In cooperation with the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), the Great Basin Institute is recruiting Botany Technicians to join our AmeriCorps program. The Botany Technicians will serve as part of a team that collectively helps BLM resource specialists to survey, map, assess, and monitor sensitive species. Technicians will assist with conducting stabilization and rehabilitation monitoring within the Carson City District and Sierra Front Office area as a result of the several wildfires of various sizes that have burned within the past few years. Data collection will involve the use of mobile devices and various apps appropriate for the task at hand. Technicians will also implement protocols associated with the BLM’s National Seed Strategy. More specifically, they will be trained to implement protocols associated with the Seeds of Success program to collect seeds from native plants within the Carson City District Office area. The team will synthesize field data with ancillary datasets and work with the BLM botanist, wildlife biologist, and rangeland management specialist to devise management actions to restore sensitive species and their habitat.
Approximately 70 percent of service will take place in the field. Fieldwork will involve driving and walking over rough and sandy terrain with wide variations in temperature ranging from below freezing in the fall and winter to above 90 degrees F during the summer. Duties require outside work involving walking, bending, climbing hills, lifting, and carrying various materials or supplies which are occasionally heavy. Use of a UTV will be routine. Remote field sites may require camping out at the site for a period of 1-3 nights, where amenities such as showers, mobile phone reception, etc. are not available.
The remaining 30 percent of the service will be in the office. Office tasks may include any or all of the following: use GIS to create maps and conduct analysis, visit the University of Nevada Reno Herbarium to collect data on plant locations and to verify plant specimens, mount pressed specimens on herbarium sheets and process them into BLM’s herbarium, enter data into MS Access and MS Excel databases, process seed collections for shipment to the appropriate destination(s), conduct internet literature research on a variety of restoration topics and create documents and reports based on various projects.
Through this immersive plant management opportunity, the successful applicants will be exposed to a myriad of land management topics and the internal decision-making process of a federal land management agency. Safety is a priority and Botany Technicians will be invited to participate in an interactive field safety/First Aid training. Additionally, training will be provided by the field office as needed for use of the following: computers, GPS units, two-way radios, brush saws, herbicide sprayers, UTV vehicles, trailers, shovel/Pulaski, hand tools, monitoring equipment (tapes, compasses, clinometer, etc.), dissecting microscopes, and hand seeding tools.
Daily shifts of 8 to 10 hours are anticipated within a 40-hour workweek. The weekly schedule will be Monday through Friday. Occasional circumstances require adjusting the schedule to accommodate special environmental education events which typically take place on Saturday.
o Assist with Seeds of Success restoration program by:
o Locating areas with sufficient plants of the targeted species for seed collection;
o Using GPS/GIS to map vegetation collection areas;
o Collecting seed from the species of interest; and
o Identifying, collecting, pressing, and mounting vegetation on herbarium sheets to be used as voucher specimens for each of the species of interest.
o Assist BLM staff with other conservation fieldwork such as:
o Recording habitat condition, plant diversity, and species invasions
o Documenting impacts to plants or habitat resulting from livestock overgrazing and off-highway vehicle (OHV) damage
o Mapping and treating noxious weeds; and
o Monitoring rare plants.
o Assist BLM staff with occasional volunteer events designed to increase public participation with public land stewardship.
o Assist BLM mentor with youth program designed to involve youth with outdoor educational activities. Create lesson plans and activities for environmental education.
o Up to 42-week appointment beginning early March 2021, and upon completion of a Department of the Interior (DOI) Background Investigation (BI), through early-mid December 2021
o Living Allowance*: approximately $1,000 biweekly before taxes
o Total Education Award: up to $5,647.61 (Upon successful completion of the AmeriCorps term, the award may be used for past, present or future educational expenses, including payment of qualifying federal student loans and Title IV accredited college tuition. This position consists of two AmeriCorps terms of service.)
o No-cost medical, dental and vision benefits provided
*Total living allowance dependent on term length
Botany Technicians will work within the Carson City District Office area. This area, in western Nevada, encompasses 5 million acres with a varied landscape made up of: coniferous forests of the Eastern Sierra Nevada; pinyon-juniper woodlands/sagebrush dominated areas; and salt desert shrub-dominated areas. Local ecosystems include: high-altitude montane, sand dunes, alkali playas, meadows, and areas recovering from wildfire. Carson City is the capital of Nevada and located approximately 35 miles south of Reno, NV, which boasts year-round activities and an international airport. Access to Lake Tahoe and all of its amenities is a quick 30-minute drive over the Carson Range.
o Bachelor’s degree in Botany, Plant Biology or other related fields, or combination of related coursework in and direct experience and knowledge of plant taxonomy and ecology;
o Ability to identify plants down to the species level using appropriate botany manuals and keys;
o Knowledge of the Great Basin-Eastern Sierra Nevada vegetation preferred, but not required;
o Knowledge of seed collection techniques;
o Familiarity with common software applications such as Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Adobe, ESRI, Google Maps, etc.; and
o Meet AmeriCorps eligibility requirements: (1) U.S. citizenship or legal resident alien status, (2) eligible to receive an AmeriCorps Education Award (limit of four in a lifetime or the equivalent of two full-time education awards), (3) pass National Sex Offender Public Website (NSOPW) and federal criminal background checks, (4) adhere to the rules, regulations, and code of conduct as specified in the Member Service Agreement; and (5) not engage in any prohibited activities as listed in the Member Service Agreement.
o Ability to work productively both independently and as part of a team to accomplish mutual goals;
o Ability to communicate effectively with team members, GBI and agency staff, and a diverse public;
o Ability to perform physical labor for extended periods of time (e.g., digging, bending over, hauling material, hiking);
o Ability to work in harsh and rapidly changing environments, work in all types of weather conditions, traverse uneven terrain, carry upwards of 40 pounds in a backpack, and otherwise maintain good physical condition;
o Willingness to spend multiple days camping in the field, if necessary;
o Good organizational skills; and
o Valid, state-issued driver’s license; clean driving record; and ability to safely operate a 4WD truck on paved and unpaved roads, including narrow, mountain forest roads.
How to Apply
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