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Assistant Field Botanist

Job Location

North Coast, CA


Type of Job




Published By

Publisher Name

Published Date

Jul 2, 2022

About the job

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About CNPS

The California Native Plant Society (CNPS) is a statewide non-profit conservation organization ( founded in 1965, with more than 11,000 members in 35 chapters across California and Baja California Mexico. The mission of CNPS is to increase understanding and appreciation of California’s native plants and to conserve them and their natural habitats through scientific study, education, advocacy, horticulture, and land stewardship.


CNPS Vegetation Program

The CNPS Vegetation Program supports a uniform system for vegetation sampling, classification, and mapping and maintains vegetation information databases. This system, developed over the past 25 years by CNPS and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW), is used by both governmental and non-governmental institutions to map, categorize and describe vegetation.


About the Role

The Assistant Field Botanist is a full‐time non-exempt position that is supervised by the Field Data Specialist. The position includes at least 6 months of work, beginning in the end of July 2022, and may be extended beyond a year depending on funding. The Assistant Field Botanist will gain experience in surveying and mapping California’s diverse flora and vegetation assemblages, learning different techniques for collecting field data, identifying plants to the species and subspecies/variety level, collecting and vouchering plant specimens, entering data and performing data quality control.


What You’ll Do

Office work

  • Data entry and quality assurance / quality control (QA/QC) of data
  • Identification of plant specimens with dissecting microscope and dichotomous keys (such as in the Jepson Manual)
  • Sorting and research of data
  • Sorting and processing of plant vouchers
  • Querying GIS data, creating GIS range maps, and other GIS functions
  • Vegetation description writing and related tasks


Specific field projects will include vegetation surveys in far northern California and may include surveys in other parts of California (e.g. the San Francisco Bay Area). Fieldwork will be performed for at least five months of time under rigorous conditions in wild areas away from roads and facilities. Work may be in shifts of up to 10 hours per day during 4‐8 day survey missions, primarily with camping or sometimes staying at motels overnight.


Who You Are

Data & office skills:

  • Strong organizational, verbal and written communication, analytical and computer skills (Windows Operating System, Microsoft Word, Excel, and email).
  • Experience with GIS software, such as ESRI ArcMap, databases (e.g. Access) and/or spreadsheets.
  • Proficiency in data entry, quality control, and management of both hard copy and digital data. Familiarity with CNDDB a plus.
  • Ability to keep accurate records.

Field skills:

  • Strong background in California plant identification and experience conducting botanical surveys of a floristic nature.
  • Ability to identify live and pressed plants, using the Jepson Manual and other floras.
  • Experience using GPS (Global Positioning System) or other mobile digital units and field survey equipment (e.g. compass, rangefinder, and tape measure), and reading and navigating using topographic maps.
  • Ability to conduct fieldwork in varied environmental conditions, including inclement weather, rugged terrain, and Poison Oak (and other toxic plants).
  • Ability to drive 4X4 vehicle over variable terrain.
  • Ability to ride in or drive an OHV vehicle (Side x Side and/or ATV).
  • Ability to carry a heavy backpack and/or tools.
  • Ability to interpret hard copy and digital maps, and perform regular field sampling missions for a week at a time.

Nice to Have’s

  • At a minimum, an undergraduate degree in biology, botany, or a related field.
  • Ability to work independently and coordinate daily tasks.
  • Ability to recognize and determine the identify of riparian and wetland plants.
  • Enthusiasm, positive attitude, and ability to work well in a team setting.

Physical Requirements

This job requires prolonged sitting, use of computer and mouse, and the ability to participate in fieldwork including standing, hiking, driving, carrying gear (up to 1/3 of your body weight), and traveling off-trail in sites with variable grade. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform essential functions.


Additional Information

  • Office work schedule is generally eight hours a day, Monday through Friday. Flexible schedules are possible.
  • Fieldwork schedules can be rigorous (e.g. 10 hours per day during 4-day stints, with camping or staying at motels/home rentals overnight).
  • A valid California driver’s license is required.
  • While working remotely, this is a North Coast-based position (out of Humboldt, Mendocino or Del Norte counties).
  • Periodic travel to the Sacramento office and other field locations in California will be required.
  • Overnight accommodations include either camping or staying at motels/home rentals with paid travel.

What You’ll Get

  • Hourly rate starting at $22.22/hour.
  • 100% of employee premiums for health, life, dental, and vision insurance
  • 401(k) retirement plan with up to 6% matching contributions, eligible immediately
  • Annual paid leave benefits include 13 holidays, 12 sick/wellness days, and 10 paid vacation days to start
  • A CNPS-issued laptop and a 750$ home office stipend to set up your home office
  • 50$ monthly internet/phone stipend
  • Field gear stipend

Equal Opportunity Policy

CNPS’s policy is to afford equal employment opportunity to all persons, regardless of age, ancestry, color, disability, gender, gender expression, gender identity, marital status, medical condition, military or veteran status, national origin, political affiliation, race, religion, sex, and sexual orientation. This policy demonstrates CNPS's commitment to creating a diverse and inclusive environment that values different perspectives and fosters belonging. To better understand the demographic profile of applicants, CNPS requests candidates to fill out the volunteer questionnaire that is part of the application form. Your responses will remain confidential, anonymized, and not shared with the hiring committee.


To Apply

Submit a cover letter and resume here. Please include any pertinent information, including professional and personal experience, that is relevant to the position. The deadline to apply is July 11, 2022.

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