CNPS is looking to hire two field-focused positions at the Lead Field Botanist and Field Coordinator levels. These are full‐time positions that will be supervised by the CNPS Rare Plant Program Manager. Both positions are currently funded for at least one year of work, beginning in late January or early February 2024, and may be extended based on funding. Both positions will perform botanical surveys, rare plant mapping, data collection, and voucher collecting, and gain experience in collecting tissue samples and seeds of California’s native, rare, and unusual plants in several locations throughout California. Fieldwork may be completed in teams or in coordination with volunteers but will often be conducted independently. The Field Coordinator will also be required to spend a significant amount of time coordinating with other Rare Plant Program staff, CNPS chapter representatives, external partners, and volunteers. As a statewide non-profit with 36 volunteer-run chapters, an important component of these positions will be the ability to meaningfully engage and coordinate the support of volunteers in our funded work.

These are unique opportunities to work with a positive, devoted team of staff and partners on important efforts that contribute to the conservation of California’s rare plants and unique biodiversity. Conservation-minded individuals that are highly organized and able to work both independently and collaboratively in office and field settings are encouraged to apply.

CNPS Rare Plant Program 
The CNPS Rare Plant Program develops current, accurate information on the distribution, ecology, and conservation status of California’s rare and endangered plants for its effective use in science-based plant conservation. For 55 years the Rare Plant Program’s primary focus has been to gather and assess rare plant data to develop and maintain the CNPS Rare Plant Inventory (RPI). The RPI, a flagship product of CNPS, has guided rare plant education, protection, conservation planning, and land acquisition and management in California for 50 years. In 2010, the Program expanded its focus to include field work to collect data on rare plants that are a high priority for conservation through its Rare Plant Treasure Hunt program. More recently, the work of the Rare Plant Program has expanded further to include conservation seed bank collections as an affiliate of the California Plant Rescue initiative and high priority native plant surveys and vouchering through various grants and contracts with new partners and collaborators.

What You’ll Do

Office work (both positions)

  • Perform data entry, data management, quality control, compilation, and management of plant data in Esri Survey123, ArcPro, and ArcGIS Online
  • Accurately identify vascular plants from across California and ensure data integrity
  • Maintain and organize field gear, supplies, paperwork, and other project related items
  • Identification of plant specimens with dissecting microscope and dichotomous keys (such as in the Jepson Manual)
  • Sort and process plant vouchers
  • Sort and research digital data; summarize data in tables and queries
  • Plant description writing and related tasks
  • Query GIS data, create GIS range maps, and other GIS functions
  • Periodically attend monthly CNPS and/or quarterly meetings to represent CNPS and the Rare Plant Program as needed

Additional office requirements for the Field Coordinator may include:

  • Interact directly with the CNPS project supervisors, peers, external partners, and volunteers about project planning, data compilation, and transfer of field data
  • Ability to work with other CNPS science staff to prioritize species and sites for mapping and data collection
  • Assist in coordinating and planning survey trips; this may include planning effective and safe routes to and from field sampling areas; coordinating with landowners / land managers; acquiring and maintaining valid permits; and other field related tasks
  • Mentor field assistants and/or volunteers to ensure high quality data collection and completion of relevant project deliverables or event outcomes
  • Maintain a safe and inclusive working environment at all times; this may include interactions or collaborations with peers, volunteers, the public, and partners

Field work (both positions)

  • Collect both quantitative and qualitative plant, habitat, and ecological data within various California project areas
  • Use various survey and sampling protocols published by CNPS, CDFW, and other partners (e.g., CDFW Protocols for Surveying and Evaluating Impacts to Special Status Native Plant Populations and Natural Communities; USFWS Guidelines for Conducting and Reporting Botanical Inventories for Federally Listed, Proposed and Candidate Plants; CNDDB field survey form)
  • Conduct botanical surveys throughout California. Current funding includes the following focus areas: BLM Redding Field Office (Siskiyou, Trinity, Shasta, and Tehama counties), Eldorado National Forest (Alpine, Amador, El Dorado, and Placer counties) in northern California; and Kern, Ventura, Los Angeles, Santa Barbara counties in central and southern California

