Interpretation Specialist

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St. Louis, MO
United States



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Essential Duties and Responsibilities:

  • Coordinates and participates in the planning, design, development, construction, fabrication, implementation, delivery and evaluation of interpretive strategies in select Garden venues and exhibits through informal education best practices for diverse audiences.
  • Participates in all aspects of informal education programming including program development, preparation, and delivery as well as assists in the delivery of structured programming (instruction).
  • Assists in the design, development, construction and implementation of interpretive strategies in Garden venues that may include audio, visual or in-person experiential learning opportunities; exhibits; guided or self-guided tours; digital media; signage; print or online publications; and other interpretive materials.
  • Responsible for the planning thematic educational garden spaces, selecting appropriate plants, ordering through a database system, working closely with Horticulture colleagues, coordinating plant pickups, overseeing daily maintenance, and other gardening operations of designated spaces including by not limited to the Children’s Garden, Brookings Exploration Center, and the Plant Lab.
  • Works with team and the team and Garden colleagues on the planning, selection, and ordering of plant plugs for hands-on pot-a-plant programming with visitors throughout the year in various programs and at special events and exhibits.
  • Follows proper storage requirements of interpretive materials, equipment, signage, and supplies.
  • Monitors and assesses Garden venues and coordinates with appropriate personnel for repairs, modifications, or alterations.
  • Reports daily maintenance needs through the predetermined reporting system and discusses issues, challenges, and funding needs with Manager.Participates in the development and implementation of special educational which may include displays, exhibitors, printed and digital media. Participates with the interpretation team and education staff on planning, preparations, setup, and implementation details and logistics.
  • Works cooperatively with the team leaders on other garden educational initiatives, special exhibits, and events.
  • Collaborates with Education Division colleagues, Garden staff and area educators and interpreters on best practices, program development, interpretive methods and such, contributing from his or her area of expertise and receiving from other’s.
  • Acts as the liaison between the Education Division and other internal Garden divisions in order to streamline communications regarding programming or specific needs related to designated areas and projects. 
  • Creates and ensures a safe environment for all participants and ensures visitors are informed of offerings and rules of etiquette within the Interpretive venues.
  • Communicates 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.
  • Reponds to and administers First Aid/CPR as necessary.
  • Ensures that all applicable safety standards are followed.
  • Informs employees/students/volunteers of safety guidelines, methods to reduce hazards.
  • Reports all incidents, injuries, and near-miss accidents immediately using appropriate Garden forms to the Interpretation Manager and the Security Manager.
  • Behaves and communicates in a manner that promotes and fosters a culture of teamwork, mutual support, and cooperation, within the division, department and throughout the Garden, with co-workers, supervisors/managers, volunteers, visitors, contractors, and employees.
  • Performs other duties as assigned.

Supervisory Responsibilities:

  • Regular Part-Time and Full-Time Interpretation and Visitor Engagement Educators
  • Coordinates the activities of assigned volunteers


  • Change Management: Develops workable implementation plans; Communicates changes effectively; Builds commitment and overcomes resistance; Prepares and supports those affected by change; Monitors transition and evaluates results.
  • Organizational Support: Follows policies and procedures; Completes administrative tasks correctly and on time; Supports organization's goals and values; Supports affirmative action and respects diversity.
  • Strategic Thinking: Develops strategies to achieve positional goals; Understands department’s strengths & weaknesses; Adapts strategy to changing conditions.
  • Innovation: Displays original thinking and creativity; Meets challenges with resourcefulness; Generates suggestions for improving work; Develops innovative approaches and ideas; Presents ideas and information in a manner that gets others' attention.
  • Motivation: Sets and achieves challenging goals; Demonstrates persistence and overcomes obstacles; Measures self against standard of excellence; Takes calculated risks to accomplish goals.
  • Judgment: Displays willingness to make decisions; Exhibits sound and accurate judgment; Supports and explains reasoning for decisions; Includes appropriate people in decision-making process; Makes timely decisions.
  • Dependability: Follows instructions, responds to management direction; Takes responsibility for own actions; Keeps commitments; Commits to additional work hours when necessary to reach goals; Completes tasks on time or notifies appropriate person with an alternate plan.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Ethics: Treats people with respect; Keeps commitments; Inspires the trust of others; Works with integrity and ethically; Upholds organizational values.
  • Profesionalism: 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.


  • Minimum of (2) years ecology, biology, horticulture, planting plans, and solid hands-on experience with and knowledge of plants and selecting appropriate material for educational purposes as well as their routine care (both outside and interior) is required. Demonstrated knowledge of thematic educational designs, interior scraping, planting, weeding, pruning, harvesting, pest care, seasonal selections, and educational connections is required. Knowledge of and experience with Missouri native plants in an educational setting is a preferred.
  • Minimum of (2) years’ related visitor engagement and interpretation experience working in a public attraction is required. A working knowledge of plant science and biology topics and experience nurturing an awareness of plants and nature among the public is required. Certification through the National Association for Interpretation is preferred.
  • Minimum (2) years’ prior Supervisory experience required over staff and/or volunteers. Ability to supervise a work group with strong focus on teamwork and the execution of high quality informal experiential learning opportunities.
  • Minimum of (2) years’ experience in service excellence with a diverse visitor ship preferred and strongly desired. Driven to provide high quality personalize learning opportunities for visitors within a fast-paced, mission based public attraction. Must enjoy and feel comfortable and confident interacting and working in close proximity to general public, in a safe and friendly manner.
  • Must be solution oriented, highly organized, multi-task minded, budget conscious, diplomatic problem solver, and true team player.
  • Scheduling flexibility that allows working some weekends, evenings, and holidays is required.
  • Demonstrates highest level of professional and ethical conduct.
  • The requirements and duties listed are representative and not exhaustive of the knowledge, skill, and/or abilities required.


  • Bachelor’s Degree in education, ecology, environmental science, horticulture, or related field required.
  • Some completed college level course work in education, science education, ecology, environmental science, public horticulture, interpretation, exhibit design is required.
  • An equivalent combination of skills, education and experience may be considered.

Other Skills and Abilities:  N/A.

Language Skills: Ability to communicate effectively in English (verbal/written).

Mathematical Skills: Proficient ability to perform addition, subtraction, multiplication and division; calculate percentages and decimals; etc.

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.

Computer Skills:

  • Proficient experience using Microsoft Office suite (i.e., Outlook, Excel, Access, Word, PowerPoint, Publisher, and Windows 7).
  • Knowledge of collections databases and software (Will be required to actively use the Garden’s Living Collections Management System for plant orders and content research).

Certificates, Licenses, Registrations:

  • Must be able to obtain and maintain First Aid/CPR certification.
  • Must be able to obtain and maintain required NAI certifications.

Physical Demands:

  • Must be able to work both indoors/outdoors.
  • Ability to lift and carry up to 20-30 lbs.
  • May be required to perform tasks at varying heights (i.e., climb ladders, etc.).
  • Extensive walking, standing, sitting, reaching and stooping - 90
  • Ability to utilize computer keyboard (typing) and simple tools (exhibit repairs).
  • Ability to utilize gardening equipment and supplies (planting, repotting, weeding, watering).

Work Environment:

May require working indoors and outdoors throughout day in all seasons - Ability to work outdoors in temperatures over 100°F as well as temperatures below 0°F, in rain, snow and other inclement weather conditions as needed. Ability to work indoors in temperature-controlled environment in Garden buildings as needed.

How to Apply:

Apply online with the Missouri Botanical Garden at

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