Media Relations Specialist

The Morton Arboretum

We’re a world-renowned nonprofit with a unique opportunity for a creative self-starter with an interest in nature and conservation. We’re seeking someone who loves to dig into complex, scientific topics and make them understandable in written communication, and thrives in a fast-paced environment. You must have experience writing scientific or other complex subject matter, including press releases. Your work will help position The Morton Arboretum as a top tree science and conservation organization, locally and globally.

Position Details

Media Relations Specialist
Northern Illinois
Lisle, IL

Position Summary:

Work collaboratively with the Arboretum’s Science and Conservation team to proactively identify, develop, and pursue story ideas that showcase the institution’s leadership in tree science and conservation, and promote team members as experts.

In your cover letter, describe how your experience matches the following job functions:

  • Develop communications to support the goals of the Chicago Region Trees Initiative (CRTI). 
  • Draft media relations materials, including pitches, briefing materials, press releases, yearly calendars, and coverage reports, demonstrating writing excellence throughout. 
  • Continually cultivate relationships with key local, state, national, and international media writers and producers, and pitch and secure stories. Coordinate interviews from start to finish with internal spokespeople. 
  • Identify trends and topics in the media where the Arboretum can contribute its thought leadership and expertise. 
  • Develop science, conservation, and collection-related social media content. 
  • Work collaboratively with members of the Marketing and Communications department to post and monitor social media, develop media relations materials, and respond to media requests for interviews and information related to events and other Arboretum activities, as needed.


Bachelor’s degree in Public Relations or related field and 3+ years professional experience in public relations required. Experience in non-profit or higher education with a focus on science or conservation beneficial. Ability to translate complex concepts into lay-friendly language for media outlets, with a track record of successfully pitching and placing these types of stories. Established contacts in the science/conservation/environmental media a plus. Excellent writing and speaking skills required. Working knowledge of Cision media tracking software or other electronic media distribution and tracking service beneficial. Ability to stay current with best practices and evolving trends in media relations and analytics. Proficiency with Google applications beneficial.

Success Factors:

Creative, clear communicator with knowledge of AP Style and the ability to adapt to and sustain a brand voice. Curious, and driven to understand the Arboretum’s mission-focused work. Ability to handle multiple assignments simultaneously and quickly with strong attention to detail. Self- starter, creative, innovative, and a knack for thinking “out of the box.” Ability to relate effectively with people of various backgrounds and ages, as part of an institutional commitment to diversity and inclusion. A commitment to, and ability to effectively convey, the Arboretum’s mission with genuine passion, and the willingness to continually learn about the programs and mission.

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