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Apprentice Botanist (Crew Leader, Crew Member and limited Individual placements) – Various California National Park Locations with American Conservation Experience in California

Type of position Internship, Seasonal
Employer American Conservation Experience
Location California
Description of Location Various locations in California, depending on position
Salary $550-$900/week location/position dependent
Closing date of competition 11/30/2022
Date position available 10/26/2022
Description of duties

Summary: American Conservation Experience (ACE), a nonprofit Conservation Corps, in partnership with the National Park Service (NPS) and the California Invasive Plant Management Team (CA IPMT), is seeking 8 Members to work in National Park units across California and southern Oregon to collect native plant specimens to support vegetation restoration projects. These positions provide support to NPS vegetation staff by focusing on identifying, monitoring, collecting, and curating plant seeds to be used for amplification and eventual restoration efforts. All members will receive training in plant systematics, field botany, seed collection, curation techniques, and will have opportunities to work alongside regional botanical leaders and with local NPS staff.

Of the eight position openings there will be: 2 Crew Leader positions, 4 Crew Member positions and 2 Individual Placement positions. 

For more information about ACE and to apply, please visit:

Start Date: April or May 2022, dependent on winter precipitation

End Date: 24 weeks from the initial start date

*a 24 week minimum commitment is required*

Location: The CA-IPMT positions will be based on the type of position being offered and are dependent upon qualifications.

TWO Non-AmeriCorps Crew Leader positions:
1 Crew Leader position based out of Golden Gate National Recreation Area
1 Crew Leader position based out of Lava Beds National Monument 

FOUR AmeriCorps Eligible Crew Member positions:
2 Crew Member positions based out of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area
2 Crew Member positions based out of Lava Beds National Monument

TWO AmeriCorps Eligible Individual Placement positions:
1 Individual Placement based out of Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park
1 Individual Placement based out of (Park TBD) 

Project Background and Objectives:
The members will become part of a coordinated seed collection effort to support National Park Service ecological restoration projects across multiple NPS units. These are developmental positions in the botanical sciences and will be working closely with NPS vegetation staff and learn directly from other practitioners. ACE members will be provided direct technical training in the botanical systematics of California, techniques for seed collection and curation, whose field work will assist restoration planning for NPS units within the California Invasive Plant Management Team (CA-IPMT) network of parks. The project work is promoting restoration and the development of plant materials for targeted restoration activities in NPS units across California and into southern Oregon. The work will increase NPS capacity for habitat restoration and native plant conservation through the coordinated control of non-native species, ecological restoration, and the conservation of native plants.  

ACE members will assist parks in the CA IPMT network with seed collection and botanical surveys to promote native plant conservation and habitat restoration throughout the parks. ACE Members will gain work and technical experience as well as have educational opportunities throughout the project duration. Work activities include botanical surveys to locate target populations of management interest, seed evaluation and collection, and seed curation. This project supports the seed collection that is essential to vegetation management in NPS units by providing the necessary native plant materials to promote the restoration of native plant communities.

CA IPMT Program Overview: One of the many ways the NPS is addressing invasive species is through the Invasive Plant Management Program (IPMT). The California IPMT supports 17 partner park units located within the California Floristic Province in California and Southern Oregon. Regarded for its exceptionally high concentration of endemic plants, this region is one of 36 world biodiversity hotspots. Of the more than 4,600 species of vascular plants found in California, one-third of the species are endemic to the region, along with over 1,000 non-native species. The California IPMT provides technical assistance directly to parks to identify programmatic needs, develop strategic goals, and provide support for ongoing park projects. The California IPMT provides resources to parks for staff to complete treatments, survey and map invasive plant populations, and complete native plant restorations through an annual proposal process. The California IPMT works with state and federal agencies to integrate partner parks into statewide and national networks, while building multi-jurisdictional collaborations that support successful vegetation management both within and around national parks.

Living Allowance: The ACE Member is expected to contribute ~40 hours/week and will receive a living allowance to offset the costs of food and incidental expenses, dispersed bi-weekly. Living allowance will vary based on project selection:

  • $600/week for AmeriCorps Crew Members (non bay area)
  • $800/week for Non-AmeriCorps Crew Leader (non bay area)
  • $660/week for Bay Area AmeriCorps Crew Members 
  • $900/week for Bay Area Non-AmeriCorps Crew Leader
  • $550/week for AmeriCorps Individual Placement

Housing: Housing will likely be provided by the park, if not provided then additional housing allowance may apply.

AmeriCorps: All positions (excluding the two Crew Leader positions) may be eligible for an AmeriCorps Education Award upon successful completion of service hours. Additional enrollment steps are required.

The four Crew member positions at 24 weeks may be eligible for a 900-hr AmeriCorps Education Award, ($3247.50).

