Urban Forester

Alexandria, VA
$66,459.64 - $93,168.14 Annually
Nov 19, 2022
Dec 12, 2022
Full Time
Urban Forester/ GS 21

Full time position

Park Services

The City of Alexandria is in Northern Virginia bordered by the District of Columbia (Potomac River), Arlington, and Fairfax counties. Once within the original boundary stones that demarked the area of the Nation’s Capital, Alexandria is a part of the greater Washington, D.C. metropolitan area. With a population of approximately 157,600 Alexandria is the sixth largest city in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Unique and historic, Alexandria is a place that is experiencing substantial redevelopment appeal and business growth opportunities because of a high market demand for urban living in a quality environment. About one-quarter of the City’s 15.47 square miles has been designated as a national or local historic district.

The City of Alexandria is an independent city with no county affiliation and derives its governing authority from a Charter granted by the Virginia General Assembly. Virginia is a Dillon Rule state, allowing local governments only the authority expressly granted to them by the Virginia Constitution or by the Virginia General Assembly in the City Charter or in general law. City Council is the governing body, which formulates policies for the administration of the City. The mayor is chosen on a separate ballot and presides over sessions of the Council.

If you are interested in working for the vibrant City of Alexandria, we invite qualified candidates to apply for our Urban Forester position for the Department of Recreation, Parks and Cultural Activities (RPCA).
  • The mission of Recreation, Parks & Cultural Activities is to enrich the City of Alexandria by creating meaningful experiences through public spaces, cultural activities, and programming.
  • The Department’s vision is to improve the well-being of every person in our community by connecting them to each other and their environment.

Urban Forester- Park Services
The Urban Forester provides professional direction in administration of coordinated programs for City-wide conservation and protection of arboreal resources, tree inventories, regulation of owner/developer actions on trees covered by the City Code, and the maintenance, removal, and planting of trees. This work involves the response to service requests submitted by City residents, the enforcement of the City Code provisions that apply to tree protection and maintenance as well as assists with the development of tree planting and maintenance plans including administration of annual planting and maintenance contracts. The Urban Forester is responsible for implementing and maintaining the adopted comprehensive tree plan for the City including criteria for removing dangerous trees, enhancing the health of existing trees, enhancing the overall forest through program and diversification, and risk management policies for reducing liability from dead or dangerous trees and ornamental plantings.
The employee uses the CityWorks data management system and Microsoft Office Suite to maintain records, prepare correspondence, and create reports. Work is reviewed through the evaluation of the results achieved. General supervision is provided by the City Arborist/Urban Forester Manager of Park Services.

Overview Park Services
The Recreation, Parks and Cultural Activities Department (RPCA) supports the well-being of Alexandria’s residents by ensuring access to a variety of quality recreation, park, and cultural experiences. There are over 900 acres of publicly accessible open space (this includes both public and private land that is open for public use) 566 acres of it is publicly owned park land, and approximately 30,000 street trees. The City Marina has 60 slips for recreational boating and annual licensing, commercial water taxi and sightseeing contracted services, licensed outdoor dining, and receives approximately 300,000 visitors annually. The Department is comprised of four operating Divisions: Recreation Services; Leadership & Management; Cultural Activities; and Park Services. These four Divisions work to offer the full range of programs, facilities, and parks.

Urban Forestry- Park Services
FY21 FY22 FY23 Personnel $287,376.00 $298,038.00 $283,976.00 Non-personnel $908,830.48 $1,173,695.47 $991,944.00 FTE* 3 3 3

This position will report to the City Arborist/Urban Forester Manager for Park Services for day-to-day work activities in managing proactive and reactive tree maintenance in the city. Staff work based on a strategic plan, business plan, and annual work plan. Considerable time and resources are focused on staff training and development. The duties of the incumbent may rotate over time to fully prepare them for continued advancement. The current organizational chart for the section is shown below.

Urban Forester key performance indicators:
  • Coordinate the planning, administration, and provision of urban forest plans, including conduct inventories of trees, tree evaluation, disease diagnosis and prevention, tree maintenance, promotion of urban forestry information and ideas.
  • Recommend and assist in the implementation of goals and objectives; establish schedules and methods for urban forest and open space maintenance; implement policies and procedures to achieve operational productivity equal to or better than comparable municipal and private sector benchmarks.
  • Prepares a variety of reports and planning documents; assist with strategic planning for department; develop requests for proposals; prepare and administer grants related to urban forestry. To manage financial resources to established annual budget, procurement, and payroll targets.
  • Prepare and manage contracts and bids related to tree management. Monitor and coordinate on-going operations of assigned program areas; maintain documentation and supporting records and statistics; inspect the work of contractors in the care of the urban forest.

