PDF: Job Opportunity – Seasonal Botanist – Santa Cruz / Santa Clara Countywide Vegetation Map Project

The San Mateo Resource Conservation District (RCD) is a special district that acts as a focal point for local conservation efforts on private and public lands. The RCD helps landowners and managers, government agencies, and others to voluntarily protect, restore, and enhance natural resources. Resource Conservation Districts across California serve as local hubs for conservation, connecting people with the technical, financial, and educational assistance they need to conserve and manage natural resources. A defining characteristic of RCDs is that we provide non-regulatory, confidential, free assistance.

The Santa Cruz Mountains Stewardship Network (SCMSN) is a network of 22 organizations that own, manage, or in some way steward land in the Santa Cruz Mountains region. The SCMSN is a vehicle for organizations to collaborate across jurisdictions and property lines. The RCD acts as the SCMSN’s fiscal agent.

The Seasonal Botanist will support the Santa Cruz Mountains Stewardship Network / San Mateo Resource Conservation District efforts to create a new Vegetation Map for Santa Cruz/Santa Clara counties by conducting in-field sample plot assessments/vegetation sampling. Successful candidates will gain experience sampling the region’s diverse vegetation assemblages, learning different techniques for collecting field data, identifying plants to the species level, and describing and representing vegetation in fine-scale classification and mapping regimes.

Two (2) full time 40-hour per week positions are open at this time. Work will primarily be performed in Santa Cruz and Santa Clara counties.

Note: Successful applicants must possess a valid driver’s license, current vehicle insurance, and be willing to use their personal vehicle for transportation to and from the work locations (eligible for mileage reimbursement).

Please submit applications ASAP. Positions are open until filled.

Position duration is approximately from August 3 through November 30, 2020 with the potential for additional part-time work subsequent to the four-month deployment.

The San Mateo Resource Conservation District / Santa Cruz Mountains Stewardship Network is dedicated to the health and safety of our community, workers, and the environment. To ensure health and safety during the current COVID-19 pandemic, we are staying up to date on all local, state, and federal regulations and guidelines and honoring the spirit and intent of those guidelines. We are dedicated to continuing our mission to “help people help the land” but will limit field work as needed based on regulations, guidelines, and common sense to reduce the spread of COVID-19. For field work, we require strict adherence to best management practices designed to keep all workers and the community safe. At this time, we do not anticipate the hourly designation of this position will be affected by field work limitations.


  • Fieldwork related to sampling, classifying, and mapping vegetation.
  • Tasks will include surveying vegetation, identifying/keying plants, entering data and performing quality control, organizing data and photos, researching and writing up information about vegetation and other related tasks.
  • Vegetation sampling in Santa Cruz and Santa Clara counties, CA; Fieldwork may be performed under rigorous conditions, and may include working up to 10 hours per day.
  • Occasional office or remote work, including data entry, plant identification with dissecting microscope, data quality control, sorting and research of data may be conducted at a computer for up to 8 hours per day.


Basic Qualifications

  • Strong background in San Francisco Bay Area plant identification, with the ability to identify live and pressed plants to the species and/or sub-species level, 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 interpret hard copy and digital maps and perform regular field sampling work.
  • Ability to conduct fieldwork in varied environmental conditions, including inclement weather, rugged terrain and poison oak.
  • Maintain excellent work ethic and positive working relationship with colleagues; ability to work well together as a team.
  • Ability to effectively communicate with diverse members of the public.
  • Proficient basic computer skills; knowledge and familiarity with MS Office, Excel, Access.
  • Valid Driver’s License and clean driving record.

Desired Qualifications

  • Undergraduate degree in biology, botany, or a related field.
  • Experience conducting vegetation sampling, such as the California Native Plant Society (CNPS) relevé and rapid assessment protocols.
  • Familiarity with San Francisco Bay Area ecology and natural processes.
  • Demonstrated proficiency reading maps and using on-the-ground reference points.
  • Experience with data collection/reporting using GPS and GIS.

Physical Requirements and Work Environment

  • Work is primarily performed in an outdoor setting and includes exposure to poison oak, ticks. Other adverse conditions may include, but are not limited to, exposure to sun, wind, rain, mud, and uneven or brushy terrain.
  • Work is primarily performed standing or walking/hiking.
  • Work requires squatting and kneeling.
  • Work requires frequent lifts, carries, and positioning of objects weighing up to 25 pounds.

The salary range for this position is $20.55 to $24.33 per hour.

To To apply, please submit a resumé and short cover letter to Dylan Skybrook at dylan@scmsn.net
Applications are accepted until position(s) are filled. Please no phone calls about this position.

The RCD is an equal opportunity employer. Candidates reflecting the social diversity of California are strongly encouraged to apply.