Landscape and Irrigation Specialist

San Francisco, CA
Full Time
Building Operations

Reporting to the Landscape Supervisor, the Landscape Irrigation Specialist is part of the landscape team that maintains the horticulture of the surrounding Academy grounds, gardens, and plaza spaces at the California Academy of Sciences.  The position is primarily responsible for irrigation and is responsible for maintaining grounds irrigation plumbing, hardware and software at the Academy.In addition to maintenance activities of the surrounding Academy gardens and plaza spaces, this position works closely with other Academy Departments to maintain landscaping at the Academy’s living roof and terraces. 

The landscape horticulture department at the Academy works with many different talented minds including staff scientists, Golden Gate Park Rangers and Gardeners, botanists, arborists, engineers, educators, builders and many others. The landscape irrigation specialist staff member will be crucial to our department for conveying the Academy’s needs to other team members that may not be on site as much as this position will require.

This position will provide in-depth detailed observations that will help team members for each project provide the correct application of material. Examples of said material may be fresh water, gray water, soil, compost, mulch, stone, plants or hardware.

The California Academy of Sciences has a new strategic plan that includes the Thriving California initiative. The landscape horticulture department supports this plan every day and is passionate to provide great structure for the Thriving California initiative. The native plant collection provides outreach, education, propagation and has a great range of outreach to the general public and serves as a classroom and lab for many. The wonderful curiosity for environmental learning, and collaborative engagement to regenerate fragile ecosystems right here at the Academy provides a powerful message to strengthen the action to think-global-act-local.

We hope you are inspired by what we do and are excited to contribute to our mission. The Academy is looking for candidates who do great work, and we know they may come from a number of different backgrounds and experiences. We encourage you to apply even if you do not believe you meet every ­one of the qualifications for the position.

The position is a hybrid of on-site/work from home or remote in CA and can change as business needs warrant. The candidate must easily be able to work onsite in Golden Gate Park in San Francisco when needed. Candidates are required to have up-to-date COVID-19 vaccination, including receiving a booster shot, as a condition of employment, absent qualifying exemptions in accordance with applicable laws. Individuals receiving a conditional offer of employment from the California Academy of Sciences will be provided the full text of the vaccination policy.


  • Comprehend and operate onsite: Academy Irrigation system: Rainmaster/Laguna software and hardware daily
  • Repair emergency breaks in irrigation systems or coordinate with contractors to address breaks or upgrade as necessary for sustainable practices
  • Be a role model for practicing water conservation for the complex variety of the plant collection
  • Orchestrate any necessary software updates and coordination of new systems for irrigation and weather- monitoring hardware
  • Conduct delivery and application of mulch, compost, soil and hardscape materials
  • Ensure Landscape and Living roof is healthy & adequately irrigated
  • Coordinate irrigation projects with all necessary stakeholders concerning any areas of affected irrigation accommodations for events and projects 
  • Foster communications for necessary department staff and contractor meetings for proper execution of any project
  • Formalize and update irrigation system maps, document and print for all stakeholders
  • Keep irrigation heads free from overgrown foliage and repair breaks
  • Participate in training and safety protocols and lead in record- taking /maintaining OSHA records
  • Uphold landscape and hardscapes by pulling and cutting roots of invasive weeds from outdoor fixtures and hardscapes or pathway areas & removing garbage in green spaces
  • Maintain and build public pathways including digging trenches and adding found wood from Golden gate Park Compost and Sheet mulching areas to cover weeds
  • Create HugelKultur mounds and other Permaculture Practices to support diversity and dynamic sustainability on the Property
  • Mobilize contractor quotes and supervision to maintain landscape such as arborists, gardeners, horticulturists, exhibit contractors, Irrigation technologies, educational speakers for volunteers and botanists
  • Operate the usual manual landscaping equipment such as shovels, hoes, rakes and hand saws to perform general grounds maintenance including digging, raking, leveling, planting, fertilizing, and pruning flowers, trees and plants
  • Occasionally operate heavy equipment including skid loaders, forklifts, and aerial work platforms
  • Verify all gardening/landscaping equipment is maintained and in working order.
  • Work with the Building Systems, Building Maintenance, and Engineering departments to maintain the irrigation and drainage systems in the grounds and on the roof and protect the building envelope
  • Practice integrated pest control methods/procedures consistent with requirements of San Francisco Pesticide Ordinance and coordinate with Academy staff to protect living and research collections
  • Follow all Academy safety regulations
  • Other duties as assigned


