Restoration Technician, Natural Areas will have the unique opportunity to work with ecologists managing all of the Garden’s natural areas to conduct ecological restoration, management, and related activities. They will also be part of our new career pathway program called the Stewardship and Ecology of Natural Areas (SENA) internship program, launching in 2023.

The person in this role will spend 80% of their time conducting stewardship-related activities in our natural areas with staff ecologists, spending most of their time (April through November) working in our lakes and shorelines, with remaining time primarily in our prairie and river corridor, and a small amount of time spent in our woodlands. In our lakes and shorelines, you will conduct activities like removal of invasive plant and algae species and planting of replacement plants that help us maintain our shoreline plantings.

Over the winter and early spring, time spent in the prairie, river corridor, and woodlands will focus on controlling invasive or aggressive woody species, collecting, processing, and sowing native seeds, as well as helping to maintain a small native seed nursery. The remaining 20% of your time will be dedicated to training in understanding and caring for natural areas, as well as inclusive leadership and other career development opportunities. This is a year-round, full-time (average of 37hrs/week) position, working Monday through Friday with a normal start time of around 6:30am.  


In this role you will be responsible for the following:   

Natural areas stewardship (75%) 

  • Assist in controlling invasive species (including use of herbicides) 
  • Maintain shoreline plantings, including removal of weedy/invasive plant and algae species and replanting due to plant mortality or herbivory 
  • Other maintenance activities to support robust communities and aesthetic shoreline conditions 
  • Assist in removing trees and non-native brush from woodlands, prairie, and Skokie River corridor, including use of chainsaw, brush cutter, and brush pile burning.   
  • Assist in preparing for and carrying out controlled burns with natural areas staff. Includes preparing firebreaks, safety equipment and tools, planning, and burning.  
  • Scouting, collecting, cleaning, mixing, and broadcasting of native seeds.  
  • Operate and maintain Garden vehicles, small power tools including mowers, brush cutters, hedge trimmers, weed whackers, and water pumps and use herbicide sprayers, backpack water tanks and hand tools.  

Training and career development (20%)  

  • Work with SENA program manager and Garden staff to set and work toward learning goals that will support continued career development. 
  • With other SENA participants, Garden staff, as well as other external partners, participate in workshops, training sessions, and one-on-one or team-based projects to enhance skills and expertise in target areas  
  • Assist with native species monitoring and other projects conducted in collaboration with department scientists, students, and other staff.  

Other (5%)  

  • Assist with trail maintenance, litter collection throughout the natural areas and adjoining spaces, as well as miscellaneous office work and organizational tasks as needed.   


  • Some experience with natural areas restoration or conservation work, or related experience working outdoors over a range of conditions.
  • Experience with or an interest in learning plant species of the Chicago region, including the use of dichotomous keys to identify plant species.
  • Possess or willing to obtain an Illinois pesticide applicator license and prescribed burning certifications (including Chicago Wilderness Midwest Ecological Prescription Burn Training).
  • Possess a high comfort level being in and around water along with an ability to swim should the need arise in an emergency.
  • A valid driver’s license and a good driving record.
  • Commitment to fostering a diverse, equitable, and inclusive environment.   

Physical Demands:

  • Standing, walking, bending, listening, speaking, lifting, pushing, including outdoors in inclement weather.
  • Exposure to poison ivy, bees, ticks, mosquitoes, pollen, other potential allergens, and wildlife.
  • Must be able to lift and carry 50 lbs. 

To Apply

Please click "Apply on Company Website" below to submit an application and upload a resume and fill out the Google formIf you are interested in multiple positions, please apply to the one you are most interested in and check the other positions in the Google form. No need to send an application for each position. We will begin reviewing applications on 1/9/23 and continue until positions are filled. If you have questions regarding the positions contact Peter Nagle (, for questions about SENA contact Andrea Kramer (

Thank you for your interest. 

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