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Position Title:    South Park Arboretum Curator

Salary Range:    $50,000-$65,000

Reports To:        Director of Park Administration

Supervises:        0 – 5

Requirements: City of Buffalo residency

                               Valid NYS Driver’s License

To download a PDF of the job description, click here.

Position Summary:

As part of an exciting restoration project, the Conservancy is seeking its first Curator for the renewed historic South Park Arboretum.  A professionally executed feasibility study was completed in 2018 and identifies 11 phases of work to return this rare Olmsted design to Buffalo as a class III Arboretum.  Key to its success is the right Curator.

This management position will oversee the entire arboretum’s development, its implementation and curation of a highly anticipated tree collection which is sure to draw attention and tourism to the region. The Curator will develop annual work plans, oversee contracted work for planning, construction and daily maintenance, along with coordinating volunteer assistance programs, education and outreach.  In collaborating with the Conservancy’s fundraising and development team, the Curator will assist with collections policies, commemorative 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 park maintenance crew. Collaborative relationships are 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

  • Manage the arboretum restoration process working with design consultants, contractors and operational maintenance staff.
  • Guide the development and project management plan for phased arboretum collections, landscapes, garden displays, and nursery features within a historic landscape.
  • Direct and oversee the design, installation, and horticultural maintenance of arboretum collections, gardens and landscapes.
  • Develop and manage plant collecting/propagation processes, 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 budgets, within the constraints of the overall parks operating budget and in consultation with the Sr. Director of Finance & Administration
  • Provide research and information on the collection of plants 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.
  • 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.
  • Serve as a member of the BOPC management team.
  • 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

  • Manage outside vendors and related contracts.
  • Supervise and guide volunteers.
  • Supervise, manage and train qualified staff in coordination with the District Supervisor.
  • Oversee botanical interpretive labeling in displays and landscapes.
  • Oversee 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:

  • Minimum of a Degree in Horticulture, Landscape Architecture, Historic Preservation, Forestry, Arboriculture, Environmental Science or core related field.
  • Experience managing all phases of landscape installation projects.
  • Horticultural knowledge of different woody tree species’ classifications, genetics, life and soil requirements, nursery practices, etc.
  • Quick learner with eagerness and motivation to assume a project management role, while having the maturity to recognize this position is fluid and developmental, requiring a high degree of responsibility, commitment and drive.
  • Knowledge of, and willingness to develop, preferred and professional methods, best practices, techniques and requirements for arboretum sustainability.
  • ISA Certified Arborist or Landscape Architecture licensure a plus, or the commitment/ability to attain ISA certification or a related professional licensure within 24 months of hire is desired.
  • Minimum of 2 years of practical and/or managerial experience in public parks, cultural or a commercial landscape setting; knowledge of modern arboretum practices a plus.
  • Familiarity with GIS, geological, and/or botanical technical database software for arboreta and/or horticulture.
  • Proven leadership experience including employee management; with a desire to be in a senior role with enhanced decision-making responsibilities and policy/procedure adherence.
  • Ability to instruct with hands-on engagement to direct, make appropriate job assignments, monitor progress, motivate and mentor employees or volunteers for effectiveness.

To download a PDF of the job description, click here.

Please submit resume via mail or e-mail to: Melissa Pidanick – HR Department: 84 Parkside Avenue, Buffalo, NY 14214 or [email protected] No phone calls please.

This job description is subject to change at any time and does not constitute a contract of employment.

For more information on the South Park Arboretum Restoration Project, please click here.

With support from the First Niagara Foundation, in partnership with KeyBank


Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy, Inc. is committed to diversity in the workplace. Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy, Inc. is an equal opportunity employer.

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