Additional field requirements for the Field Coordinator may include:

  • Provide support in managing field staff/volunteer safety
  • Coordinate field logistics and scheduling
  • Manage and maintain field equipment
  • Ensure complete and accurate data collection
  • Take on a more engaged role in coordination with volunteers and partners

Field work will be performed under variable, often rigorous conditions including wild areas away from roads and facilities. Work may be in shifts of up to 10 hours per day. Most often, work is completed during a typical 5-day work week, but occasional weekend or evening work may be necessary, especially for outreach and volunteer engagement activities. Overnight travel for surveys will require camping or sometimes staying at motels or similar accommodations. Field time is expected to account for 50 – 75% of the position duties.

Who You Are

Data & office skills:

  • Strong organizational, verbal, and written communication, analytical and computer skills (Windows Operating System, Microsoft 365 software, and email)
  • Experience with GIS software, such as Esri ArcPro, ArcGIS Online, FieldMaps, Survey123, and Excel spreadsheets
  • Experience with data entry, quality control, and management of both hard copy and digital data
  • Detail-oriented with an ability to keep well organized and accurate records

Field skills:

  • Strong background in California plant identification and ability to identify live and pressed plants, using the Jepson Manual and other floras/resources
  • Ability to sight identify common California plant species to genus or species
  • Experience conducting botanical surveys, including CNPS and CDFW survey protocols
    • the Lead Field Botanist position will be required to demonstrate two or more years of field data collection experience
    • The Field Coordinator will be required to demonstrate at least four years of field experience and one year of coordination 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 hike with a heavy backpack and/or tools and field sampling/collecting equipment
  • Ability to interpret hard copy and digital topographic / aerial maps and perform regular field sampling missions for up to a week at a time
  • Ability to work independently and coordinate daily tasks while maintaining consistent communication with supervisor(s)

Nice To Have’s

  • Familiarity with the work of CNPS and/or the CNPS Rare Plant Inventory, CNDDB, RareFind, and BIOS databases
  • Experience collecting voucher specimens, working in an herbarium, and/or collecting native plant seed
  • Experience with and/or interest in learning bryophyte and/or lichen identification
  • Enthusiasm, positive attitude, and ability to work well in a team setting
  • Due to current regional focus of funded projects, individuals based in central – southern California (i.e., proximate to the southern CA focus areas listed above) OR central-northern California (i.e., proximate to the northern CA focus areas listed above) are highly encouraged apply

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 accommodation 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 2- to 6-day stints, with camping remotely or staying at motels/home rentals overnight)
  • A valid California driver’s license is required
  • This position is remote, with extensive travel throughout California
  • Office space is available for use at both our Sacramento and Berkeley offices

What You’ll Get

The Lead Field Botanist position is a full-time non-exempt position with a starting hourly rate of $26.87 – $28.96

The Field Coordinator position is a full-time non-exempt position with a starting hourly rate of $31.51 – $33.96

  • 100% of employee premiums for health (Kaiser or Anthem), life, dental, and vision insurance
  • 401(k) retirement plan with up to 6% matching contributions, eligible immediately
  • Optional flexible spending account (FSA) / health savings account (HSA), dependent care account (DCA) and/or transportation savings account (TSA)
  • Annual paid leave benefits include 13 holidays, 12 sick/wellness days, and 10 paid vacation days
  • 16 weeks of paid parental leave
  • A CNPS-issued laptop, $750 home office stipend, and $60/month telework stipend
  • Attendance at biannual staff team building events

About California Native Plant Society

The California Native Plant Society (CNPS) is a statewide non-profit conservation organization (www.cnps.org) founded in 1965, with almost 13,000 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.