Lead Botanist - Bureau of Land Management (Las Vegas, NV)

Requisition Number: 
Plant Science and Conservation
Job Status: 
Reports to: 
Manager, Conservation Training Programs
The lead botanist is a contract-funded position for 12 months, with an option period of an additional eight months, stationed at the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) office in Las Vegas, Nevada. The position will be part of a team of two (1 botanist and 1 field technician) conducting restoration-sized operational native seed collections, developing proposed actions for National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) documents designed to protect and restore rare plant habitat, identify sites in need of restoration, and conduct small-scale restoration efforts, and survey and monitor rare plant species. The lead botanist will lead the team and coordinate and communicate with Chicago Botanic Garden and BLM staff to plan work and provide updates on project progress. The position is anticipated to start February 15, 2021, working Monday through Thursday, 7 a.m. – 5 p.m. To Apply: Complete an application online at chicagobotanic.org/jobs. Your application should include a Chicago Botanic Garden application along with a cover letter, resume, and the names of three professional references. Application materials should be addressed to Chris Woolridge, Manager, Conservation Training Programs, Chicago Botanic Garden. Questions about the position should be directed to Chris Woolridge at cwoolridge@chicagobotanic.org. In your cover letter, be sure to address your interest in the position and how you meet the qualifications outlined in the position description.
Duties and Responsibilities: 

In this role you will be responsible for the following: 

  • The lead botanist will work with the Chicago Botanic Garden and Bureau of Land Management to develop long-term and weekly schedules that incorporate species phenology to accomplish seed collection and population monitoring goals.
  • Coordinate with BLM and the Garden to identify ecoregional priority species for seed collection, review historic collection sites, and identify gaps in geospatial data.
  • Coordinate with BLM and Garden staff to plan field operations and solve logistical problems.
  • Use herbaria and other datasets to determine likely collection locations. Conduct scouting trips, locate and GPS large populations, record phenology, and develop schedule for revisiting for seed collection. Obtain herbarium vouchers. Report any BLM sensitive species encountered.
  • Ensure collection of all required population scouting data, seed collection data, and photos are properly recorded and shared with the Garden and BLM.
  • Ensure quality, accuracy, and timeliness of seed collections and data provided by the crew.
  • As part of the team, make at least 40 restoration-sized operational collections of 80,000 estimated pure live seed (PLS) over two field seasons (~20 each season) following the SOS protocol https://www.blm.gov/SOS (training provided).
  • Conduct rare plant inventories, conduct vegetation surveys on restoration sites, survey for invasive species.
  • Develop and write Proposed Actions and Alternatives for NEPA documents.
  • Timely, accurate reporting of time and effort activities, adherence to all Chicago Botanic Garden policies and procedures for employees, and communication with the Chicago Botanic Garden manager.
  • Timely completion of end-of-season duties and final report.

Key Garden competencies/behaviors desired

  • Communicates in a manner that gains the trust and support of others at all levels.
  • Works effectively with others despite differences of opinion and style; builds alliances.
  • Has a tolerance for opposing points of view.
  • Strives for collaboration. Works cooperatively, as a positive contributor to the team.
  • Demonstrates a positive attitude and shows kindness in all workplace interactions.
  • Makes decisions appropriate for level of responsibility.
  • Can effectively adapt to change; can shift gears comfortably; is flexible, and embraces change with a “can-do” attitude.
  • Is self-aware; knows personal strengths and weaknesses; seeks feedback and is open to negative feedback as an opportunity for improvement.
  • Is cool under pressure; can be counted on to hold things together during tough times; can handle stress; is not knocked off balance by the unexpected; is a settling influence during a crisis.
  • Recognizes problems, constructively identifies and articulates solutions.
  • Picks up garbage when it is seen regardless of position.
  • Follows safety guidelines to ensure a safe working environment and consistently demonstrates safe work behaviors.
  • Is welcoming of new hires.

Our ideal candidate will have the following:

  • B.S. in botany, plant science, ecology, environmental science, or a related field
  • Strong plant identification skills (to species) and knowledge of plant taxonomy; strong knowledge of plant biology; familiarity with plants and ecosystems of the western United States
  • Previous leadership and management experience
  • Experience scouting, planning, and conducting seed collections (through SOS programs or other seed handling/collecting work)
  • Experience leading a field team or other supervisory experience
  • Experience maintaining accurate and detailed data records (in field and in electronic databases such as Excel/Access)
  • Experience working with agency, academic, private, or nonprofit partners to coordinate, plan, and execute fieldwork on public or private lands
  • Capable of conducting daily fieldwork in rough terrain in harsh environmental conditions (heat, rain, biting insects), and motivating a field crew through those tough conditions
  • Experience hiking and backcountry camping, and the willingness to do so for this position
  • Experience driving large field vehicles with four-wheel drive; driving on gravel and dirt roads; off-road driving
  • Proficiency in ArcGIS to display maps, visualize georeferenced data, and interface with GPS units
  • Wilderness First Aid or other field safety training
Physical Demands: 
Data collection often occurs in remote locations, where cellular connection is unavailable or inconsistent. Field conditions can be extreme: hot summer conditions with potential for heavy rainfall, flash floods, and lightning strikes; high altitude sun exposure; and occasional wildlife encounters. Seed collection and vegetation monitoring activities can be physically demanding due to stooping and bending for long periods of time. Ability to lift up to 40 pounds and hike up to six miles per day is expected. Fieldwork will require overnight travel and will involve overnight camping in remote areas.
Why Apply?: 

Come work in a setting that is like no other as you support our mission: We cultivate the power of plants to sustain and enrich life. Take the first step toward being one of the employees who make the Garden one of the treasures of the Forest Preserves of Cook County. Apply today. Please note that applicants who do not meet the required qualifications will not be considered.

Disclaimer: The above statements are intended to describe the general nature and level of work being performed by people assigned to this classification. They are not intended to be construed as an exhaustive list of all responsibilities and qualifications required of personnel so classified.

We are an Equal Opportunity Employer and do not discriminate against any employee or applicant for employment because of race, color, sex, age, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, status as a veteran, or basis of disability, or any other federal, state, or local protected class.

In accordance with Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1972, the Chicago Botanic Garden does not discriminate on the basis of sex in its programs or activities, including in employment or admissions. Please call (847) 835-8264 to contact our Title IX coordinator should you have questions or concerns.