Forestry Crew Leader – Openlands


The primary role of the Forestry Crew Leader is to oversee the day to day, on the ground operations of Openlands. This is a labor-intensive position primarily involving the planting, maintaining, and inventorying of public trees. Candidates who can take a large picture view of a projects, prioritize them, break them down, and execute the work would do well. Must be able to work well independently and on a team to coordinate projects and tree-related events using strong forestry skills, event coordination, and interpersonal communications.

Work is performed outside and requires a great deal of public engagement. This is a full-time, non-exempt position, and requires flexibility with weekend work during planting seasons and other occasional weekends and evenings during the year. This position reports to the Tree Planting Manager.

Details and Responsibilities


  • Plant and maintain trees and perform necessary tree care, including re-staking and sometimes replanting, mulching, pruning and watering. Stay up to date with urban forestry and arboricultural best practices.
  • Oversee and guide seasonal crew, create weekly schedules, and maintain safe working conditions for crew and volunteers.
  • Provide accurate records and logs relating to tree planting and maintenance.
  • Maintain tools and trucks in clean working order. Drive and maintain vehicles and operate other motorized equipment incidental to the performance of duties. Maintain tools and monitor the tool inventory. Order equipment as needed, and maintain records and receipts.
  • Accept plant material from nursery under contract and monitor and assure compliance of nursery stock with contractual agreements.
  • Conduct tree inventories


  • Directly oversee and guide TreeKeepers and other volunteers. Lead work days, workshops, and events; prepare, track, and report all necessary event information.
  • Respond to citizen inquiries and maintain working relationships with community groups. Meet with community groups, partner organizations, use virtual inventories and maps to assess sites for future work.
  • Assist with record-keeping and volunteer data analysis, coordinating with other departments as needed.
  • Use volunteer management software (CERVIS) to create events, register volunteers, and run reports.
  • Recruit for and assist with TreeKeepers classes as needed.
  • Use public speaking skills to present programs to coworkers, partner organizations, and the public.
  • Other duties as assigned.

Job Requirements and Qualifications

  • ISA arborist certification or ability to acquire within the first 12 – 18 months of employment.
  • Ability to identify common Midwest tree species and associated pests, diseases, and environmental factors that affect young trees.
  • Volunteer management experience; Spanish speaking a plus.
  • Bachelor’s degree and/or, a certificate from a horticulture or botanic program containing college‐level courses in addition to experience with at least one year planting and caring for trees.
  • Computer literacy including ability to use programs such as PowerPoint, Word, and Excel.
  • Ability to lift 50 pounds occasionally and ability to stand, crouch, and perform various types of manual labor; willing and able to work outdoors all year round.
  • Valid Illinois Drivers License and reliable transportation. This license must be maintained for the duration of employment.
  • Enthusiastic with a positive attitude and strong work ethic.
  • Must be punctual and reliable. Position requires a high level of energy, motivation, creativity, persistence, and a positive attitude.


Salary range is market competitive. Benefits include health, life, and disability coverage, a 403(b) retirement plan, paid holidays and vacation time.   This is a full time, non-exempt position.

Openlands is an Equal Opportunity Employer.

To Apply:

Interested applicants should send a resume and cover letter explaining why your skills and experience would complement this position to   Please include “Forestry Crew Leader” in the subject line.

About Openlands:

Openlands protects the natural and open spaces of northeastern Illinois and the surrounding region to ensure cleaner air and water, protect natural habitats and wildlife, and help balance and enrich our lives. Openlands’ vision for the region is a landscape that includes a vast network of land and water trails, tree-lined streets, and intimate public gardens within easy reach of every city dweller. It also includes parks and preserves big enough to provide natural habitat and to give visitors a sense of the vast prairies, woodlands, and wetlands that were here before the cities. In sum, Openlands believes that protected open space is critical for the quality of life of our region.



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