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Seeds of Success Field Technician - Bakersfield, CA

This Field Technician role is a Chicago Botanic Garden position funded by a contract with the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). The term is for ~5 months (22 weeks), working on a Seeds of Success (SOS) collection crew within the BLM Bakersfield Field Office, based in Bakersfield, CA. This team is expected to work from May 1 through September 29, 2023.

Due to the large size of area the crew is responsible for, frequent camping will be required to make the best use of travel time. The crew will be provided a 4x4 work truck and supplies for field work and seed collection. As BLM office space will not be provided, the team will be provided a Verizon MiFi hotspot, laptop, and tablet (w/ cellular) for conducting scouting research, participating in calls, writing reports, and using/updating the California Ecoregional Reporting Tool through ArcGIS Online Field Maps and Survey123, as well as updating data on Google Drive spreadsheets.

The Field Technician will report to the Lead Botanist, who will be leading the crew. The technician will assist in planning scouting and collecting trips, and in conducting large native seed collections as part of the SOS program. This team will likely spend 90% of their time in the field.
  • Help identify potential collection locations of priority species through scouting, analysis of herbarium records, previous SOS collections, and vegetation mapping. 
  • Help collect 3 herbarium vouchers for each potential collection site. Take appropriate photos as instructed for seed certification.
  • Help monitor phenology of target plant populations to plan and execute collections
  • Ensure collection of all required population scouting data, seed collection data, and photos are properly recorded and shared with CBG and BLM.
  • Help update and maintain all required population and geospatial data on the California Ecoregional Tool through ArcGIS Online Field Maps and Survey123. Sync data at the end of each field trip or at least every 10 days.
  • Maintain running Field Report spreadsheet with road and trail mileage, as well as number of potential collection sites assessed, and number of collection sites monitored for seed ripening. 
  • As part of the team, make operational collections using the BLM SOS protocol (training provided). 
  • 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, including data entry into SOS Data 
  •  Portal, and final report.

The ideal candidate will have the following:
  • Bachelor of science in botany, plant science, ecology, biology, 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 U.S.
  • Experience maintaining accurate and detailed data records (in field and in electronic databases – Excel/Access)
  • Capable of conducting field work safely in rough terrain in harsh environmental conditions
  • Experience hiking and backcountry camping, and the willingness to do so for this position
  • Experience driving large field vehicles with 4-wheel drive; driving on gravel and dirt roads
  • Wilderness First Aid or other field safety training
  • Excellent organization skills and ability to handle several projects and deadlines at once
  • Self-starter, independent worker, able to learn quickly and adapt to challenges