Skip to main content


Land Steward

The Land Steward is a paid, full-time, permanent position that will work in coordination with our horticultural staff, interns, and volunteers to preserve and maintain Adkins Arboretums’s natural areas, grounds, and cultivated gardens and support the Arboretum’s mission of providing exceptional experiences in nature.

This energetic individual is expected to apply professional land management experience and natural resource and ecological knowledge to the position duties, implementing best stewardship practices and playing a key role in enhancing the ecological function of the Arboretum through monitoring, restoration, and ongoing care of the Arboretum’s natural areas and cultivated gardens. The position requires someone who works independently and collaborates with other team members.  

The candidate should be familiar with plants, willing to work outside in various weather conditions, energetic, willing to teach and learn, and able to operate (or willing to learn) a chainsaw and other outdoor power equipment. The Land Steward should be (or will undergo the training) to be certified as a private pesticide applicator. 

This position reports to the Horticulture and Natural Lands Director and interacts with other Arboretum staff members, with occasional supervision of seasonal staff, interns, and volunteers.

About Us

Adkins Arboretum is one of the few botanical institutions focused on conserving and promoting the flora of the Mid-Atlantic Coastal Plain. The Arboretum’s collection comprises 400 acres of native plant communities in cultivated gardens and successional patterns of meadows, old fields, pine plantations, young hardwood forests, mature bottomland forests, and wetlands.  

As a significant natural, educational, and cultural resource, the Arboretum is a model for preserving and restoring indigenous plant communities and habitats and promoting the appreciation and use of native plants.

Duties & Responsibilities

  • The Land Steward will be responsible for daily activities maintaining the natural areas, grounds, and cultivated gardens, including invasive species management, trail maintenance, enhancing habitat for native wildlife, and occasionally prescribed fire activities.
  • The Land Steward will work with the Horticulture and Natural Lands Director to update the invasive species management plan and identify areas of priority, then carry out these activities over the course of the year:
  • Coordinate invasive plant removal and/or treatment according to the invasive species management plan
  • Facilitate volunteer work days to assist with removal and teach the volunteers about invasive plants
  • Experiment with alternative control methods such as time of cutting, covering the stump, girdling, repeat mowing, etc. Adkins Arboretum implements sustainable best management practices, and there is plenty of opportunity to test new invasive plant control methods.  
  • The Land Steward will assist with trail maintenance through Adkins Arboretum's five-mile trail system connecting to Tuckahoe State Park. This includes mowing and blowing the trails, limbing up and trimming trees and shrubs, repairing washouts, repairing platform crossings, and removing downed or hazardous trees from the paths. 
  • Additionally, the Lands Steward will help to maintain meadow areas by brush hogging sections to suppress woody plant growth and assist with prescribed burn preparations as needed. 
  • Use large equipment (mowers, tractors, backhoes), small/handheld equipment (string trimmers, leaf blowers, pruners, handsaws), and systemic herbicides. 
  • Operate equipment such as tractors, chippers, mowers, and utility vehicles and standard garden power tools such as chainsaws, blowers, and tillers.
  • Assist with equipment maintenance such as cleaning, sharpening, seasonal maintenance, and storage of job-related equipment. 
  • Occasionally lead garden tours and assist with special events and projects that support the Garden’s mission and development.
  • Assist with daily event setup for public programs and event and school groups.
  • Winter duties include snow removal.
  • Assist the Horticulture and Natural Lands Director when requested with overseeing contracted environmental professionals, the Chesapeake Conservation Corp volunteer, Arboretum volunteers, and student interns in the day-to-day management of the garden’s natural resources.

Education and Experience


  • A Bachelor’s degree in Natural Resource Management, Environmental Science, Biology, Horticulture, Forestry, or a related discipline is helpful but not required.  Demonstrated capabilities in natural resource management can substitute for formal education.
  • A minimum of two years of practical, hands-on experience in land management, horticulture, environmental science, conservation, and/or restoration ecology is desired, with some time devoted to natural land stewardship preferred.  Those certified for Crews or Level 1 Chesapeake Bay Landscape Professional are encouraged to apply.
  • Knowledge of a combination of landscape management and all related equipment, materials (i.e., gravel, mulch, soil, fertilizers, herbicides, etc.), general landscape maintenance techniques, common horticultural techniques, native and invasive plant species in Maryland, arboriculture, invasive species management, trail building and maintenance, and prescribed fire are desired.
  • Knowledge of and proficiency with the safe use of equipment used in the conservation/ landscape trade, including hand tools, power tools, chainsaws, chippers, tractors, skid loaders, etc.
  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills, enthusiasm, and a desire to learn.
  • Experience in project management.
  • Willingness and ability to work outdoors year-round in various weather conditions and potentially buggy areas.
  • Have the ability to lift 50 lbs.
  • Highly organized and motivated with a strong work ethic focused on stewarding the Arboretums’s living plant collections in our natural areas and cultivated gardens. 
  • Experience with geospatial data collection, preferably in ArcGIS applications, including Survey123, is helpful but not required.
  • Possess a commitment to the Arboretum’s mission of providing exceptional experiences in nature.
  • Must possess a valid U.S. driver’s license.
  • A pre-employment background check is required.


Type of Position: Permanent, full-time, 

Working Hours: Monday through Friday, 8:00 am to 4 pm (40 hours/week) is the typical schedule, with flexibility to start earlier during the summer months and need for occasional weekday adjustments and weekend days to accommodate public events held on site.


Life Insurance
Retirement Plan with matching
Paid Holidays

Salary Range
$45,700 - $52,000 annually

Application Instructions

Please apply by February 23, 2024, to You will be required to submit a cover letter and resume at the time of application. Should you advance in the interview process, we will require two letters of recommendation.

Please note: Adkins Arboretum cannot consider applicants from countries outside the United States.

Application Deadline: February 23, 2024