Urban Naturalists

The Urban Naturalists are our hands-on environmental stewards who restore biodiversity in Indianapolis through planting, preserving, and maintaining urban ecosystems. We employ young adults in the Urban Naturalists program, providing them with job skills and professional development so they’re prepared for impactful careers in environmental fields.

OUR WORK
The Urban Naturalists’ work is almost exclusively outdoors and is focused on the maintenance and management of green stormwater infrastructure—things like rain gardens and green roofs, which capture and filter rain water. The team works on a variety of green projects to manage the city’s stormwater, with contracts from Citizens Energy Group (CEG), the City of Indianapolis, and KIB.

Here are some of the team’s regular duties:

  • Maintaining stormwater planter beds (planning, design, and plant installation)
  • Watering, mulching, mapping, and pruning perennial plants
  • Weeding, litter clean-up, and community engagement

In addition to our contracted work with CEG and the City’s Department of Public Works, team members restore habitat along Indianapolis waterways and do various in-house projects with KIB, like maintaining some of our greenspaces and pocket parks. The Urban Naturalists do meaningful, environmental work for our city while engaging neighbors in community-based environmental stewardship.

 

CONNECTING YOUNG ADULTS WITH PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE IN GREEN-COLLAR JOBS
This work readiness program serves college students in environmental fields of study. Students receive exposure to various types of green-collar careers. Urban Naturalists take part in enrichment activities that include networking with environmental leaders, touring places associated with green industries, and exploring career opportunities.

WHY NATIVE PLANTS?
Public spaces and residential neighborhoods are usually designed with a limited palette of plant species, mostly from Europe and Asia. Because native insect species—like monarch butterflies—can eat only specific plants in their larval stages, they starve when they encounter only exotic vegetation. Those native insect species serve as the main food source for all small mammals and amphibians—no native flora means no native insects, and that means no wildlife … including people who rely on plants and animals for food!

APPLY TODAY TO BE AN URBAN NATURALIST
Work begins part-time in mid-April, with full-time opportunities during the summer as schedules allow. Beginning pay rate is $12 an hour.