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Botanical Garden Assistant

Website Highlands Biological Station, Western Carolina University

Highlands Biological Station (HBS) is a scientific research station focused on the research and education of the natural heritage of the Highlands Plateau while preserving the biological richness of the southern Appalachian Mountains. HBS is a multi-campus center of Western Carolina University and is comprised of the Highlands Nature Center, Highlands Botanical Garden, William Chambers Coker Laboratory, and the Richard C. Bruce Biodiversity Laboratory. HBS also holds several on-site housing options for visiting researchers, students, and interns.

The Botanical Garden Assistant(s) will report to the Highlands Biological Station lead Horticulturist and will be an integral member of the HBS staff. The selected applicants will assist in identification, record-keeping, and maintenance of more than 450 native plant species. In addition, they will help to maintain the grounds and gardens, trails, boardwalks, and bridges throughout the 24-acre campus. This position will include working with volunteer groups and the general public to interpret the natural history of the local ecology and identify native plant species within the garden. This is an exceptional learning opportunity aimed at gaining valuable career experience caring for gardens and natural areas, planning and executing projects, and working with volunteers.

Botanical Garden Assistants have the option of staying in on-site shared housing for the duration of the summer, free of charge.

Application deadline is March 17th, 2023. This is a summer seasonal position, starting mid-May and ending early August.

To apply for this job please visit

Job Duties

The successful applicant will assist in all aspects of botanic garden operations including the use of proper horticultural practices and power equipment. Tasks will include: planting, pruning, raking, weed management, trail maintenance, curation, and plant record keeping. They will gain hands-on experience identifying and cultivating native plants in a natural and cultivated setting.

  • Must be able to move, rotate, or stoop on uneven terrain
  • Must be comfortable working from a ladder, lift, and other high places
  • Must be prepared to work outdoors under all conditions, including heat, cold, rain, and with occasional exposure to biting and stinging insects
  • Must be comfortable engaging the with volunteers and other diverse audiences
  • Responsible, reliable, and dependable
  • Occasional evening and weekend support may be required
Western Carolina University is an equal opportunity employer and is committed to supporting a diverse work environment. All consideration for employment is decided upon without regard to race, color, religion, gender, gender identity or expression, age, national origin, sexual orientation, disability, or veteran status. Valid Driver’s License required.

Job Qualifications

The ideal candidate should possess a strong passion for horticulture and have a specific interest in native plants. Priority will be given to students pursuing a degree in biology, botany, horticulture, environmental science, or a related subject. Strong ornamental plant identification skills, familiarity with Southeastern plant species, and prior public horticulture experience is desirable. Recent graduates and early career individuals are also invited to apply.


$13.00/hr., 40 hours per week, with on-site housing free of charge