Forestry Field Supervisor


The primary role of the Field Supervisor is to oversee the day-to-day, on the ground operations of the Openlands Arborist Apprenticeship. This program provides a cohort of apprentices on-the-job training and classroom instruction in arboriculture and urban forestry.  The apprentices will work with Openlands for the first year of the three year program, transferring to a secondary partner to complete the program.

This is a labor-intensive position that primarily involves supervising and leading apprentices through regular fieldwork, on the job training and education related to arboriculture and urban forestry.  Must be able to work well independently and on a team to coordinate projects using strong forestry skills, event coordination, and interpersonal communications. This position reports to the Forestry Program Manager.

This is a full-time (35 hours/week), non-exempt position, with salary & benefits, that requires flexibility with weekend work during planting seasons (April-May & September-November), other occasional weekends and evenings during the year.

Essential Functions

  • Train, oversee and guide arborist apprentices, create weekly schedules, and maintain safe working conditions for crew.
  • Plant and maintain trees and perform necessary tree care, including replanting, staking, mulching, pruning and watering. Stay up to date with urban forestry and arboricultural best practices.
  • Provide and maintain accurate records and daily logs relating to fieldwork and apprenticeship activities.
  • Maintain tools and trucks in clean working order. Maintain tools and monitor the tool inventory. Order equipment as needed, and maintain records and receipts.
  • Assist in community tree planting events in the spring and fall by setting up equipment, unloading trees, placing trees, digging holes, planting trees, leading volunteers, etc.
  • Drive vehicles and operate other motorized equipment incidental to the performance of duties.
  • Assist with teaching apprentices Year 1 related instruction and on-the-job training, including tree establishment maintenance, tree biology, tree identification, soils, pruning & chainsaw operation.
  • Provide support and encouragement for apprentices throughout the 3-year program.
  • Present and publicly speak about programs to coworkers, partner organizations, and the public.
  • Coordinate activities, courses and events with Apprenticeship program partners and contractors.

Knowledge, Skills and Abilities

  • High School Diploma or GED
  • Outdoor work experience in arboriculture, horticulture, urban forestry, ecological restoration, biology, environmental science, landscaping, or a closely related field
  • Experience leading groups, mentoring individuals and/or leading workdays. 
  • Ability to identify common Midwest and urban tree species and associated pests, diseases, and environmental factors that affect young trees.
  • Knowledge of arboriculture and ability to obtain ISA certification, if not already certified. 
  • Ability to lift up to 50+ pounds repeatedly and ability to stand, crouch, and perform various types of manual labor. 
  • Valid Illinois Driver’s License and reliable transportation.  This license must be maintained for the duration of employment.
  • Ability to drive large vehicles (non-CDL) both in the city and on local highways.
  • Computer literacy including ability to use programs such as PowerPoint, Word, and Excel.
  • Ability to effectively manage activities calmly and professionally.
  • Effectively work under minimal supervision.
  • Strong critical thinking and problem-solving skills.
  • Positive attitude and enthusiasm for trees, nature and connecting Chicago region residents in all community areas to the natural world.

Openlands is an equal opportunity employer and seeks to employ qualified individuals based on individual merit. Openlands does not discriminate against any individual with respect to the terms and conditions of employment based on that individual’s race, sex, age, religion, color, national origin, disability, genetic information, marital status, veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, housing status, or any other non-merit factor protected under state, local or federal laws. Equal Employment Opportunity applies to all personnel actions such as recruiting, hiring, compensation, benefits, promotions, training, transfer, termination, and opportunities for training. Openlands is committed to a fair and equitable workplace where everyone is a respected and valued member of the team.

To Apply:

This position is open until filled. Interested applicants should send a resume and cover letter explaining why your skills and experience would complement this position to JobApps@Openlands.org.  Please include “Forestry Field Supervisor” in the subject line.

Work Environment:

Loop office is ADA accessible. This role routinely uses standard office equipment such as computers, phones, and scanners. Employee is regularly required to talk, hear, see, and communicate effectively via computer. Smoke- and drug-free environment.


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.