Forestry Trainee (Temporary)

Would you like to learn marketable, desirable skills in a growing, well-paying industry while getting to work outside? Openlands is seeking four Forestry Trainees for a program that provides valuable skills and training that could lead to a long-term career in arboriculture and the opportunity to meet and work with people from all over Chicago while giving back to the planet.

Location: ​​Chicago – all neighborhoods. Workday begins and ends at the Openlands field site in Pilsen.
Dates: March 17 to November 6, 2019. Wed.-Sat. in spring and fall, Tue.-Fri. in summer.
Time: 28 hours/week. 7am-3pm
Compensation: $14/hr, increased to $15/hr after 90 days. Individuals that stay for the length of the entire program year and receive a positive year-end review will receive a bonus of $1,000.

Trainees will work on the Forestry Field Crew and maintain over 3,000 trees by mulching, watering, pruning and conducting other maintenance activities across the Chicago area. They will collaborate with a team of arborists to assist in community tree plantings with TreeKeepers, neighborhood leaders, volunteers, and other groups for the success of Openlands various urban forestry and community programs. Trainings and professional development opportunities will teach trainees hands-on skills, tree biology and identification, pests and diseases, among other subjects.


Minimum requirements:

  • Interest in a career in arboriculture or urban forestry;
  • Ability to lift up to 50+ pounds repeatedly and ability to stand, crouch, and perform various types of manual labor;
  • Tolerant to working outdoors in inclement weather and other environmental factors;
  • Must be punctual and responsible;
  • High School diploma or GED;
  • Valid Illinois Driver’s License that must be maintained for the duration of employment;
  • Willingness to work in all neighborhoods of Chicago and surrounding communities;
  • Mobile phone for a means of reliable communication
  • Availability to work on all Saturdays for plantings during April-May & September-early November

Job Expectations:

  • Ability to learn basic tree identification and build on those skills;
  • Comfortable learning tree climbing techniques, using climbing equipment and ascending/descending >40 ft. trees;
  • Become an Openlands Certified TreeKeeper (pass written exam);
  • Meeting, working with, and leading groups of volunteers;
  • Work as a team and communicate well with other crew members;
  • Maintain a positive and open minded attitude;
  • Enthusiasm for trees, nature and connecting Chicago region residents to the natural world

Trainees have the opportunity to:

  • Gain 1,000 hours of direct experience in the care of young and mature trees;
  • Gain a foundation of basic urban forestry skills and knowledge;
  • Gain knowledge of and practice the art and science of pruning trees;
  • Shadow professionals in the tree care industry or conservation field;
  • Begin a pathway into a new career

Openlands is an equal opportunity employer. 

To apply, please fill out the form at this link.  The deadline to apply is February 10, 2020.