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Horticulturist – Greenhouse

The Donald Danforth Plant Science Center’s Plant Growth Facility seeks a dedicated and enthusiastic candidate to immediately fill a full-time Horticulturist position on our Greenhouse team. 

The regular schedule for this position is five days per week (40 hrs/week), including at least one weekend day.

The DDPSC Plant Growth Facility is a dynamic, state-of-the art research facility with over 60,000 sq. ft. of greenhouse space and 100 environmental growth chambers. Plant Growth Facility staff are responsible for supporting the research activities of internal laboratories and external clients. Danforth Center Community members come from over 20 countries, and we welcome applicants who reflect the diversity of our local community and beyond.
Full-time staff are eligible for our excellent benefits package, including health/vision/dental, retirement plan with employer match, tuition reimbursement, paid vacation and holidays, and more.

Working under general supervision, the Horticulturist performs duties associated with the production and maintenance of research plants at consistent levels of high quality within the Plant Growth Facility indoor growth chambers. Duties are directly related to cultivation of a variety of research crops in accordance to achieve maximum crop health. The types of plant material grown in the PGF are diverse and may include agronomic and staple crops, perennials, model species, orphan and food security crops, and more. Horticulturist will ensure growth spaces are maintained to the highest standards of cleanliness, organization, functionality and safety. Communicates effectively and utilizes organizational systems to provide excellent service in support of research projects for PGF clients and collaborators. Acts and communicates in a manner that promotes a culture of collaboration, innovation, integrity and respect within the PGF team and with all Center employees, PGF clients, visitors and other stakeholders.

·        Provide research plants with the optimum environment and inputs to achieve maximum health. Irrigate and fertilize appropriately for plant type and developmental stage.
·        Planting/transplanting; pruning; seed harvesting, cleaning, packaging; familiar with crop propagation methods like sticking cuttings, grafting, dividing, etc.
·        Assist with assembly of irrigation systems; operate irrigation valves to apply correct clear or fertilizer water treatments. Perform minor plumbing repairs for irrigation lines and hoses as needed.
·        Actively monitor fertilizer levels at injection stations, promptly replenishes and accurately mixes concentrated fertilizer solution according to SOPs.
·        Maintain a clean growing environment:
o  Keep greenhouse shelves, benches, and floors free of debris.
o  Sanitize work surfaces and floors as required.
o  Regularly clean and sanitize greenhouses between users or crop cycles; participate in whole-house cleanouts by moving tables, irrigation lines, and power-washing surfaces.
·        Support pesticide spray team by safely measuring and mixing pesticides, keeping accurate and orderly records, spotting pesticide applicators, and applying pesticides under guidance of upper-level Horticulturist. Safely clean pesticide spray tanks, wands and nozzles according to SOPs.
·        Routine maintenance and upkeep of greenhouse equipment and infrastructure: Clean evaporative cooling systems and other equipment as needed or directed; Maintain general care of horticultural tools and equipment; Monitor physical growing environment and equipment to help ensure proper environmental control, promptly reporting issues to Manager.
·        Ensure that common areas are consistently organized, neat and tidy. Stock supplies specific to assigned work area.
·        Provide support services for different facility areas as needed, including regulated plant waste handling program (bagging, tying bags, transporting carts, etc.).
·        Provide excellent customer service by displaying a courteous and accommodating attitude when interacting with clients; professionally and promptly refers clients to appropriate personnel to address concerns or for troubleshooting.
·        Utilizes digital communication systems to efficiently and effectively communicate with co-workers, provide updates on task progress, and keep records as needed. 
·        Able to train Assistant-level staff in tasks related to sanitation, maintenance and general operations procedures.
·        Assist upper-level Horticulturists or Manager with experimental trials to optimize crop growth and production systems.
·        Ensure a safe and compliant work environment. Follow and promote pesticide safety regulations, general health and safety procedures, biosafety policies and regulations, and Plant Growth Facility operational policies.
·        Lives the Danforth Center values: Collaboration, Diversity & Inclusion, Innovation, Integrity & Respect, Environmental Sustainability, and Stewardship.
·        Performs other duties as requested or assigned.

