Natural Areas Program Assistant Ecologist, Natural Resource Scientist 2 (NRSci 2) description image

Natural Areas Program Assistant Ecologist, Natural Resource Scientist 2 (NRSci 2)

Salary: $53,964.00 – $72,552.00 Annually
Location: Thurston County – Olympia, WA
Job Type: Full Time – Permanent
Remote Employment: Flexible/Hybrid
Job Number: 2024-1-A351-01032
Department: Dept. of Natural Resources
Opening Date: 01/25/2024
Closing Date: Continuous
Category: Land Use / Natural Resources / Forestry / Research / Sciences

Natural Areas Program Assistant Ecologist, Natural Resource Scientist 2 (NRSci 2) description image



Natural Areas Program Assistant Ecologist, Natural Resource Scientist 2 (NRSci 2)
Recruitment #2024-1-A351
Full-time, Permanent, Represented position
Location: Natural Resources Building- Olympia, WA
Location flexibility may be available and considered
Work Hours and Partial Telework flexibility may be available and considered
Salary: $4,497.00 – $6,046.00 Monthly 

Review of applications is ongoing. We reserve the right to make a hiring decision or close this recruitment at any time after 2/8/24. It is in your best interest to submit materials as soon as possible.

Want to join something GREAT and make a difference?
Are you interested in a career that allows you to conserve the most intact, naturally functioning ecosystems, including rare plant and animal species, throughout Washington state? Do you want to be part of the team protecting these sites in perpetuity… forever?  The Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is looking for a Natural Areas Program assistant ecologist to help lead scientifically based conservation land management on the department’s statewide system of natural areas, currently totaling 169,000 acres at 97 sites throughout the state.

The Natural Areas Program is part of DNR’s Recreation and Conservation Division that supports public use and conservation across 3 million acres of state-owned lands, implementing four DNR programs: Recreation, Natural Areas, Natural Heritage, and Conservation Acquisitions. The Natural Areas Program manages 39 natural resources conservation areas (NRCAs) and 58 natural area preserves (NAPs) for the protection, and restoration where necessary, of native ecosystems and rare plants and animals. The program coordinates and promotes educational and research access on natural areas while offering low-impact recreation in NRCAs. The division’s Natural Heritage Program houses the state’s expertise and data on rare species and rare or high-quality ecological communities, with more than 7,000 data records of species and ecosystems statewide across all ownerships. The division’s Conservation Acquisitions Program secures grants and appropriations for transacting about $40 million in easements or land acquisitions at any given time under a number of state and federal conservation programs. The Recreation Program supports all types of public access to the department’s forested and other lands, including hiking, mountain biking, horse riding, motorcycling, ATV trail riding, camping, boating, and wildlife viewing.

The Natural Areas Program assistant ecologist works with other ecologists and land managers statewide to implement scientifically based research and management practices on preserves and conservation areas. Under the direction of the lead program ecologist, this position assists with training and field supervision for the Recreation and Conservation Division natural area stewards and participates in training and overseeing volunteers working in natural areas.

To be successful in this position you not only need a working knowledge of native species and ecosystems in Washington state, but you also need to be a leader across a number of conservation topics and activities, as indicated below.




  • Plan and implement ecological management actions for conservation lands, including restoration projects in a variety of ecosystem types
  • Monitor natural features and test the effectiveness of management actions, including invasive species control and rare plant and animal habitat restoration
  • Create and share scientifically based management regimes for ecosystems throughout Washington
  • Assist in developing and implementing site-based management plans
  • Engage with conservation partners and the public to sustain natural area management



Required Qualifications: 

