Santa Barbara Zoo

Horticulturist (Full-Time, Regular)


Santa Barbara, CA


Full Time

Great opportunity to apply your horticulture knowledge, experience and skills at the beautiful Santa Barbara Zoological Gardens!

We are looking for a self-motivated individual with leadership attributes, excellent interpersonal and communication skills to join our Facility and Horticulture team.

Schedule: Friday through Saturday, 8:00 AM to 4:30 PM

Compensation: $16.00/hour



Under general direction of the Director of Facilities & Horticulture, Horticulturist insures the Zoo’s presentation standards for beautiful landscaping and cleanliness are met by maintaining gardens, lawns, potted specimens and irrigation systems, and by assisting animal care staff with maintenance of landscaping in and around animal exhibits.

ESSENTIAL DUTIES include the following:

  • Responsible to lead and direct any employees or volunteer groups as available.
  • Monitor and direct daily maintenance of the Zoo’s landscapes to include but not limited to proper  pruning, watering, fertilizing, pest, disease and weed management.
  • Assist animal care with exhibit landscape maintenance, purchasing, tracking, and reporting.
  • Assist with purchasing all landscape maintenance supplies, plants, pots, tools and equipment to meet specified inventory levels.
  • Monitor the health & safety issues of the landscape on Zoo property
  • Designs, installs, monitors and maintains irrigation systems as necessary.
  • Propagates plants as directed.
  • Prepares purchase orders or bid proposals as directed.
  • Assures practices adhere to sustainable practices guidelines.
  • Performs periodic inventories of tools, equipment and supplies.
  • Prepares inventory reports
  • Organizes and maintains shop and maintenance areas.
  • Adheres to the Zoo’s policies and procedures as outlined in the Employee Policy Manual.
  • Attends monthly all-employee meetings.


  • Works closely with entire faciities & horticulture staff.
  • Performs general maintenance functions as needed.
  • Special team assignments as assigned.
  • Other duties as required.

Guest Relations:

  • Greets every guest with a smile.
  • Thanks guests for supporting/visiting the Zoo.
  • Insures the Zoo’s presentation standards for cleanliness and maintenance are met by keeping work areas clean, picking up trash, reporting unsafe or unsightly conditions.
  • Associates with guests to assist and share information.
  • Responds to all guest inquiries, complaints, and comments according to Zoo guest relation procedures.
  • Maintains a clean neat appearance and adheres to the Zoo’s uniform dress code.
  • Takes responsibility to stay informed about happenings at the Zoo, such as reading employee communications and attending meetings.
  • Reflects the qualities outlined in the Guest Relations Statement and the Employee Pledge.


To perform this job successfully, an individual must be able to perform each essential duty satisfactorily.  The requirements and environmental characteristics described below are representative of the knowledge, skill, ability, and working and physical elements required of the position.  Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.

Education and Experience:

  • High school diploma or GED
  • Two years paid experience in Horticulture/Landscaping

License, Certification, or Preferred Qualifications:

  • Valid Driver’s License with good driving record is required.
  • Forklift certification

Knowledge, Skills and Ability:

  • Prior management/supervisor experience
  • Knowledge and experience in general maintenance of turf, trees, shrubs, perennials and grasses.
  • Experience and basic knowledge of irrigation systems and watering equipment
  • Critical thinking and decision-making skills.
  • Ability to follow oral and written direction.
  • Effective oral and written communication skills.
  • Computer experience including knowledge of Word, Excel, and Outlook.
  • Ability to develop productive and friendly relationships with vendors.
  • Ability to interact courteously and respectfully with supervisors, fellow employees, volunteers, and our guests.
  • Ability to exercise safe work habits.

Physical Demands & Work Environment:

  • Requires the ability to access all areas of the facility.
  • Ability to negotiate the zoo work environment including behind-the-scenes, lawns, gravel, and hilltop.
  • Must be able to participate in operational practices; including climb stairs, manipulate tools, and stand/walk for up to two continuous hours.
  • Must be physically able to operate a variety of machines and equipment including electric cart, office equipment and two-way radio.
  • Must be able to lift 50 pounds occasionally, and 10 or fewer pounds frequently.
  • Occasional exposure to chemical cleaning solutions and pesticides.
  • Involves working out-of-doors in all weather conditions.
  • Supportive and open employment culture.

Tools Used:

  • Personal computer and software (Word, Excel, Outlook)
  • Standard office equipment; telephone, copier, facsimilie machine, calculator, and others as required
  • Two-way Radio
  • Hand tools
  • Basic power tools
  • Table saw
  • Forklift
  • Electric cart

This job description is representative of the expectations of the position described.  Additional duties, reporting relationships, and/or position criteria may be assigned as deemed necessary by the Chief Executive Officer or authorized representative.  No changes to this job description shall be made without written permission by the Chief Executive Officer or authorized representative.

The Zoo reserves the right to revise this job description at any time.  The job description does not constitute a contract for employment, and does not guarantee employment for any specified period of time.  The job description does not in any way alter the at-will employment relationship.

We are an equal opportunity employer and all qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability status, protected veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by law.

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U.S. Equal Opportunity Employment Information (Completion is voluntary)

We are an equal opportunity employer and all qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability status, protected veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by law.

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Completion of the form is entirely voluntary. Whatever your decision, it will not be considered in the hiring process or thereafter. Any information that you do provide will be recorded and maintained in a confidential file.

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Because we do business with the government, we must reach out to, hire, and provide equal opportunity to qualified people with disabilitiesi. To help us measure how well we are doing, we are asking you to tell us if you have a disability or if you ever had a disability. Completing this form is voluntary, but we hope that you will choose to fill it out. If you are applying for a job, any answer you give will be kept private and will not be used against you in any way.

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