Natural Areas Specialist & Groundskeeper
Job Type

The Natural Areas Specialist & Groundskeeper works to maintain the beautiful 17-acre historic Fair Lane gardens and grounds in Dearborn, MI. This position reports to the Director of Gardens & Grounds and involves working with other garden team members and volunteers. This position will generally be expected to work M-F. This role is not eligible for remote work.


  • Participates in Gardens & Grounds department responsibilities by identifying and removing invasive plants from natural areas, including the Riverwalk, Burroughs Grotto, Rock Garden, Trail Garden, and other wooded areas of the property.
  • Monitor and maintain natural areas, including the areas described above, and track changes over time.
  • Make recommendations for improvement and implement improvements with support from other Gardens & Grounds team members and volunteers.
  • Support other Gardens & Grounds team members in preparing plant beds, weeding and planting; pruning shrubs.
  • Responsible for the removal of low tree branches; mowing and edging; repairing lawns; fall leaf clean-up; composting and spreading mulch, and clearing drains, walkways, and driveways of debris, snow, and ice.
  • Maintains general care of horticultural tools and equipment.
  • Assists with occasional garden programs, tours, and public outreach initiatives.
  • Demonstrates interest in furthering education on site history, native plants (trees, shrubs, and herbaceous plants), invasive plants, ornamental plants, turf management, irrigation, and landscape equipment care. 
  • Other duties and tasks as assigned by the Henry Ford Estate Leadership Team.


This is a full-time, hourly, non-exempt, year-round permanent position with benefits. The hourly rate is anticipated to be between $20 per hour; this position is eligible for overtime pay calculated at 1.5x the role’s normal hourly rate, but overtime opportunities will be limited. 

  • 70% employer-paid BCBSM/BCN medical, dental, and vision insurance for employee and family, effective upon start date (HSA available with enrollment in BCBSM HDHP).
  • 100% employer-paid life, short-term disability, and long-term disability insurance.
  • 100% employer-paid Employee Assistance Program.
  • 403(b) plan with a 3% employer contribution and 3% employer match.
  • Generous paid time off package including: 21 days (168 hours) of Paid Time Off (PTO) earned annually; PTO is accrued biweekly at a rate of 6.46 hours, 12 paid holidays, & 1 day (8 hours) of paid Volunteer Time Off (VTO).
  • University of Michigan Dearborn Wellness Center membership opportunity.
  • Ford X-Plan Discount
  • Professional development
  • Tuition Discounts at University of Michigan-Dearborn, Michigan State University, and Oakland University


  • This role will be in-person and is not eligible for remote work.
  • Expected schedule M-F with mutually agreeable start times.
  • Actively works hands-on with Gardens & Grounds staff and volunteers to complete tasks and projects. The schedule may include some weekend work during the growing season to accommodate the needs of the Estate


  • Either an associate degree or higher in a related field or an equivalent combination of education and experience.
  • Experience or ability to operate various landscape equipment, including power trimmers, brush cutters, push mowers, and hand tools such as shovels, rakes, and pruners. Willing to train in using and maintaining a chainsaw at low heights (no tree climbing required).
  • In-depth knowledge of native and invasive plant species identification and management, habitat composition, and basics of soil erosion prevention. 
  • Willing to obtain a State of Michigan Commercial Pesticide Applicator’s Certification and responsibly use appropriate pesticides to manage invasive species as required. 
  • Some experience with planting trees, shrubs, and herbaceous plants. Willing to learn proper pruning techniques.
  • Able to mow turf grass with walk-behind mower, edge flower beds with power trimmer, rake leaves, and clear driveways and walkways of debris and snow, as needed.
  • Must demonstrate strong communication and interpersonal skills; customer service oriented.
  • Must be organized, detail-oriented, self-motivated, and able to multi-task.
  • Ability to perform a variety of duties, often changing from one task to another of a different nature without loss of efficiency or composure.
  • Must be able to follow basic safety procedures and precautions.
  • Ability to work with individuals from a wide variety of ethnic, cultural, and economic backgrounds.
  • Collaborative and inclusive “team player” nature. The desire to be part of and contribute to HFE’s collaborative culture is a must.
  • Knowledge of Microsoft Office programs (Word, Excel, Powerpoint) is a plus.
  • Special coursework and/or certifications related to landscape work are a plus.


  • Ability to lift 25 pounds on a regular basis and up to 50 lbs occasionally; perform manual labor requiring considerable walking, lifting, reaching, climbing, stooping, pushing, pulling, and carrying. Prolonged periods of standing.
  • Ability to work in a variety of weather conditions.
  • While safety training and equipment will be provided to mitigate these instances from happening, be aware that this role encounters biting insects, poison ivy, and other challenges of outdoor work.
  • Actively works hands-on with Gardens & Grounds staff and volunteers to complete tasks and projects. Schedule may include some Saturdays during the growing season to accommodate volunteer participation.


  • All offers of employment at Henry Ford Estate are contingent upon clear results of a thorough background check. Background checks will be conducted on all final candidates. Background checks include Prior Employment Verification, Personal and Professional Reference Checks, Educational Verifications, and Criminal Conviction Reviews.
  • A criminal conviction will not result in an instant withdrawal of an employment offer. Henry Ford Estate considers the nature of crimes and their relationship to positions, the time since conviction, and the number of convictions when deciding if a candidate has clear results.
Salary Description