Job Type: Temporary
Salary Details: $20-24 per hour, based on qualifications and experience, plus per diem and stipend

Are you interested in gaining field experience to prepare for graduate school or advance your understanding of work in the natural sciences? Come and join our experienced team of Ecologists collecting data on public lands in the western US! Our seasonal positions will increase your professional skills while building a technical skillset that is applicable across many natural science fields. You can gain all this career-building experience while exploring beautiful landscapes and getting to know your public lands.

The University of Montana (UM) O’Connor Center for the Rocky Mountain West (OCRMW) is partnering with the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to implement their Riparian and Wetland Assessment, Inventory, and Monitoring (AIM) strategy. This protocol is targeted at collecting standardized inventory and long-term vegetation and soils data at multiple scales across BLM Districts in the Western U.S.

We are currently recruiting Field Botanists with experience in botany, vegetation ecology, or ecological monitoring for vegetation data collection in Nevada from May through August/September 2023 (exact dates vary by project).

The Botanist will work with a Crew Lead and Technician to collect vegetation data in wetland and riparian ecosystems. Crews of 3 people work eight-day hitches: 10-hours/day, from Tuesday-Tuesday, with a six-day break between hitches. All positions are field-based and require working and camping in isolated regions. We ask seasonal staff to commit to the entire field season, practice safety awareness, safe driving policies, and contribute to building a healthy, productive, and enjoyable work environment.

Applicants should understand that this is a physically demanding position. Crews often work and camp in inclement weather conditions, frequently navigating rough, unpaved roads in 4×4 vehicles, and carry heavy loads (40 lbs.) by foot over rugged desert and mountainous terrain. Sampling locations are occasionally near small towns, but these towns often have few amenities. Primitive camping is required. Cell phone service is limited.

UM supplies all necessary monitoring equipment, including vehicles, to carry out the work. We provide some group camping gear (stoves, coolers). Individuals are responsible for their personal camping gear (tents, sleeping bags) but UM has camping gear available to borrow.

The University of Montana is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity employer and has a strong institutional commitment to the principle of diversity in all areas. Applicants with diverse backgrounds, experiences, ability, and perspectives are encouraged to apply.

Position Details

  • Position is full time, temporary (< 4 months).
  • Compensation is $20-24 per hour, based on qualifications and experience.
  • All positions include (tax-free):
    • $268 meal per diem per 8-day hitch
    • $600 equipment stipend
  • Benefits include Worker’s Compensation coverage, three paid holidays and accrual of sick leave.

Education and Experience

  • Minimum three years of undergraduate coursework required.
  • A bachelor’s or master’s degree in botany, plant sciences, biology, soil science, range ecology, natural resources management, or related subject preferred.
  • A minimum of one season of field data collection or intensive coursework in field data collection.
  • Coursework and experience in plant taxonomy or systematics required. Knowledge of wetland ecology and experience working in wetlands and/or riparian areas preferred.

Preferred Technical Skills

  • Experience identifying plants to species in the field using a dichotomous key (e.g., Flora of the Pacific Northwest, Hitchcock and Cronquist, Jepson), including challenging taxa, such as Salicaceae, Poaceae, and Cyperaceae. Crews may encounter 60-90 plant species in a single plot, in various phenological states. Successful AIM sampling requires rapid and accurate field identification using dichotomous keys and meticulous documentation of unidentified plants.
  • Experience identifying wetland or riparian plants.
  • Familiarity with commonly accepted plant nomenclature and taxonomy.
  • Experience preparing and organizing voucher specimens.
  • Careful attention to detail.
  • Experience following established field protocols to conduct sampling and field data collection.
  • Experience with data entry and management using electronic devices.
  • Experience navigating off-trail with compass and GPS.
  • Experience with Microsoft Office (Word, Excel) and preferably with Field Maps and Survey123.
  • Experience driving 4WD trucks, especially on rough and unmaintained roads. Valid driver’s license and clean driving record (DUI or other serious convictions need not apply).
  • Certification in CPR and Wilderness First Aid.

Professional Skills

  • Ability to maintain good working relationships with crew members and managers.
  • Ability to accept guidance and constructive criticism from peers and supervisors; willingness to learn and incorporate suggested changes.
  • Demonstrated ability to resolve interpersonal conflict during stressful situations.
  • Ability to interact with stakeholders and partners in a professional manner.
  • Demonstrated ability to work productively as part of a team to accomplish mutual goals and to work independently as required.
  • Commitment to an entire field season.

Physical Requirements

  • Ability to carry 40 pounds in a backpack over rugged mountainous terrain, off-trail, for up to eight (8) miles a day, gaining up to 2000 ft. of elevation per day.
  • Ability to dig soil pits in rocky and dense soils (50 cm deep).
  • Willingness and ability to maintain a positive attitude in field conditions that include exposure to inclement weather, hot or cold weather (20°F–110°F), rugged terrain, mosquitos, venomous snakes, bears and other wildlife, lightning, wildfire, etc., all while maintaining a strong commitment to team safety required.
  • Willingness to work irregular hours in harsh environments and challenging weather conditions.

These positions are ideal for people who are committed to ongoing learning and development. You will receive paid training on AIM protocols and associated methodology. UM ecologists will also provide additional training on protocols, soil assessment, and plant identification for the area in which you will be working, and ongoing field-based support and training from specialists during the field season. You will have the opportunity to interact with seasoned staff scientists from both the BLM and UM throughout training and field work.

Base location for this project:

  • Nevada – Carson City, NV
Application review is ongoing until all positions are filled.

Please submit the following documents to The subject line of the email should read “2023 Riparian and Wetland AIM Application – Botanist”. 

Please combine all application materials into 2-3 documents.

  • Letter of Interest – Please ensure it addresses the following:
    • Your ability to meet the stated required skills for the position.
    • Your preferred location.
    • Your earliest start date.
  • Detailed resume listing education and describing work experience.
  • Names and contact information (email preferred) for three (3) professional references.
  • Transcripts (Unofficial Transcripts are acceptable).

Application review will be ongoing and will continue until all positions are filled. All applicants will be notified of receipt of their application and the results of the preliminary review (rejected due to failure to meet minimum qualifications or transmitted to hiring team). If you qualify for an interview, you will have the opportunity to speak with staff who worked as AIM crew members in previous years.