Curator of Horticulture


It all began with a ROAR 100 years ago!

San Diego Zoo Global is a conservation organization dedicated to the science of saving endangered species worldwide. San Diego Zoo Global operates three world-class facilities: the San Diego Zoo, the San Diego Zoo Safari Park, and the San Diego Zoo Institute for Conservation Research. Our organization’s vision – we will lead the fight against extinction.

Help us to make a difference for wildlife and begin your adventure with a career at the San Diego Zoo Join the dedicated crew who are passionate about what they do and strive to create unforgettable experiences for our guests. Share your knowledge, skills and commitment to provide GRRREAT Customer Service and be a part of the ROAR with San Diego Zoo Global!

Are you ready to start your adventure and put your Passion for Wildlife to Work?


Destination – Horticulture / San Diego Zoo Safari Park

Duration of your adventure – Year-round, Exempt with Benefits

Seats (positions) available – 1

Attire while on adventure – The Society has a very conservative grooming policy. Tattoos may not be visible or must be appropriately covered while on duty. Jewelry may be worn if it does not detract from a well-groomed look or create a safety hazard. No facial or tongue piercing.

Amenities – Located at the San Diego Zoo in Balboa Park, this adventure offers ZOO Perks which include discounts on food/premium products, free and discounted admission to local attractions, and accrual of vacation and sick time (exception for some grants and Summer Fellowships).

(Non-union position) Salary is commensurate with experience

Requirements for this adventure include:

The Curator of Horticulture will perform all job assignments with a positive attitude that supports San Diego Zoo Global’s mission and vision of saving species worldwide by uniting our expertise in animal care and conservation science with our dedication to inspiring passion for nature and leading the fight against extinction. The Curator of Horticulture is responsible for developing and maintaining the botanical collections, exhibits and landscapes at a location. This position reports to the Zoo/Safari Park Director of Operations.

This position requires strong leadership experience in team building and long range planning, as well as botanical collection management and landscape management. An essential strength is the ability to work effectively with others as both a planning team leader and team participant. Excellent written and verbal skills are crucial.

Applicants must have supervisory and project management skills, and a thorough knowledge of horticulture, landscape cost estimating and maintenance requirements, irrigation systems well and pump operations and potable/non-potable water systems and related safety regulations. Also required is the ability to read and interpret architectural plans, evaluate proposals, prepare bid requests, write project specifications, prepare job requisitions, and understand union labor contracts.

In addition, an individual in this position must be conversant with word processing and spreadsheet software as well as botanical collection management systems.

Desirable experience includes the following: coursework in horticulture, landscape design and landscape maintenance or a related field; Bachelor’s degree in business Horticulture, Botany, or equivalent.


  • Represents the organization nationally and internationally about botanical conservation and regulatory issues
  • Develops and implements long-range and short-term plans
  • Develops related policies
  • Develops, administers, and monitors assigned budgets
  • Manages assigned staff
  • Acts as a mentor
  • Researches and directs acquisition of new plant materials
  • Works closely with the Chief Life Sciences Officer and Director of Collections
  • Ensures best practice record keeping
  • Directs the development of appropriate maps and documentation
  • Adheres to all SDZ Global and department policies and practices
  • Exemplifies the highest standard of work ethics and leadership
  • Practices the GRRREAT Customer Service


  • Develops and implements long-range and short-term plans for botanical collections, animal exhibits, botanical gardens, browse (at the zoo), and facility landscaping at assigned location
  • Works at director level, managing assigned staff in designing, implementing, and maintaining botanical collections ,exhibits and landscapes
  • Acts as a mentor to develop excellent leadership traits and high morale within the staff
  • Supports San Diego Zoo Global’s ‘Rules of Engagement
  • Prepares and makes presentations
  • Conducts special tours of botanical collections
  • Prepares and coordinates grant proposals
  • Oversees plant interpretation and botanical writing
  • Oversees botanical conservation and research projects
  • Oversees botanical collection recordkeeping
  • Oversees browse program needs for the organization (Zoo)
  • Oversees recruitment
  • Coordinates interdepartmental operations and related budgets as necessary
  • Determines reporting needs and oversees preparation of reports
  • Handles complex problems and complaints


Performs related duties and responsibilities as required.

One of the essential functions of this position is the ability to drive a SDZ Global vehicle. If you are offered employment in this position, you will be asked to authorize SDZ Global to access your current driving report through the DMV’s Employer Pull Notice Program. Your hiring for this position will be contingent on SDZ Global receiving an acceptable driving report from you. In addition, your continued employment in the position will depend on you maintaining an acceptable driving record. You may obtain a list of conditions that disqualify a person from driving an SDZ Global vehicle from a Human Resources Representative.

(POST 9/26/2016)

Deadline to submit request of application for adventure:


Applications must be submitted online by 9:30 pm Pacific Time

  • *San Diego Zoo Global is a smoke-free workplace**




Job Requirements:


Examples of representative qualifications include a Bachelor’s degree in Horticulture, Botany, or a related field or equivalent specialized training; advanced degree preferred, supervisory experience in botanical gardens or related operations; domestic and international travel is desirable; valid California driver license.

Knowledge of:

  • Exhibit design and installation construction
  • Common and exotic plant material
  • Botanical conservation and research
  • Botanical garden administration, exhibits, plant-animal interaction, plant identification, landscape design, plant propagation, irrigation systems, turf management, and fertilization
  • Fumigants, herbicides, pesticides, and integrated pest management

Ability to:

  • Lead a diverse workforce and maintain high morale
  • Communicate effectively (verbal and written)
  • Inspect grounds to assure proper maintenance and appearance
  • Develop, administer and monitor budgets
  • Prepare and make presentations
  • Use word processing, spreadsheet, and database systems
  • Work effectively with others in a diverse environment


Office environment; exposure to outdoors in varying weather conditions; chemicals, animals, and noise; harsh field conditions, dust, and allergens.


Lift moderate weight approximately 25-35 pounds typical of an office environment; fieldwork lift or manipulate heavier items 35-40 pounds; frequent walking, standing, and bending; domestic and international travel required.



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