Careers in the Plant Sciences

Botany Lead – Native Plant Seed Collection (Rocky Mountain Region

Colorado Natural Heritage Program - Fort Collins, Colorado, United States

Position Title: Botany Lead – Native Plant Seed Collection (Rocky Mountain Region
Position Type: Temporary Position
Application Review Begins: Friday, January 12, 2024
Application Deadline: Sunday, March 31, 2024
Institution: Colorado Natural Heritage Program
Department/Division: Botany
Field (e.g., systematics):
City: Fort Collins, Colorado, United States
General Information: In partnership with the U.S. Forest Service (USFS), the Colorado Natural Heritage Program (CNHP) is actively seeking an experienced individual to join as a Lead Botany Technician.

This summer, collect native seed and plant material as part of a broader initiative to establish and expand the USFS Native Plant Materials Program throughout the Rocky Mountain Region. Native plant material banks are critical in restoring lands after disturbances, creating long-term soil stability, enhancing wildlife habitats, and building resilient ecosystems.

Image previewThis position will be part of a two-person crew, stationed in Fort Collins. Crews will spend 4 - 8 days in a row in the field, away from their base location, camping on USFS lands throughout the Rocky Mountain Region. The typical field schedule during the season is 8 days on with 6 days off. Under the supervision of the CNHP Botany/Vegetation Ecology Team, this position will participate in and lead all aspects of collection events, including coordination, scouting, collecting seeds, plant materials delivery, processing herbarium specimens, data management, quality control, communication with partners, and reporting.

The position requires prior field work experience, with preference for experience specific to seed and native plant material collection. Experience working in habitats like the study areas including the Rocky Mountains and/or Great Plains is also preferred.

At CNHP, our work is not just guided by projects; it is rooted in our values. We are committed to diversity, fostering respect for all people, cultures, and communities. We believe in building a team that mirrors the diversity of the places we serve, recognizing the richness that diverse talents, experiences, and skills bring to the table. We understand that life experiences matter as much as professional qualifications. Your unique contributions are valued here!

If you are passionate about conservation and making a positive impact, we encourage you to apply. Join the CNHP Botany/Vegetation Ecology Team and play a pivotal role in preserving our natural landscapes! We can't wait to hear from you! 
Qualifications/Requirements: Required Qualifications

A completed bachelor’s degree (or expectation of a completed degree by May 2024) in botany, ecology, natural resources, range management, or related field. 

One season of botanical or ecological field survey experience collecting scientific data related to vegetation sampling, plant population abundance, plant identification, plant phenology, and/or habitat assessment.   

Ability to work both independently and with a team of diverse individuals, to maintain effective working relationships and be self-motivated. 

Demonstrated organizational, time management, and problem-solving skills; ability to handle complex tasks with a high degree of accuracy and attention to detail. 

Strong oral and written communication skills; proficiency with Microsoft Word and Excel.   

Experience using dichotomous botanical keys and field guides, familiarity with the major plant families, and knowledge of western flora. 

Experience with field navigation with a GPS unit or tablet, field navigation apps, and a topographic map.  

Willingness and ability to work long hours and unusual schedules, travel extensively during the field season, car camp, and hike long distances (up to 6+ miles/day) while carrying a heavy pack (up to 40 pounds).  

Willingness and ability to work with a positive attitude in field conditions that include exposure to inclement weather, rugged terrain, hot or cold weather (30–110° F), mosquitos, and poisonous plants, all while maintaining a strong commitment to team safety. 

A valid driver’s license is required. 

Preferred Qualifications  

Two or more seasons of botanical or ecological field survey experience collecting scientific data related to vegetation sampling, plant population abundance, plant identification, phenology, and/or habitat assessment.     

Experience specific to seed and native plant material collection. Ability to reliably identify grass species using a dichotomous key.  

Experience working in habitats like the study areas including the Rocky Mountains and/or Great Plains.  

Experience working on a field crew and/or leading a field crew or supervising staff or volunteers.    

Experience with ArcGIS, ArcGIS Pro, development of Field Maps projects or Survey123 forms, and map making.   

Experience driving 4x4 vehicles on rough roads and camping in remote locations.    

Experience collecting data electronically using tablets or other devices. 
Responsibilities: Lead collection events with staff, partners, and/or volunteers, ensuring accurate data recording and collection of native plant material. Lead and follow safety protocols using proper documentation, consistent communication, and field awareness. Work with a dedicated second crew member all season long during field trips for seed scouting and collection.

Using GPS and provided maps, drive to and from sites and navigate to plot locations via paved roads, dirt roads, hiking trails, and off-trail travel. Travel will often be through dense vegetation and over long distances in various temperatures and weather conditions.

Identify target plant species, primarily grass species, in the field. Following a protocol, determine if a native plant population is suitable for seed collection by analyzing plant abundance and the surrounding habitat. Collect biological and spatial data on native plant populations using Survey123 and Field Maps. Collect seeds and reference herbarium specimens where suitable.

Coordinate tasks and maintain strong communication with the CNHP, USFS, and Colorado Native Plant Society staff to determine logistics for native plant material collection events. Update field plans, safety protocols and collection priorities when necessary.

Manage, assure quality, and report on field collected data and collection event outcomes. This may include creating maps and reports communicating where collection took place, which species were collected and collection weights. Manage collected seeds and native plant materials throughout the field season and deliver them to USFS partners.
Application Instructions (submission methods, etc.): To apply, email a resume, cover letter, and three references (please include phone number and email contact information for references) to Jessica Cheadle at Please mention how you found the position and please include the full position title in the email subject line. If you are interested in any other, positions for which we are hiring this summer, please include the names of those positions in your email. There is no need to apply to each separately! 

Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis, but for first consideration, apply by January 22nd, 2024. Applications will continue to be accepted until the position is filled or until March 31, 2024, whichever comes first.
Web Link: http://
Compensation Range: $20.00-23.00/hour + per diem of ~ $60.00/day & gear reimbursement when traveling beyond base location.  
Contact Name: Jessica Cheadle,