Application Deadline: March 03, 2023
Department: Vegetation
Employment Type: Full Time
Location: Remote; Project Work in Northern California
Compensation: $31.51 – $33.96 / hour

Job Summary 
CNPS is looking to hire one Associate Vegetation Ecologist. This is a full-time non-exempt position that will be supervised by the Vegetation Field Data Specialist. The position includes at least 12 months of work, beginning in early April 2023, and the position will likely be extended. This position is responsible for supporting regional vegetation inventory, classification, mapping, and monitoring efforts in northwestern California and other areas through the coordination of field missions and the promotion of the Manual of California Vegetation and Sensitive Natural Communities Initiative. This position requires a detail-oriented individual to coordinate fieldwork and crews in vegetation inventory and mapping efforts, help organize and integrate vegetation data in regional efforts, classify and describe vegetation, and increase training, outreach, and communication on California’s vegetation. This position will typically work independently and may direct 2-4 staff, partners and/or volunteers, in the office or in the field. Other opportunities include training staff, students, or volunteers on data collection, data entry, and Geographic Information System (GIS) tasks using CNPS vegetation methods and related work (e.g., plant identification & specimen collection). Field time will likely be 10-25% of the position duties.

CNPS Vegetation Program
The CNPS Vegetation Program supports a uniform system for vegetation sampling, classification, and mapping. 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, describe, and rank rarity of vegetation. At the heart of this effort is A Manual of California Vegetation; originally a hard-copy reference, this resource is now available and regularly updated online.

What You’ll Do
Office work

  • Coordinate logistics and track progress on regional sampling and mapping projects in northwestern California
  • Compile, organize, quality control, and synthesize vegetation data in databases and spreadsheets
  • Manage, query, analyze and display spatial information using ESRI ArcPro, ArcMap, and other software
  • Use literature to research and describe vegetation and environmental factors
  • Assist with ranking of vegetation and webinars on classifying, mapping, and evaluating sensitive vegetation
  • Summarize natural communities in A Manual of California Vegetation and in written reports. 
Field work
  • Support ongoing fieldwork of field staff and partners on vegetation classification and mapping efforts
  • Conduct vegetation sampling and training in regional projects across California
  • Recognize patterns and stands of vegetation and identify them through the use of diagnostic keys 
  • Identify plants using taxonomic keys, hand lens, and dissecting microscope. 

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 coordinating with staff, partners, landowners, and stakeholders to build relationships, obtain land access, and facilitate consensus on collaborative projects
  • Experience coordinating surveys, mapping and the description of California’s diverse vegetation
  • Experience coordinating field work for at least 2 to 4 staff across project areas that span broad areas (e.g., across multiple park units or > 1 million acres)
  • Ability to work independently, communicate effectively, and coordinate daily tasks of others
  • Ability to maintain and manage accurate records in digital and hard-copy formats
  • Experience with GIS, such as ESRI ArcMap, Field Maps, and Survey123 to implement GIS tools for self, other staff and volunteers, and to provide displays digitally, in reports, and querying online
  • Proficiency with databases and/or spreadsheets to quality control, manipulate, and manage data
  • Skill at describing and representing vegetation in classification, mapping, and in written reports
Field skills:
  • Familiarity with plants and plant communities throughout California with a specific northern California emphasis
  • Experience conducting botanical surveys and vegetation sampling, such as the CNPS vegetation protocols
  • Ability to identify live and pressed plants, using the Jepson Manual and other floras
  • Ability to use GPS (Global Positioning System) or other mobile units and field gear (e.g., compass, rangefinder, binoculars, tape measures, camera)
  • Ability to interpret hard copy and digital topographic / aerial maps and perform field sampling missions
  • Ability to work individually and in teams on field data collection in varied conditions, including inclement weather, rugged terrain, poison oak, and other potentially toxic plants
  • Ability to drive 4X4 vehicles over variable terrain and to ride in and/or drive ATV/OHV.

Nice to Have’s
While CNPS recognizes that not every individual will exhibit all of these characteristics, the successful candidate will possess at least one – and ideally more than one – of the following: 

  • At a minimum, an undergrad degree in botany, ecology, or related field. A master’s or higher degree is preferred
  • Data analysis experience using PC-Ord, R, or Python to assist in classification and GIS analyses
  • Fluency in Spanish or other languages spoken in California
  • Knowledge of CNPS; ability to manage complex projects independently and efficiently
  • Enthusiasm, positive attitude, and ability to work well in dynamic, team settings and a commitment to the values of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Justice.

What You’ll Get

  • Hourly rate of $31.51 – $33.96
  • 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
  • Paid parental leave
  • A CNPS-issued laptop, field gear, and remote work stipends
Additional Information
  • Office work schedule is generally eight hours a day, Monday through Friday. Flexible schedules are possible.
  • Fieldwork schedules may be rigorous (e.g. 10 hours/day during 4- or 8-day stints, with camping remotely or staying at motels/home rentals overnight)
  • A valid driver’s license is required.
  • While working remotely, project work will be in northern California (e.g., Del Norte, Humboldt, Mendocino, Siskiyou, Trinity, etc. counties), with support from the main CNPS office in Sacramento, CA. 

Physical Requirements 
This job requires prolonged sitting and computer use, 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.

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
For more information: or Application