Forestry Program Coordinator

The primary role of the Forestry Program Coordinator (Tree Planting) is to support the Openlands TreePlanters Grant- working with residents, community members, neighborhood organizations, partner organizations, and municipalities to advance community planting efforts in the Chicago region.  The Forestry Program Coordinator assists in preparing, implementing, and executing the steps required for a quality tree planting event or project. This position communicates and works hand in hand with partners pre, during, and post-planting, upholding program standards to ensure trees thrive and survive to grow the Chicago region’s canopy. 

The ideal candidate will be an urban and community forestry champion who is motivated to increase the quality of life and climate resiliency of our region and its people through urban forestry.  This position demands a positive, outgoing communicator with strong interpersonal skills.  Candidates should be organized and detail-oriented.  The nature of the work also requires an adaptable and quick-thinking person, who can follow directions and exercise sound judgment in a fast-paced environment.  We highly value a person who can remain calm, professional, and proactive when working in the field and with partners. 

This is a full-time, non-exempt position and requires flexibility with seasonal work on weekends and occasional evenings.  This position reports to the Community Arborist.

Essential Functions:

  • Conduct or attend community meetings, informational sessions, and initial consultations for planting groups to explain the planting process, property owner responsibilities, and technical advice about proper tree selection and tree planting process.
  • Perform site visits, assign tree locations for planting projects, draft equipment, and tool load-outs for workdays.
  • Organize tree species selection, contractors, file permits, and material orders for tree planting projects.
  • Lead plantings, workdays, and events; prepare, track, and report all necessary event information.
  • Respond to citizen inquiries and maintain working relationships with community groups.
  • Collaborate with existing tree planting projects with partners and municipalities.
  • Assist with the development of tree planting and outreach processes and materials for program success and efficiency.
  • Coordinate tree stewardship events, both in the office and in the field.
  • Implement data collection operations pre and post-planting.
  • Maintain inventory of planting program materials, tools, and equipment, and submit order requests as needed.
  • Assist in and perform tasks involved in the operation and care of hand and power arboriculture tools and equipment.
  • Drive vehicles and operate other motorized equipment incidental to the performance of duties.
  • Other duties as assigned.

Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities:

  • High School Diploma or GED required.  Bachelor’s degree a plus.
  • Current ISA Certified Arborist certification or commitment to becoming certified when qualified
  • Ability to speak, write and read Spanish is highly valued
  • General understanding of urban forestry, best practices, soil science, soil conditions, and other factors that influence tree growth and success
  • Knowledge of tree planting best management practices and the Chicago Landscape Ordinance
  • Ability to identify Midwest and urban tree species and associated pests, diseases, and environmental factors that affect young trees
  • Project and/or event management experience with volunteer organizing experience
  • Computer and technology literacy including the ability to use standard Microsoft Suite programs and quickly learn program-specific applications.
  • Ability to lift up to 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 Driver’s License and reliable transportation. This license must be maintained for the duration of employment.
  • Must be punctual and reliable.
  • Positive and flexible attitude.


Salary range is $43,000 – $46,000. Benefits include health, life, and disability coverage, a 403(b)-retirement plan, paid holidays, and vacation time.

 Vaccination Statement

To protect our staff and community, Openlands requires all employees to be fully vaccinated upon hire or may request a medical/religious exemption if extended an offer.

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 Program Coordinator” in the subject line. Please note that applications without a cover letter will not be considered.

Work Environment:

The office location for our forestry staff is at our field office located at 3333 S. Iron Street in Chicago.  Regular work hours for this position are 7:00 am to 3:00 pm and occasionally on weekends.  This role routinely uses standard office equipment such as computers, phones, and scanners. The employee is regularly required to talk, hear, see, and communicate effectively via computer. This role requires manual labor- standing, bending, crouching, lifting. Openlands is a smoke- and drug-free environment.

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.

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.