Required knowledge, skills, and abilities:
·        High attention to detail, ability to quickly learn new tasks and concepts while working in a fast-paced environment; inquisitive and communicative; effectively carry out duties under general direction from upper-level Horticulturists and Manager.
·        Strong collaboration skills to work effectively with scientific personnel, Plant Growth Facility and Facilities staff.  Able to communicate clearly and effectively verbally, in writing, and digitally. 
·        An adaptable, attentive and thorough work ethic; a positive, service-oriented attitude. Demonstrated success in customer-service setting is desirable.
·        Fundamental (entry-level) understanding of plant cultivation and propagation techniques, soils and water management, nutrient disorders and management, plant pests/pathogens, and microclimate modification.
·        Knowledgeable of appropriate and effective watering practices and ability to apply proper, consistent, and well-timed irrigation for controlled-environment crops  
·        Basic understanding of Controlled Environment operation, control and maintenance.
·        Ability to learn how to scout and identify various greenhouse pests and pathogens. Subsequently learn how to apply appropriate control measures in alignment with PGF Integrated Pest Management program procedures and best practices.
·        Competent using MS Office and web-based to track and create tasks, generate reports and protocols, compile data, etc.

·        High School diploma or equivalent. Associate’s degree or higher in Horticulture or related field preferred.
·        Minimum of 6 months of hands-on, relevant experience in crop production, especially in a greenhouse/ controlled environment setting.
·        An equivalent combination of skills, education and experience may be considered.
·        Some weekend and holiday work required.
·        Certification(s) Required: Possess Missouri Non-commercial pesticide applicator license, or obtain within six (6) months of hire.
Ability to work in a physically challenging environment:
·        Working in hot, humid environments with temperatures as high as 95 degrees F.
·        Adjusting to rapid fluctuations in temperature and humidity while moving chamber to chamber.
·        Lifting heavy soil/waste bags and greenhouse supplies.
·        Reaching and bending under chamber shelves.
·        Frequent twisting to maneuver hoses and other items.
·        Repetitive operation of water nozzles and other tools. Fine hand movement to assemble irrigation and plant support systems, replace light bulbs, staking, tying, etc.
·        Ability to transport carts, cumbersome supplies, etc. up ramps. Ability to safely navigate narrow chamber aisles and enclosed spaces.  
·        Safely and appropriately working around and handling regulated plant material and research crops.
·        Prolonged bending/kneeling/squatting to clean drains and work surfaces, attend to irrigation, prune plants, etc.
·        Working on feet for prolonged periods; daily, extended walking within a large growth facility.
·        Will be trained to safely and effectively use a pallet jack (manual and electrical). 

·        Resume detailing work history
·        Cover letter
·        Contact information for 2 or more professional references

About the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center:
Founded in 1998, The Donald Danforth Plant Science Center is an independent, non-profit organization with a mission to improve the human condition through plant science. Our focus is scientific research at the nexus of food, energy and the environment to improve the productivity and sustainability of agriculture. We assemble interactive teams of scientists and develop unique platforms to discover underlying principles about how plants work. We then convert that knowledge into useful crops and products, and partner with organizations that are best positioned to solve problems where they exist around the world. The Center’s work is funded through competitive grants from many sources, including the National Institutes of Health, U.S. Department of Energy, National Science Foundation and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. 

The Donald Danforth Plant Science Center is proudly an equal employment opportunity employer. Employment decisions at the Danforth Center are based on merit, qualifications, and abilities. It is our policy that the Danforth Center does not discriminate in employment opportunities on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, or national origin and status as protected veterans or individuals with disabilities. If you need a reasonable accommodation to access the information provided on this web site, please contact Human Resources, at 314-587-1033 for further assistance.