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Sustainable Landscaping Specialist


SUMMARY – The Elizabeth River Project, working to restore the environmental health of the Elizabeth River, seeks a Sustainable Landscaping Specialist (part-time, will consider full-time for the right candidate). Assess homeowner opportunities for sustainable landscaping projects; install rain barrels, organic lawn care makeovers and other natural landscaping projects. Also conduct light carpentry and landscaping at a nature park. The right candidate, with a background in environmental sciences, will assist also with long-term land conservation initiatives, conducting site visits to assess conservation values and working with landowners to pursue long-term land conservation opportunities.

RESPONSIBILITIES – This position includes responsibilities in up to three areas, depending on qualifications. 1) River Star Homes (minimum of 16 hours/week): The Sustainable Landscaping Specialist will implement on-the-ground improvements to help homeowners reduce their environmental impact on the Elizabeth River. The Specialist will work with other Elizabeth River Project team members to install and recertify rain barrels, plant native plants and assist with organic “lawn makeovers,” which include aerating and spreading compost, and assess homeowner sites for additional sustainable landscaping opportunities. Candidates should be comfortable working with the public and educating homeowners about best environmental practices. 2) Paradise Creek Nature Park (average of 4 hours/week): Conduct light carpentry and landscaping as needed to assist with maintenance of an education center at a nature park. 3) Land conservation (up to 20 hours/week for the right candidate): Conduct site visits and maintain communications with landowners and the non-profit board of the Living River Restoration Trust to assess properties for long-term conservation and facilitate property owner participation in long-term conservation initiatives of the Living River Restoration Trust, ranging from protection of land through conservation easements to purchase or acceptance of donation of high value land for conservation in perpetuity. Elizabeth River Project reserves the right to fill these needs with one full-time or several part-time positions depending on qualifications and availability.

- An understanding of environmental stewardship and sustainable landscaping practices. Relevant degree and/or work experience required. Preferred: Degree in conservation sciences.
- Strong “customer service” skills. Must be prompt and professional at all times.
- Basic landscaping skills required. Handyman skills compatible with installing rain barrels and light carpentry also required.
- A “can do” positive attitude is essential, including the ability to grow from feedback and work closely with a team
- Must have reliable transportation
- Criminal background check will be required

PAY RATE – This position is being considered for part-time or full-time depending on qualifications and availability. The pay range is $11 to $16/hour depending on qualifications, with the higher end of the scale to be considered only in the case of a candidate with a conservation related degree and significant relevant experience.  Mileage will be reimbursed for travel on the job.

ABOUT ELIZABETH RIVER PROJECT – The Elizabeth River Project,, was incorporated in 1993 with a mission to restore the environmental health of the Elizabeth River through citizen, government and business partnerships. With a waterfront office in downtown Portsmouth, VA., we operate environmental restoration and education programs in four urban cities. Our annual budget of $3 million comes from memberships, private donors and grants. A full-time staff of 17 operates award-winning programs including:
- River Star Homes program, recruiting over 4,300 homeowners since 2011 in the Elizabeth River Watershed committed to environmental stewardship;
- the Learning Barge, winner of the national education award from AIA, powered by sun and wind with a live wetland nursery, provides field trips to 60 students at a time;
- River Star Businesses program, launched in 1997, numbers 120 businesses who together have reduced pollution by 331 million pounds while restoring or conserving more than 1,780 acres of urban habitat (topic of a national EPA guidebook);
- Hundreds of wetland restorations, stormwater improvements and buffer plantings;
- River Star Schools program, started in 2004, recognizes 180 schools where students have conducted hands-on projects to reduce pollution and restore habitat;
- Paradise Creek Nature Park, a 40-acre waterfront park, with 2 miles of trails, 11 acres of restored wetland open for public paddles and the Fred W. Beazley River providing an enclosed classroom
- The Living River Restoration Trust is a sister non-profit that operates as the only locally based land trust in Hampton Roads, VA.

TO APPLY – Send cover letter, resume and three references to Barbara Gavin, River Star Homes Program Manager, Elizabeth River Project, 475 Water Street, C103A, Portsmouth, VA 23704. No phone calls please. Email OK (, but also send hard copy by mail.


It is the policy of the Elizabeth River Project to provide equal employment opportunities for all persons, without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, gender, age, veteran status, disability, political affiliation, sexual orientation or genetic information. Minorities, women, veterans and individuals with disabilities are encouraged to apply.