  • A Bachelor’s degree with a major study in “conservation biology,” such as restoration
    ecology, wetlands ecology, range ecology, applied botany, applied ecology, plant ecology, animal ecology, or a closely related field. AND Three years of professional research work experience in the field of conservation biology, including ecological management, research, and monitoring; or ecological restoration; or providing scientific expertise to maintain species, communities, and ecological processes in natural areas;
    OR A Master’s degree AND one year of professional research work experience in the field of conservation biology, including ecological management, research, and monitoring; or ecological restoration; or providing scientific expertise to maintain species, communities, and ecological processes on natural areas;
    Ph.D. degree will substitute for all of the required experience, provided the field of major study was in the specific specialty.
  • Knowledge of Pacific Northwest ecosystems; their functions and management.
  • Experience planning and implementing restoration ecology practices.
  • Experience using ecological data collection techniques and statistical analysis.
  • Experience implementing invasive species control practices.
  • Experience working with GIS-based desktop computer applications.
  • Demonstrated commitment to fostering and supporting an environment that honors diversity, equity, Inclusion, and environmental justice practices.
  • Perform assigned duties in a manner consistent with applicable laws, regulations and public records retention and requests are followed.
  • Excellence with verbal and written communications.
  • Effective communication and collaboration with peers, the public, and collaborators
  • DNR Core Competencies:
    • Personal Accountability
    • Value Others
    • Compassionate Communication
    • Inspire Others
    • Commitment to Excellence
Special Requirements and Conditions of Employment:
  • Mixture of office and field work; Incumbent must be able to traverse uneven terrain in all weather conditions. Site reconnaissance and project implementation in a natural setting require the full range of physical abilities and activities across a wide range of ecosystem types and landforms and in a variety of weather conditions. Must be able to work alone in undeveloped, remote, forested, or back-country landscapes and terrains. Must be able to carry a 3-gallon backpack sprayer while hiking.
  • Requires routine travel within Washington state, and infrequent travel outside the state (such as for training).
  • Certification as a Pesticide Applicator or ability to obtain certification within six months of employment.
  • A valid unrestricted driver’s license and have two years of driving experience. This position requires driving as an essential function. Finalists and/or interview candidates will be asked to provide a driving record from all states in which they have held a license during the past three years. 
Desired Qualifications:
  • Experience working to identify or manage natural area preserves or other conservation land classifications.
  • Experience applying experimental and sampling design.
Don’t let doubts stop you from applying for this position – If you have any questions about the required qualifications or how your past experience relates to them, please contact us at A note to potential candidates: Studies have shown that women, trans, non-binary, Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) are less likely to apply for jobs unless they feel they meet every qualification as described in a job description. We value diversity and inclusion in our organization, and we are looking for the best person for the job. Don’t hesitate to apply! 


Supplemental Information

Application Requirements:

  • Apply online: at (Click on the APPLY button above).
  • Letter of interest: describing your specific qualifications to the position and position required, desired, and special requirements.
  • Resume: that details your experience and qualifications.
  • References: at least three professional references with current telephone numbers– you may attach a document, use the References text field in the online application, or include it with your resume.
  • Copy of your college degree certificate or an unofficial copy of your transcripts. If you have questions regarding attaching this document please contact If you do not attach your college degree certificate or an unofficial copy of your transcript your application will not move forward in the application process. 
  • Important: Do not attach any documents that include photos or private information (social security number, year of birth, etc.).
  • Complete all supplemental questions.
  • Candidates who move forward in the recruitment process may be contacted via email at with interview information/scheduling instructions. Please monitor the email listed in your application materials and check your junk email folder to ensure you receive those communications.
Questions?  Please contact David Wilderman at 902-1556  or e-mail us at

About the Department of Natural Resources (DNR). 
At DNR we approach our work through the lens of making Washington a better place environmentally and are dedicated to serving Washington’s lands and communities through diversity, equity, and inclusion. 
Our Vision – Our actions ensure a future where Washington’s lands, waters, and communities thrive.
Our Mission – Manage, sustain, and protect the health and productivity of Washington’s lands and waters to meet the needs of present and future generations.
Our Core Values:
  • Safety and Well-Being —Our top priority is the safety of the public and our employees.
  • Public Service —We value and respect the public we serve, and we value and respect the people of the Department of Natural Resources who step up to serve.
  • Innovation and Creative Problem-Solving — We solve our state’s most pressing challenges through innovative thinking, dedication, and bold and creative vision.
  • Leadership and Teamwork —We are committed to building leaders at all levels and building teams for success.
DNR provides excellent benefits, a few of which include:
  • Commitment to organizational health and wellness
  • Work/life balance
  • DNR Employee Resource Groups (Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Council, Women’s Employee Resource Group, Veterans Employee Resource Group, etc.)
  • Statewide Employee Business Resource Groups, visit here to learn more
  • Leadership that empowers and supports employees
  • Professional development opportunities
  • Educational and career development aid
  • Public Service Loan Forgiveness Eligibility
  • Opportunities to participate in wildland fire suppression assignments
  • A comprehensive benefits package that includes employer contributions toward health insurance, paid holidays, retirement plans, sick leave, and vacation days. Visit for more information.
Additional Information:
This recruitment may be extended and may also be used to fill future similar vacancies for up to sixty (60) days.
DNR does not use the E-Verify system. For more information, please visit

Veterans wishing to claim Veteran’s preference please attach a copy of your DD-214, NGB-22, or other verification of military service. Please black out your social security number prior to attaching it. We thank you and are grateful for your service!

Equal Opportunity Employer: The Washington State Department of Natural Resources is an equal opportunity employer. We strive to create a working environment that includes and respects cultural, racial, ethnic, sexual orientation, and gender identity diversity. Women, racial and ethnic minorities, persons of disability, persons over 40 years of age, veterans, military spouses or people with military status, and people of all sexual orientations and gender identities are encouraged to apply. Persons needing accommodation in the application/testing process or this job announcement in an alternative format may call (360) 522-2500 or email Applicants who are deaf or hard of hearing may call through the Washington Relay Service by dialing 7-1-1 or 1-800-833-6384.

Once you submit your online application, you can check your status by logging into your account. If you experience technical difficulties creating, accessing or completing your application call NEOGOV toll-free at (855) 524-5627 or email

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