Urban Forester key work projects FY23:
  • Administration of the tree service contracts, including contract development, monitoring of contractor work (to include tree maintenance and planting) and billing, and communication with contractors.
  • Develop procedures for surveys or other activities to address insects or other tree pests as needed.
  • Develop, implement, and monitor the urban forestry budget, including creating purchase orders, using financial software and spreadsheets.
  • Direct the tree maintenance and planting programs throughout the City in accordance with the Urban Forestry Master Plan.
  • Evaluate City trees to determine the health and stability of individual plants; determines a plan of action or creates a Work Order, as appropriate, for maintenance, removal, or other corrective action an individual tree may require.
  • Handle challenging or difficult interpersonal situations in an effective manner.
  • Investigate and evaluate service requests submitted by residents or City staff regarding City tree issues and generates Work Orders to address corrective measures as needed.
  • Manage storm damage to City Street and park trees; participates in emergency response activities; works with staff from other City Departments to respond to storm and emergency events.
  • Provide quality customer experiences to citizens, staff, and other City collaborators.
  • Regularly assigned to standby duty for after-hours response to emergency calls and responds to after-hours call-back to investigate and/or correct situations in the field as necessary.
  • Utilize the CityWorks data management system to update and track Service Requests and Work Orders in accordance with standard operating procedures.
  • Work with City Park maintenance staff to address and resolve tree issues.
  • Perform related work as assigned.

Key Work Aspects of RPCA and the City of Alexandria:
As a departmental leader, the City Arborist/Urban Forester Manager will have both a division assignment to carry out a functional area of work and a strategic team assignment. As such, you are tasked with creating an environment of success in the department such that staff are highly engaged to focus on results that support organizational attainment of our mission and strategic plan. Our purpose is to build an organizational cultural “that supports each of us and inspires excellence.”

RPCA Strategic Plan - Each senior leader is expected to implement the mission, vision, values, and the four focus areas as determined through business plans and the budget process. It is expected that all decisions will be made considering the values and focus areas.

Statement of Workplace Excellence - Every RPCA staff member has the right to a safe, healthy, efficient, and pleasant working environment where all organization members adhere to the highest standards of behavior, personal integrity, and truthfulness. Each staff member demonstrates full support and acts on deploying workplace excellence.

Shared Leadership Approach - We continually strive to gain the maximum amount of discretionary effort on the part of our staff members. All staff members are collectively responsible for our organizational community and have leadership roles. Everyone is a decision maker within his or her job. We invite participation in solving organizational issues and constantly improving our operations. We share a leader-to-leader model.

Customer Service Guarantee - We are committed to delivering a consistently superior customer experience to all who participate in our programs or visit our parks and facilities. Service will be:
  • Responsive - respond in a timely manner to all residents and customers both external and internal. We own the request we receive and do not shift the responsibility.
  • Professional - represent the department in appropriate appearance, decorum, and communication.
  • Courteous - Treat everyone with respect. Treat everyone fairly. Treat everyone with dignity.
  • Accountable - Demonstrate a bias toward action. Ensure follow-up and follow-through with appropriate results.
Our most valued assets are engaged staff members and customers.

High Performance Organization
RPCA commits to building and sustaining a high-performance organization. This ensures a clear and consistent strategic direction. We continually focus on improving all aspects on internal and external operation. We also strive through workplace excellence and shared leadership to inspire staff to outstanding outcomes. Every job in the organization has elements of team leadership, management, and task accomplishment. HPO is team based.

What You Should Bring
You should bring your ability to manage and prioritize multiple assignments and projects, work independently as well as with other City departments, staff, and the public. Your knowledge of arboriculture, techniques used in the management of urban forestry, and the assessments of trees will be needed. Your ability to lead and communicate effectively to others orally and in writing is critical. Your commitment to public service, providing outstanding customer experiences and always representing the Department and the City of Alexandria in a positive manner while being responsive, professional, courteous, and accountable will be highly valued in this role.

Minimum & Additional Requirements

Bachelor’s degree in a related field such as Environmental Science, Life Science, Biology, Landscape Architecture, Forestry, Urban Forestry, Arboriculture. Two (2) years of experience in a field related to the job.

ISA certified arborist and ISA tree risk assessment qualification or ability to obtain within one year.

Preferred Qualifications

Four-year college degree in natural or biological sciences, such as forestry, arboriculture, horticulture, entomology, environmental science, or a related field; at least two years’ experience overseeing a tree maintenance program or urban forestry management; or any equivalent combination of experience and training which provides the required knowledge, skills, and abilities.

Possess International Society for Arboriculture (ISA) Arborist Certification


This position requires successful completion of a criminal records background check and drug screening prior to employment.

Similar jobs