Scheduling: A typical schedule is eight, ten-hour days followed by six days off OR four ten-hour days with three days off. Schedule has flexibility but will be at the discretion of NPS units and phenological conditions.

Position Description:
This project involves the mobilization of ACE members to assist NPS land managers with botanical identification, collection, and curation of individual native plant species targeted for conservation and utilization as restoration seed sources. 

There will be two, three-person teams and two individual park placements. Teams work in selected parks within CA IPMT network parks (one based at Golden Gate National Recreation Area and working within the https://home.nps.gov/im/sfan/index.htm#:~:text=The%20San%20Francisco%20Bay%20Area%20Network%20%28SFAN%29%20is,park%20units%20located%20along%20the%20central%20California%20coast.”>San Francisco Bay Inventory and Monitoring Network parks; the other based at Lava Beds National Monument and working within the https://www.nps.gov/im/klmn/index.htm“>Klamath Inventory and Monitoring Network parks. An additional two seed collection members will be individually placed within network parks (Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park and a TBD Park). ACE members will be trained by CA IPMT staff as well as other botanical experts as a cohort, receiving instruction in field botany and botanical systematics, seed collection methodologies and techniques, as well as seed curation techniques to match standards established by the Seeds of Success program. Seed collections will be made in close cooperation with individual park units to support future restoration operations.   

This individual placement is meant to facilitate professional development and promotes exposure to land management agencies and networking with professional botanists. This could include gaining experience in different conservation fields and shadowing different work groups.

Crew Leader specific duties include:

  • Provide leadership and take responsibility for a group of two Crew Members in a botanical field research setting with objective hazards traveling between multiple NPS units in urban and rural settings
  • Lead a small team in the identification, location, and collection of NPS designated native plant species for collection and curation under appropriate conditions for maximum germinability 
  • Provide botanical identification expertise, as well as expertise in the use of crew equipment (GPS/GIS, data collection devices), proper seed collection, storage and curation techniques
  • Understand and relay botany & plant ID techniques

Crew member specific duties include: 

  • Identify, locate, collect, curate, and store native plant seed for restoration at the direction of the Crew Leader and under NPS guidance
  • Provide botanical identification expertise to the team while improving your own skills

Individual Placement specific duties include: 

  • Identify, locate, collect, curate, and store native plant seed for restoration at the direction of NPS staff
  • Assist with projects as directed by NPS staff, including but not limited to seed collection and curation, associated horticultural tasks, restoration plantings, and/or invasive and rare plant surveys.
  • Provide botanical identification expertise to the park while improving your own skills

Public Land Corps Hiring Authority: Members serving under this agreement may be eligible for a hiring authority upon completion of their term of service. PLC projects also include specific eligibility requirements such as age and citizenship. Please contact ACE staff with questions about eligibility.


Qualifications sought


  • Members must be US citizen or Permanent Resident, as required to comply with U.S. government contracts
  • Willing and able to represent ACE and the partner organization in a professional, positive, and enthusiastic manner. 
  • Ability to be both self-directed/work alone, and be a positive, contributing member of a group.
  • A valid driver’s license and an insurable driving record (documentation to be provided upon request).
  • Willing to undergo and must pass required criminal history checks.
  • Ability to perform the essential duties of the position with or without reasonable accommodation.
  • ACE Members must verify that they are fully vaccinated for Covid-19 or have requested and been granted a medical or religious exemption to vaccination by the time they start their term.
  • To learn more about eligibility requirements, https://www.usaconservation.org/epic/#eligibility-requirements“>please visit our website here.


Preferred Skills:

  • Competitive applicants for this position can hold or be pursuing a minimum of a bachelor’s degree and/or have relevant experience in subject areas such as botany, plant ecology, biology, wildlife, natural resources, environmental science, or a related field.
  • Knowledge of botany and plant identification and expressed interest in furthering a career in botany 
  • Experience with the identification and management of both native and non-native plants, including in horticultural, agronomic, or nursery settings. 
  • Experience using GPS and GIS software
  • An ability to hike long distances carrying a pack in National Park units to the “office”
  • Deep interest in fieldwork and a respect for nature.
Application procedure  
Submit what To Apply: Please submit your resume, a cover letter demonstrating your interest/ experience, and contact information for three professional/academic references to the online application page for this position here: https://usaconservation.applicantpool.com/jobs/874060.html

Please have your cover letter state your position type & location preference(s).
Early consideration will be given as resumes are received. This position may close at any time. If you have any questions regarding this position please feel free to contact Recruitment and Outreach Specialist, Shannon Borowy at [email protected]

EEO: American Conservation Experience provides equal employment opportunities (EEO) to all employees and applicants for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability or genetics. In addition to federal law requirements, American Conservation Experience complies with applicable state and local laws governing non-discrimination in employment in every location in which the company has facilities.

Submit to Recruitment and Outreach Specialist, Shannon Borowy at [email protected]