Job Post

MSU Extension seeks Christmas Tree Educator

February 14, 2020

Position Title

Christmas Tree Educator                                                            

MSU Extenstion



Job Summary 
Michigan State University Extension
supports the Christmas tree industry in Michigan
and is searching for a person to serve as an Extension Educator in this unique industry.  


Working/Functional Title

Christmas Tree Educator

Position Summary

Michigan State University Extension supports the Christmas tree industry in Michigan and is searching for a person to serve as an Extension Educator in this unique industry.  Michigan’s climate, soils, and centralized location to markets makes Michigan 3rd in the nation in Christmas tree production. Michigan’s approximately 27,000 acres of commercial Christmas trees provide around 1.7 million fresh Christmas trees to the national market annually.  MSU Extension, in partnership with the Michigan Christmas Tree Association, is recognized as a leader in providing research-based extension and outreach programming to growers in Michigan and throughout the Great Lakes region. This Extension Educator will be located in Missaukee County, the number one county in Michigan for Christmas tree production. 


As part of Michigan State University Extension (MSUE) and the Agriculture and Agribusiness Institute (AABI), this position will provide local as well as statewide leadership and educational programming expertise to the Christmas tree industry.  Located in Lake City, Michigan (Missaukee County), this position will have both a local and statewide focus, will collaborate across work teams, Institutes, and commodity groups, and work with faculty, specialists and educators for overall advancement of Michigan agricultural industries.


In this position, you will design, implement, and evaluate educational programming that is research based, will address the needs of clientele groups, and ensure dissemination of research-based information through various methods including multi-media, personal education, and written articles. You will provide growers and agri-business professionals with the knowledge to profitably produce Christmas trees and complementing products, such as wreaths, garland, etc.  While contributing to the short and long-term viability of farms and the economic well-being of Michigan citizens, you will serve as an informational resource for Extension personnel and clientele. You will join educators from the Ornamental Horticulture team as well as campus-based researchers and specialists, to provide education and service to the Michigan Christmas tree industry.


Michigan State University Extension encourages self-motivated people trained in this area who are eager to work with Christmas tree producers to help them improve the profitability, viability, and sustainability of Michigan agriculture to apply for this position.


Characteristic Duties/Responsibilities

  • Develop, conduct and evaluate innovative educational programs in Christmas tree production and management that meet current and statewide needs.
  • Communicate and interact with stakeholder groups to evaluate the needs of the clientele.
  • Serve as an information resource to clientele, partners and Extension staff.
  • Collaborate with MSU Extension staff and specialists to conduct and evaluate programming efforts.
  • In concert with the MSUE work team(s), work with MSU specialists, federal, state and county agencies to complete needs assessment of the stakeholder and develop effective programming and assist with field research.
  • Create and promote positive public relations for MSU Extension and the Agriculture and Agribusiness Institute.
  • Author, produce and submit regular research-based educational materials.
  • Develop and utilize appropriate media methods to communicate current and timely information, research results, and relevant industry updates, as well as a schedule of current and future activities.
  • Actively participate in professional development opportunities.
  • Gather and report programming outputs and impacts, to demonstrate program effectiveness and to guide future program priorities for MSUE, the AABI Institute and the work teams aligned with.
  • Work to ensure that community needs assessments, program development, and recruitment efforts include the engagement of Michigan’s diverse residents across race, gender, socioeconomic class, disabilities and other differences.
  • Seek external funding opportunities that enhance the overall effectiveness and/or reach of the program.
  • Understand and implement Civil Rights, diversity, equity and inclusion policies and procedures.
  • Other duties or projects as assigned by the Institute Director.

Required Degree

Masters -Horticulture, Forestry

Minimum Requirements

  • Master's degree from an accredited institution in a field of study related to horticulture, forestry or related fields with a focus on aspects of the Christmas tree industry, must be earned by date of hire.
  • Knowledge of application of integrated pest management principles in horticultural or agricultural operations.
  • Demonstrated ability and skill in educational program planning, implementation and evaluation.
  • Ability to create and carryout a project plan from research of initial concept to project completion and follow-up.
  • Experience with marketing/promotion of educational programs.
  • Strong interpersonal, oral and written communication skills.
  • Experience and proven ability working productively with a team.
  • Self-motivated with demonstrated ability to work independently in an office environment without daily supervision and/or coaching.
  • Proficiency in use of technology (e.g. web research, Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook for mail/calendaring, web conferencing, distance technology, etc.) for day-to-day work and educational program delivery, record keeping, reporting, team-based communications and overall management.
  • Demonstrated success in program development and delivery to diverse audiences/communities, including but not limited to race, gender, socioeconomic class, disabilities and other differences.
  • Proven ability in establishing and working with a diverse network of constituents and community members across race, gender, socioeconomic class, disabilities and other differences to assist with program development and outreach.
  • Understanding of and ability to implement Civil Rights principles and compliance standards.
  • Ability to lift and carry educational materials, equipment, etc. up to 25 lbs.
  • Ability to travel in local and surrounding communities and occasional long distance travel are required as a regular part of this position.
  • Transportation is the responsibility of the employee.
  • Other skills and/or physical abilities required to perform duties of the position.

Desired Qualifications

  • Understanding of and/or experience working with the tree and/or nursery industries.
  • Experience in designing, establishing and analyzing field research projects conducted with private growers.
  • Knowledge of entomology, plant pathology, or weed science related to Christmas Tree Production.
  • 3-years’ experience in Extension program delivery or demonstrated ability and skill in educational program planning, implementation and evaluation (relevant experience acquired within the last 5-years preferred).
  • Demonstrated ability to conduct several projects simultaneously.
  • Experience in successful contract and grant writing, including securing and managing grant funds and resources.

Required Application Materials

Current resume/CV

Cover letter

Four (4) professional references, including at least two (2) current or prior supervisors

Special Instructions

This position is a full-time, fixed term end-dated appointment, renewable annually based upon successful performance and continued funding.


MSU Statement

Michigan State University has been advancing the common good with uncommon will for more than 160 years. One of the top research universities in the world, MSU pushes the boundaries of discovery and forges enduring partnerships to solve the most pressing global challenges while providing life-changing opportunities to a diverse and inclusive academic community through more than 200 programs of study in 17 degree-granting colleges.

Advertised: Eastern Standard Time
Applications close: Eastern Daylight Time


For Full Job Description and To Apply Please Visit Here


 MSU is an affirmative-action, equal-opportunity employer, committed to achieving excellence through a diverse workforce and inclusive culture that encourages all people to reach their full potential. Michigan State University Extension employment opportunities are open to eligible/qualified persons without regard to race, color, national origin, gender, gender identity, religion, age, height, weight, disability, political beliefs, sexual orientation, marital status, family status or veteran status. MSU is committed to achieving excellence through cultural diversity. Persons with disabilities have the right to request and receive reasonable accommodations. The university actively encourages applications and/or nominations of women, persons of color, veterans and persons with disabilities.


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