Interpretation Assistant

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St. Louis, MO
United States

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Essential Duties and Responsibilities:

Provides Educational Visitor Engagement: Participates in all aspects of non-structured interpretive programming and experiential learning opportunities including development, preparation, and implementation throughout the Garden, particularly within the Children’s Garden, Tower Grove House, Brookings Exploration Center, PlantLab, and within special exhibit areas. Topics will include (but not limited to) nature, ecosystems, habitats, plant science, biodiversity, adaptations, history, collections, sustainability, outdoor exploration, citizen science, and seasonal happenings.

Ensures Positive Visitor Experiences: Welcomes visitors and provides general information relative to visitor inquiries and Garden opportunities. Responds to and takes appropriate action to resolve or report concerns and complaints from Garden visitors. Uses judgment to analyze situations and determines best use of resources and when to escalate situations to management.

Maintains Interpretation & Educational Resources: Monitors interpretive facilities and maintains props and exhibits. Follows proper storage requirements of equipment and supplies. Reports concerns and maintenance needs to the Interpretation Supervisor/Manager as appropriate for request processing.

Adheres to Safety Guidelines and First Aid Provider: Communicates and enforces the Garden’s rules of etiquette to visitors in an effort to orient visitors to the facility. Monitors visitor behavior and ensures adherence to safety guidelines; responds to and administers First Aid/CPR as necessary, reports all incidents using appropriate Garden forms as well as any concerns to the Interpretation Supervisor and/or Manager, as well as Security as appropriate.

Processes Ticket & Merchandise Sales: Answers visitor questions regarding ticket prices and products. Utilizes touch screen PC to processes Children’s Garden admission tickets and merchandise sales, as needed, in accordance with specified cash and credit card handling procedures.

Performs Opening & Closing Duties: Actively participates with the Interpretation Team in pre-season set-up operations and post-season closing operations; moving/cleaning equipment, setting up/removing props, stock/remove merchandise, etc.)

Assists with other Garden events as requested.

Behaves and communicates in a manner that promotes and fosters a culture of teamwork and cooperation, within our division and throughout the Garden, with co-workers, supervisors/managers, volunteers, visitors and employees.

Performs other duties as assigned.


  • Attendance/Punctuality - Is consistently at work and on time; Ensures work responsibilities are covered when absent; Arrives at meetings and appointments prepared and on time.
  • Dependability - Follows instructions, responds to management direction; Takes responsibility for own actions; Keeps commitments; Completes tasks on time or notifies appropriate person with an alternate plan.
  • Quality - Demonstrates accuracy and thoroughness; Looks for ways to improve and promote quality; Applies feedback to improve performance; Monitors own work to ensure quality.
  • Oral Communication - Speaks clearly and persuasively in positive or negative situations; Listens and gets clarification; Responds well to questions; Demonstrates group presentation skills; Participates in meetings, as required.
  • Written Communication - Writes clearly and informatively, using correct spelling and grammar; Varies writing style to meet needs; Presents numerical data effectively; Able to read and interpret written information.
  • Interpersonal - Focuses on solving conflict, not blaming; Maintains confidentiality; Listens to others without interrupting; Keeps emotions under control; Remains open to others' ideas and tries new things.
  • Ethics - Treats people with respect; Keeps commitments; Inspires the trust of others; Works with integrity and ethically; Upholds organizational values.
  • Professionalism - Approaches others in a tactful manner; Reacts well under pressure; Accepts responsibility for own actions; Follows through on commitments.
  • Safety and Security - Observes safety and security procedures; Determines appropriate action beyond guidelines; Reports potentially unsafe conditions; Uses equipment and materials properly. 


