Our growing network is always looking for passionate people who want to make a difference. This jobs list is constantly changing and growing, so be sure to check in periodically to see if there’s a job for you.

Assistant Lead Groundskeeper

World-renowned, Brookfield Zoo is set within a 216-acre nature park that is home to 2,000 plus animals and is also an accredited arboretum.  The beautiful setting has meticulously landscaped grounds providing our guests with colorful native plants surrounding Roosevelt Fountain, shrub sculptured animals outlining our formal pool, and entrances decorated with a variety of plants, flowers and trees to welcome our over 2 million guests each year.  Our Grounds team is also responsible for 7 working greenhouses, a compost facility that processes 300 cubic yards of yard waste, and setting up over 1 million (mostly LED) twinkling lights for Holiday Magic.

The Assistant Lead Groundskeeper contributes to the success of the Chicago Zoological Society by performing a variety of Grounds Department duties and functions with a high degree of efficiency and independence contributing to the Society’s overarching goals of extraordinary guest experience and financial sustainability.  Provides secondary supervision and coordination of daily assignments as assigned.

The Assistant Lead Groundskeeper position with the Chicago Zoological Society is a full-time union role with an hourly rate of $28.57.  Additionally, a comprehensive benefits package that includes health and welfare benefits and a 401(k) retirement savings plan will be offered.

Primary Duties and Responsibilities:

  • Perform general park duties, landscape maintenance, and horticulture in accordance with routine and non-routine or emergency operating procedures.  Maintain work records as directed.  Direct work of Senior Groundskeepers, Groundskeepers, Assistant Groundskeepers, Groundskeeper Aides and seasonal Groundskeepers.  Report on performance of staff to Lead Groundskeeper as necessary.  Observe standard safety procedures and the use of safety equipment and assure adherence to safety protocols and requirements.  Coordinate one or more categories or programs of routine work.  Develop and perform new skills and procedures as assigned.  Train new hires as required.
  1. Horticultural duties: Care of trees, shrubs, and herbaceous plants, planting, watering, weeding, mulching, propagation, tilling, lawn care, pruning, fertilization, plant protection from hazardous conditions, pest control, plant selection, design, interior tropical plant maintenance, and other horticultural duties as assigned.
  2. General park duties: Waste disposal, manure collection and disposal, recyclables collection, snowplowing, construction activities, equipment maintenance and repair, installation and maintenance of irrigation systems, road repairs, and other general park duties as assigned.
  3. Section maintenance: Cleaning, sweeping, raking, blowing, paper-picking, safety inspection and other duties as required.  Inspect and repair playground equipment, litter/paper pick-up, maintenance of drainage systems and animal yard surface repairs, and other duties as required.
  • Observe and enforce standard safety procedures, work standards, and general policy and uniform requirements.
  • Assist and participate constructively in all departmental activities, including meetings and non-routine and emergency assignments.  Assist Lead Groundskeeper in developing and implementing standard operating procedures for programmatic areas.
  • Serve as relief for Lead Groundskeeper.  Perform daily inspections and audits of assigned area(s) and, in conjunction with Lead Groundskeeper, assume responsibility for public safety, determine and prioritize necessary repairs, unfinished tasks, and other noted tasks, issues or problems as required to meet maintenance standards.  Complete assigned work orders.  Organize required work, materials, and equipment and assure work is performed with optimum efficiency.
  • Recommend items for purchase and assist in developing specifications for equipment as requested.
  • Other related duties as assigned.

The requirements for this position include the following:

  • High school diploma or (GED) equivalent.
  • Four years’ previous, relevant grounds maintenance or horticulture experience with progressive responsibility and independence demonstrated.
  • Ability to safely operate small power equipment such as blowers, mowers, chainsaws, power washers, tillers, edgers, snow blowers, weed whips and other small power tools, small tractors, water wagons, plows and brooms, riding mowers, rakes, brooms, hoes, shovels, hand pruners, saws, loppers, or other hand tools and other equipment.
  • Basic operating knowledge of Bobcats, backhoes and other large vehicles or pieces of equipment required.
  • Ability to direct work programs required.
  • Must possess good communication and interpersonal skills.
  • English fluency at a professional working proficiency.
  • Must be reliable, dependable, and flexible.
  • Good customer service skills required.
  • Cultural competency; experience and/or ability to work and interact effectively with a diverse, multicultural audience.
  • Valid driver’s license required.

One or more of the following may be required based on the specific job responsibilities:

  • One or more of the following class of driver’s license may be required:  Valid “C” or “B” (CDL) driver’s license.
  • Valid medical authorization card required for positions with Commercial Motor Vehicle driving responsibilities.
  • Knowledge of operation and maintenance of irrigation systems may be required.
  • Pesticide operator’s license may be required.
  • Small engine mechanical repair skills may be required.

Preferred Qualifications:

  • Previous supervisory experience preferred.
  • Associate’s degree in Horticulture or related field a plus.
  • Multilingual ability, Spanish fluency a plus.

Additional Information:  This position description summarizes the primary duties and functions of this position, but should not be considered a complete listing of every duty the incumbent may ever be called upon to perform.  Incumbent must become familiar with the Society’s Severe Weather Emergency Plan.  Incumbent must be able to effectively organize, motivate, and direct work crews to achieve goals.  Incumbent is expected to provide positive internal and external customer service, working cooperatively with others to achieve departmental and institutional goals.  Inform and assist the public.  Must maintain an awareness of park schedules and activities to provide to the public when needed.  Ensure work areas are safe, clean and orderly.  Represent the Society in a professional manner at all times.  Incumbent is expected to incorporate the Society’s mission, vision, and values into daily work performance.

The Chicago Zoological Society is an Equal Opportunity Employer.

If interested in being considered for this opportunity, please visit the CZS Career Center to obtain more details about the position and to apply by submitting your profile.  Please visit our website at  Please look for requisition 2003BR.