About CNPS

The California Native Plant Society (CNPS) is a statewide non-profit conservation organization (www.cnps.org) founded in 1965, 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.

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.

About the Role

The Barbara Rice Vegetation Intern will work with CNPS vegetation and rare plant scientists to explore and understand California’s plants and plant communities primarily along the coasts of Humboldt, Del Norte and Mendocino counties. This is a part‐time to full-time non-exempt Plant Science position directly supervised by the Vegetation Field Data Specialist and mentored by the Dorothy King Young Chapter and North Coast Chapter vegetation chairs. The position includes at least 7 months of work, beginning in June 2022, and the position may be extended depending on funding. The intent of this internship is to provide hands-on practical experience focusing on native vegetation and rare plants to an entry level botanist interested in conservation, government, and/or consulting. The intern will assist with a variety of tasks to provide a well-rounded suite of experiences that will be applicable to working across numerous botanical professions. Field time will likely be 65-75% of the position duties.

This internship has been established in memory of Barbara Rice, an avid botanist and CNPS member who was instrumental in surveying the rare and native plants and vegetation of Sea Ranch and the northern California coast.

What You’ll Do

Field work:

  • Assist in fieldwork for fine-scale vegetation inventory and mapping efforts, particularly along the North Coast
  • Conduct vegetation surveys with Chapter volunteers and staff
  • Document sensitive natural communities and plants, including in rare plant and vegetation treasure hunts
  • Identify vegetation types with diagnostic keys and plants using taxonomic keys, hand lens, and dissecting scope

Office work:

  • Coordinate with partners and coworkers on field assessments for vegetation inventory and mapping projects
  • Enter data and do quality control in databases and spreadsheets, organize data and photos in digital files
  • Assist in display of photographs and of spatial information using social media and ArcGIS
  • Research and describe vegetation and environmental factors of plant assemblages along the North Coast
  • Prepare social media posts, a video or podcast, and a report on the vegetation and rare plant survey data

Who You Are

  • Pursuing or having recently completed an undergraduate degree in biology, botany, or a related field
  • Experience working with staff to conduct collaborative, research projects
  • Ability to work independently and coordinate personal daily tasks
  • Enthusiasm, positive attitude, and ability to work well in dynamic, team settings
  • Committed to engaging in Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Justice (DEIJ) initiatives

Field skills:

  • Ability to identify live and pressed California plants, using the Jepson Manual and other local floras
  • Ability to interpret hard copy and digital maps, and perform regular field sampling
  • Familiarity with field equipment (e.g., compass, rangefinder, and tape measure)
  • 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 detect and identify differences in plants and plant parts

Data & office skills:

  • Proficiency with verbal and written communication, and computer skills (Windows, MS Word, Excel, and email)
  • Proficiency in data entry, quality control, and management of hard copy and digital data
  • Ability to maintain and organize accurate records in digital and hard-copy format
  • Experience with databases (e.g., Access) and/or spreadsheets (e.g., Excel)

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:

  • Experience conducting botanical surveys and vegetation sampling, such as the CNPS vegetation protocols
  • Knowledge of the North Coast (Mendocino to Del Norte County) flora
  • Experience using handheld GPS (Global Positioning System) or other mobile units
  • Experience with GIS, such as ESRI ArcMap, ESRI Collector, Field Maps, and Survey123 to implement GIS tools
  • Enjoys taking photos and using social media (e.g., Instagram, Facebook, iNaturalist) to post about plant IDs
  • Fluency in Spanish or other languages spoken in California
  • Ability to drive 4X4 vehicles over variable terrain.

Physical Requirements

This job requires prolonged sitting, use of computer and mouse, and the ability to participate in fieldwork including standing, hiking, driving, carrying gear, and traveling off-trail at sites with variable grade.

Additional Information

  • Office work schedule is generally 8 hours a day, Monday through Friday. Flexible schedules are possible.
  • Fieldwork schedules may be rigorous (e.g. 10 hours/day during 4-day stints). Weekend working hours are likely for fieldwork or volunteer collaboration.
  • The position includes funding for 7 months of full-time work, beginning in June 2022, though possibility of 50 to 75% time (part-time) will be considered.
  • While working remotely, this is a North Coast based position (out of Humboldt, Mendocino or Del Norte counties).
  • Periodic travel to locations such as Sacramento, California, will be required.
  • Overnight accommodations include either camping or staying at motels/home rentals with paid travel
  • A valid driver’s license is required.

What You’ll Get

  • Hourly rate starting at $18.95/hour.
  • 100% of employee premiums for health, life, dental, and vision insurance
  • 401(k) retirement plan with up to 6% matching contributions, eligible immediately
  • Annual paid leave benefits include 13 holidays, 12 sick/wellness days, and 10 paid vacation days to start
  • A CNPS-issued laptop and a 750$ home office stipend to set up your home office
  • 50$ monthly internet/phone stipend
  • Field gear stipend

Equal Opportunity Policy

CNPS’s policy is to afford equal employment opportunities 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. CNPS also makes reasonable accommodations for persons with disabilities to perform essential functions, as required by law. 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 Submit a cover letter and résumé/CV here. Please include any pertinent information, including professional and personal experience, that is relevant to the position. The deadline to apply is May 31, 2022.

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

Tagged as: conservation, field work, plant science

About California Native Plant Society

We’re on a mission to save California’s native plants and places using both head and heart. CNPS brings together science, education, conservation, and gardening to power the native plant movement.