  • One (1) year experience presenting in front of diverse groups is preferred.
  • Demonstrated strength and experience in customer service skills. Experience working with audiences of diverse ages, ethnicities, experiences, and educational backgrounds.
  • Proven ability to work in a successful team environment. Strong presentation and public speaking skills. Experience presenting in front of diverse groups (children and adults) is preferred. Experience researching and developing interpretive programs and experiential learning opportunities.
  • Demonstrated organizational and problem solving skills.
  • Process design and improvement skills to lead continuous improvement.
  • Ability to prioritize work and perform under pressure; strong planning/organizing skills.
  • Strong problem solving skills. Must be able to quickly analyze inquiries and determine steps for resolution.
  • Work quality and dependability; demonstrates accuracy and thoroughness; follows instructions; welcomes and applies feedback to improve performance.
  • Excellent communication and interpersonal and writing skills; professional, speaks clearly and persuasively in positive or negative situations; listens and gets clarification; responds in a friendly and helpful manner to visitor inquiries and concerns; is tactful and treats others with respect; and values departmental teamwork. 
  • Scheduling flexibility that allows routinely working weekends, holidays and some evenings.
  • Ability to work independently and to carry out assignments to completion with minimum instructions and adhere to established routines and practices in a reasonable amount of time. Must be able to learn new skills quickly, be resourceful and self-reliant, as well as take initiative.
  • Ability to provide visitor experiences and services as well as work on multiple projects within a fast-paced mission based public attraction.,
  • Prior cash handling experience.
  • Demonstrates highest level of professional and ethical conduct; knowledge and understanding of organizational policies, procedures and systems; including all health and safety guidelines.
  • Must maintain a positive attitude and professional appearance at all times. 
  • Adherence to all health and safety guidelines as well as Garden and departmental policies/procedures, uniform standards and requirements, etc.
  • The requirements and duties listed are representative and not exhaustive of the knowledge, skill, and/or abilities required.


  • H.S. diploma or equivalent required.
  • Some college level course work completed in education, science education, ecology, environmental science, natural resources, public horticulture, interpretation, recreation or equivalent required.
  • An equivalent combination of skills, education and experience may be considered.

Computer Skills:

  • Proficient experience using a computer and keyboard is required.
  • Proficient experience using Microsoft Office suite (i.e., Windows XP, Outlook, Word and Excel)
  • Experience with ticket sales and cash handling is preferred.
  • Solid Internet and Library research skills.

Language Skills:

  • Ability to communicate effectively in English (oral and written).
  • Mathematical Skills:
  • H.S. basic math skills: requires ability to perform addition, subtraction, multiplication and division; calculate percentages and decimals.

Reasoning Ability:

  • Requires ability to exercise independent judgment to apply facts and principles for developing approaches and techniques to resolve conflicts in a fast paced environment.
  • Certificates, Licenses, Registrations:
  • Must be able to obtain and maintain CPR/First Aid certification.
  • Must be able to obtain and maintain CIG (or equivalent) certification through the National Association for Interpretation.

Physical Demands:

  • Ability to effectively utilize computer keyboard and touch screen monitor.
  • Ability to lift and carry a minimum weight of 20-40 pounds.
  • May be required to perform tasks at varying heights (i.e., climb ladders, etc.)
  • Ability and willingness to work in varying temperatures and all weather conditions.
  • Ability to sit for extended periods of the work day (may sit up to 30% of work week with ticket sales).
  • Requires standing, walking, bending, stooping and reaching for extended periods of time – 85% or more of the work week is standing on feet talking with and engaging visitors in activities.

Work Environment:

  • Ability to work in fast-paced, team-oriented environment.
  • Actively engages in hands-on participation with visitors of all ages, backgrounds, and abilities when delivering informal interpretive programming to a non-captive audience.
  • Ability to work outdoors in all weather conditions (i.e., in temperatures over 100°F as well as temperatures below 0°F, in rain, snow and other inclement weather conditions as needed).
  • Works hands-on cooperatively with Interpretation Team to assist in plant maintenance and artifact care tasks as needed.
  • Comfortable working in immediate proximity to general public, in a safe and friendly manner.
  • Must wear Garden-provided uniform shirts and jackets and adhere to all dress codes.