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Lead Field Botanist / Assistant Field Botanist

Job Location

Remote / California


Type of Job



$22.91 - $28.96 / hour

Published By

Publisher Name

Published Date

Jan 26, 2023

About the job

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CNPS Vegetation Programs

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.


Job Summary

CNPS is looking to hire one or more Lead Field Botanist and/or Assistant Field Botanist. These are full‐time positions that would be supervised by the Vegetation Field Data Specialist. The positions include at least six months of work, beginning in late March or early April 2023, and may be extended beyond a year depending on funding. The positions will survey and map California’s diverse flora and vegetation assemblages, implement different vegetation sampling methods to collect field data, identify plants to the species and subspecies/variety level, collect and process native plant seeds, and voucher plant specimens.


What You'll Do


Office work

  • Interact directly with the CNPS project supervisors and other partners with regard to project planning, data compilation, transfer of field data, etc.
  • Perform data entry, data cleansing, quality control, compilation, and management of vegetation data in MS Access, Survey123 and related software
  • Maintain and organize vegetation program field gear, supplies, etc.
  • Identification of plant specimens with dissecting microscope and dichotomous keys (such as in the Jepson Manual)
  • Sorting and processing of plant vouchers and seeds
  • Sorting and research of digital data; summarizing data in tables and queries
  • Vegetation description writing and related tasks
  • Querying GIS data, creating GIS range maps, and other GIS functions
  • Fine-scale mapping of vegetation in ArcGIS
  • Periodically attend monthly CNPS and/or quarterly meetings. Represent CNPS and the Vegetation Program at meetings as needed.

In addition, requirements for the Lead Field Botanist position require the ability to assist in coordinating sampling missions, planning effective and safe routes to and from field sampling areas, and coordinating with landowners / managers; mentor field assistants and/or volunteers to ensure a safe working environment and ensure accuracy with plant / community identification.



Collect both quantitative and qualitative vegetation and environmental field data within various California project areas, including use of CNPS plot/stand-based or BLM Assessment, Inventory and Monitoring (AIM) vegetation sampling methods. Field projects will include botanical and vegetation surveys in central and/or northern California, and may include surveys in other parts of California (e.g., Klamath Mountains, Mojave Desert, etc).  Fieldwork will be performed under rigorous conditions including 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. Field time will likely consist of 50-75% of the position duties.

The Lead Field Botanist will take on a larger role in supporting and managing crew safety and wellbeing, coordinating field logistics and scheduling, managing the crew’s equipment, and completing administrative paperwork. Before, during, and after field data collection, the Lead Field Botanist will be responsible for the organization and quality control of all data collected using iPad tablets and occasional paper forms.


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 ArcPro, ArcGIS online, 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.
  • For the Lead Field Botanist at minimum, an undergraduate degree in biology, botany, or a related field is required.

Field skills:

  • Strong background in California plant identification and ability to identify live and pressed plants, using the Jepson Manual and other floras
  • Ability to sight identify Central and/or Northern California plant species
  • Experience conducting botanical surveys, including BLM AIM protocols and CNPS vegetation protocols [the Lead Field Botanist position will be required to demonstrate greater than two years field data collection experience]
  • Experience with GPS or other mobile digital units and field survey equipment (e.g. compass, rangefinder, tape measure)
  • 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 topographic / aerial maps and perform regular field sampling missions for one to two weeks at a time.

Nice to Have's

  • For the Assistant Field Botanist position, coursework in botany, ecology, natural resources, range management, or related fields towards a bachelor’s degree is preferred.
  • Ability to work independently and coordinate daily tasks
  • Ability to recognize and determine the identity of riparian and wetland plants is a plus
  • 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- or 8-day stints, with camping remotely or staying at motels/home rentals overnight)
  • A valid California driver’s license is required
  • While working remotely, project work can be a centrally located (out of San Luis Obispo, Monterey, San Benito, etc. counties) and/or northern California (e.g., Humboldt, Siskiyou, Trinity, etc. counties), with support from the main CNPS office in Sacramento, CA.

What You'll Get

  • The Lead Field Botanist is a full-time non-exempt position with a starting hourly rate of $26.87 - $28.96.
  • The Assistant Field Botanist position is a full-time non-exempt position with a starting hourly rate of $22.91 - $24.69.
  • 100% of employee premiums for medical, 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.
  • A CNPS-issued laptop and remote work stipends.

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. The deadline to apply is February 15, 2023. Please include any pertinent information, including professional and personal experience, that is relevant to the position.


CNPS is an Equal Opportunity Employer and candidates from diverse backgrounds are encouraged to apply.

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