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Position Title: System-Wide Special Gardens Manager

Reports To: Director of Planning & Advocacy

Supervises: 1 — 5

Requirements: City of Buffalo residency, Valid NYS Driver’s License

Position Summary:

The Special Gardens Manager is responsible for a set of unique and high-profile historic gardens within the park system, with a major focus on: The Japanese Garden, Delaware Rose Garden, Riverside’s River Rock Garden and MLK Cottage Garden. Position is responsible for working per a yearly maintenance plan with day-to-day tasks involving annual plantings, perennial division, pruning, weeding, bed management, heirloom and native plant care, greenhouse and irrigation system coordination, etc., and which can include other major and focal garden/beds system-wide, as needed seasonally or as identified at the start of the season due to special projects or funding opportunities. This is a mobile unit position working across the entire Olmsted system and based out of MLK Jr. Park Greenhouse.

The Special Gardens Manager is responsible for ensuring that maintenance, aesthetic and plant health standards are fulfilled each year according to BOPC plans, including horticultural best practices, established maintenance plans, and following historic Olmsted design requirements for each specialty garden.  Planting and maintenance plans are to be coordinated and prioritized with associated District Supervisors, and seasonal staff are to be trained and mentored to perform accordingly. Currently 1 to 2 seasonal staff are assigned as budget allows.

Annual development, review, and adherence to developing planting and maintenance plans is expected. Additional winter responsibilities will be assigned and identified based on system needs, master planning priorities, special project funding availability, etc.  All work assignments and planting plans are reviewed and approved by the Director of Planning and Advocacy.

This position is non-exempt according to the Fair Labor Standards Act and the NYS Department of Labor rules and regulations. The work week may include flexible schedules depending on the assigned workload, with some weekend and holiday work possible.

Major Duties and Responsibilities:

  • Responsible for coordinating and performing routine and seasonal maintenance for the prioritized specialty gardens as noted herein, and other focal gardens as assigned; of which could change annually or at any time as updated in writing
  • Responsible for developing maintenance and staff support plans (organizational and seasonal) for these prioritized gardens to ensure standards of care and design support
  • Manages assigned workforce with an appropriate system-wide rotation to ensure work assignments and expectations are met on a timely basis
  • Coordinates and collaborates with MLK Jr. Park Greenhouse staff, related District Supervisors, the Director of Operations, and Director of Planning & Advocacy on work plans, including accurate plant material and planting timelines for each specialty area
  • May assist, as required or requested, in the winter propagation of plant material at the Greenhouse in coordination with the Buffalo Parks Head Grower
  • Coordinates with District Supervisors in the direction of their staff in performing the maintenance (including annual clean-up, planting, weeding, pruning, watering, fertilization, etc.) of the garden areas assigned to ensure visual quality and garden health/vibrance for all park patrons
  • Coordinates with the Facilities Manager on irrigation systems operations and maintenance.
  • Coordinates and communicates with Community Outreach Manager on volunteer projects within the specialty garden areas, identifying and communicating needs, developing work plans, and supervising the work of volunteer groups
  • Participates in bed reviews annually with Director of Planning and Advocacy, Circles and Plantings Manager, City of Buffalo’s head grower in consultation with District Supervisors.
  • Monitors workload, performance, and all safety standards of field staff. Routinely reports personnel and park incidents, and leads by example with quality work ethic, employee mentoring and training
  • Responsible for keeping up to date with current trends, gardening practices, plant health, etc., and when appropriate is afforded the ability for professional development and to train and update staff
  • Accommodates flexibly with maintenance or any workload revisions given changing priorities, weather, or critical need situations
  • Responsible for care and use of equipment utilized, as well as coordinated communication for equipment usage and repair needs for safety and efficiency
  • As needed or directed, works side by side with any volunteers, interns, BOPC staff and City parks employees
  • Attends BOPC operational staff meetings and participates in the Olmsted Naturally Committee
  • Any and all other duties as assigned by management or Director of Planning & Advocacy

Qualifications and Attributes:

  • At least 3 years of experience equivalent to job responsibilities; a degree in horticulture preferred but not required
  • Holding a CDL is a plus
  • Knowledge of preferred methods and progressive techniques for park maintenance, horticulture, environmental sustainability, plus industry standards and requirements for gardening, grounds, features, and related park equipment
  • Specific knowledge and understanding of Olmsted’s legacy, park maintenance guidelines, project priorities, safety techniques and workforce policies and procedures
  • Proven management and supervisory experience and track record of quality and effective team oversight, with an ability to motivate others and produce effective results
  • Ability to train related workforce on-site, including volunteers, and assists in making appropriate job assignments, monitoring progress, and communicate effectively and respectfully with all District Supervisors, the Director of Operations and BOPC staff
  • Resourcefulness in utilizing staff, equipment and/or supplies approved within the annual budget to the greatest benefit of the BOPC
  • Basic computer skills required for documentation of planning, tracking, reporting and other staff and organizational communications.

Working Conditions:

  • Primarily outdoor hands-on work. May perform in extreme weather conditions. Some office work and paperwork is required
  • Job duties may require an employee to bend, reach, stoop, stand and/or walk for extended periods, as well as lift and/or move heavy objects at times up to 50 lbs.
  • Duties may require driving distances between park features or system locations, and to potentially operate standard to heavy park or gardening machinery
  • Must continuously foster a team approach to working in the park environment and dealing with the public diplomatically
  • Must be able to adapt to ever changing resources and limited budget

To apply, please email resume to [email protected] or send by mail to:

Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy, Inc.
Attn: Human Resources
84 Parkside Avenue
Buffalo, NY 14214

This job description is subject to change at any time and does not constitute a contract of employment. This job description is intended to identify and list the responsibilities, duties and qualifications most commonly associated with the position. This listing cannot be considered all-inclusive, as changing organizational circumstances can result in changes to some of those responsibilities, duties and qualifications. Further, every task supporting the functioning of the position may not be listed or not listed in detail. This job description does not constitute a contract of employment.

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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