  • Knowledge of native California plants; cultivating California native plant species, planting processes and environmental constraints.
  • Knowledge of commercial irrigation systems and ability to work on irrigation plumbing and controllers.
  • Interpretation of documents such as safety rules, operating and maintenance instructions, and procedure manuals.  Ability to write routine reports and correspondence.  Ability to speak effectively before groups or individuals. Bilingual skill set of English & Spanish is preferred.
  • This position requires a flexible schedule, with occasional early morning and after hours work.
  • The ability to stand for most of the working day, bend, kneel, dig and lift 50 pounds 
  • Working outdoors while being exposed to various types of weather conditions including sun, rain, wind, heat and cold. Handling of and exposure to a variety of plants, insects, landscaping materials and chemicals.


  • At least one year of administrative experience in an office environment
  • College-level coursework, on-the-job learning or mentorships/volunteering, training, or a CIT certification preferred


  • Collaboration: Ability to work as part of a team or collaborate well with team members, and external collaborators (if applicable) to accomplish mutual goals
  • Communication: Ability to work efficiently and communicate with staff, cross-functional teams and external customers from different identities and experiences
  • Innovation: Ability to bring new ideas, create inventive solutions and find efficiencies to transform manually or detailed processes
  • Advocacy: Ability to provide support for thriving social and ecological communities - and by listening to, lifting up, and learning from underrepresented voices
  • Humility:  Presentation of a humble nature when working with others, and continued desire to learn and grow 
  • Passion for the Academy mission: Demonstrated commitment to equity and inclusion
  • Basic navigation of Microsoft Excel, Google Sheets, Adobe and irrigation software systems, such as Rainmaster Laguna/Oasis desired

Reasonable accommodations will be made to enable individuals with disabilities to meet the job’s essential functions. Include any language that describes the position's regular work environment. 

At the Academy, we get to work in pretty unique spaces! The physical demands and work environment described here are representative of those that must be met by an employee to successfully perform the essential functions of this job. When working on domes of the Living Roof, the employee must follow OSHA standards to maintain a secure point of contact at all times. 

While performing the duties of this job, the employee is frequently required to stand, sit, walk, and reach with hands and arms, and talk or hear.  This position will work outdoors while being exposed to various types of weather conditions including sun, rain, wind, heat, and cold. Additionally, this position handles and has exposure to a variety of plants, insects, landscaping materials, and chemicals. This job involves an outdoor work environment, and tasks must be completed in all weather conditions.  Must be able to perform repetitive motions at least 50% of the time.  Must be able to lift 50 lbs. safely.  Must be able to perform routine landscape maintenance tasks outdoors in all weather conditions.

Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis until the position is filled or September 30, 2022, 5pm.

Please upload a resume and complete the brief online application.

The California Academy of Sciences will give full consideration for employment to all qualified applicants with criminal histories in a manner consistent with the requirements of the San Francisco Fair Chance Ordinance (SF Police Code, Article 49).

The California Academy of Sciences is an Equal Opportunity Employer and is committed to ensure that all employees and applicants receive equal consideration and treatment, regardless of race, color, creed, gender (including gender identity or gender expression), religion, marital or domestic partner status, age, place of birth, national origin or ancestry, physical, mental or medical disability, height or weight, sex, sexual orientation, citizenship, military service status, veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by state or federal law or local ordinance.


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