Associate Vegetation Ecologist

California Native Plant Society Published: July 3, 2020
Sacremento, CA
Job Type
Analyst / Research / Natural Resources/ Restoration / Scientific /

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~ The California Native Plant Society (CNPS) is a statewide non-profit conservation organization, with more than 11,000 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.


The California Native Plant Society (CNPS) is currently seeking to fill one Ecologist/ Botanist position, classified as an Associate Vegetation Ecologist. The position includes at least 10 months of work, beginning in mid-June 2020, and the position may be extended dependent on funding.


  • Duties will include both coordinating field-based vegetation assessments, performing fieldwork, synthesizing and analyzing data for monitoring, classifying and mapping vegetation.
  • This position requires a highly organized, detail-oriented individual to help coordinate field missions, analyze and integrate vegetation data in regional and statewide efforts, support vegetation classification and mapping efforts, outreach and communication.
  • Other tasks will include plant identification, data quality control, vegetation type research and description, and other related tasks.
  • This position will coordinate and participate in vegetation inventory projects across California; including sampling efforts from NE California (e.g., Lassen and Modoc County) to the SE California (e.g., from Madera to Imperial counties); long-term monitoring in post-fire areas (Tulare and Kern counties); monitoring restoration areas in the Carrizo Plain (San Luis Obispo County), etc.
  • This position will directly supervise 1-2 staff, will provide sampling missions for field staff, and will perform fieldwork under rigorous conditions (e.g. 10 hours per day during 4–8 day stints, with camping or staying at motels/home rentals overnight).
  • Other opportunities include training staff or volunteers to perform data collection and data entry using CNPS vegetation sampling methods and related work (e.g., plant specimen collection).
  • Office work will include ArcGIS querying, analysis, and displaying of GIS information; organizing, quality controlling, and summarizing vegetation data in databases and spreadsheets; plant identification with diagnostic keys and dissecting microscope; vegetation data analysis using PC-Ord, R or other software; research and description of vegetation and environmental features; coordinating with coworkers and partners; and other tasks at a computer for up to 8 hours/day.
    • CNPS supports a uniform system for vegetation sampling, classification, and mapping and maintains vegetation information databases. 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 and describe vegetation.

Desired Skills & Qualifications:

Data & office skills:

  • Strong organizational, verbal and written communication, analytical and computer skills (Windows Operating System, Microsoft Word, Excel, and email).
  • Experience with GIS, such as ESRI ArcMap, to provide map tools for staff and volunteers, and to provide outputs for display in reports and querying online.
  • Proficiency with databases (e.g., Access) and/or spreadsheets to quality control and manage digital data.
  • Experience with supervising staff or volunteers, and with coordinating efforts to survey, map, describe, and/or classify California’s diverse vegetation plant assemblages.
  • Ability to maintain and manage accurate records in digital and hard-copy formats.
  • Skill at describing and representing vegetation in classification and mapping efforts.
  • Experience with analysis techniques such as PC-Ord or R, to assist in classification analysis techniques is a plus!

Field skills:

  • Strong background in California plant identification and 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.
  • Experience using GPS (Global Positioning System) or other mobile digital units and field survey equipment (e.g., compass, rangefinder, and tape measure).
  • Ability to work individually or in teams to conduct field work.
  • Ability to conduct fieldwork in varied conditions, including inclement weather, rugged terrain and poison oak (and other toxic plants).
  • Ability to drive 4X4 vehicle over variable terrain.
  • Ability to use hard copy or digital maps, and to perform regular field sampling missions.

In addition:

  • At a minimum, an undergraduate degree in biology, botany, or related field, while a master’s or higher degree is preferred.
  • Valid California driver’s license, proof of auto insurance, and safe driving record required.
  • Physical requirements include prolonged sitting, standing, bending, using a computer, driving, hiking, lifting and carrying (up to 1/3 of your body weight). These requirements are representative, and reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform essential functions.
  • Ability to work independently and coordinate daily tasks of others.
  • Enthusiasm, positive attitude, and ability to work well in a team setting.

Status, Compensation, and Benefits

  • This is a full-time exempt position supervised by the Vegetation Ecologist. Compensation will be $25-30/hour, commensurate with experience & qualifications.
  • CNPS provides a generous benefits package, paying 100% of employee premiums for health, dental, vision, and life insurance with low cost family coverage options.
  • CNPS offers a 401K plan with up to 6% matching contributions.
  • Annual paid leave benefits include 12 holidays, 12 sick days and generous paid vacation.

To Apply

  • Please click "Apply" below to email a résumé/CV and cover letter. Review of applications begins immediately, continuing until filled.

CNPS is an Equal Opportunity Employer; candidates from diverse backgrounds are encouraged to apply.

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