Plant Program Technician

Avalon, California
Aug 28, 2018
Oct 27, 2018
Job Level
Entry level
Employment Type
Salary Type


POSITION:               Plant Program Technician

REPORTS TO:         Plant Conservation Manager              STATUS: Full time, Non-Exempt

UPDATED:               August 2018                                        DEPT: Conservation


A Plant Program Technician will support the Conservancy’s plant conservation and ecosystem restoration program. The Plant Program Technician will assist with multiple projects related to native plant species conservation, habitat restoration and invasive plant management. Duties will include conducting plant community surveys; collecting and processing seeds; raising seedlings; planting; installing tree tubes; restoration monitoring; and invasive plant removal. Field work will involve operating 4 wheel drive vehicles in remote areas and working and hiking in steep and rocky terrain in harsh weather conditions. Others duties include working with interns and volunteers, collecting and managing survey data, managing spatial data in ArcMap, data analyses, literature reviews and report and grant preparation.   


The Plant Program Technician will provide necessary support and day-to-day implementation of assigned Conservancy’s Catalina Habitat Improvement and Restoration Program (CHIRP) projects, activities and/or facilities, including but not limited to:

  • Conduct native and invasive plant community surveys utilizing plots, transects and other methodologies.
  • Collect ecological data in natural plant communities and restoration areas.
  • Collect, process, and store seeds of rare and endemic plants to support the conservancy’s seed conservation program.
  • Assist in propagating, growing and planting seedlings in large scale restoration projects.
  • Assist in the management of invasive plant species utilizing mechanical and chemical methods.
  • Assist in the collection and preparation of herbarium plant specimens. 
  • Collect spatial data using Trimble and/or Garmin GPS units.
  • Manage spatial data in ArcMap.
  • Plan daily work assignments/projects and prepare materials to guide field, nursery or office activities.
  • Conduct literature reviews, which may include gathering data and generating summaries or reports.
  • Assist with the production of grant and funding proposals.
  • Works in facilities including but not limited to; the Ackerman Native Plant Nursery, Catalina Island Conservancy Herbarium, and the Wrigley Memorial & Botanic Garden.
  • Directly supervises field staff in the absence of the Plant Conservation Manager or Plant Program Lead Technician/s.
  • Train field staff, interns and volunteers on safety and standard operating procedures for all programmatic operations.
  • Ensure completion of administrative (e.g., scheduling, correspondence, filing) and logistical (e.g., vehicle and equipment cleaning and maintenance) tasks.
  • Keep accurate and detailed records of management work.
  • Oversee maintenance of equipment/field gear, vehicles, and project base yard, including proper storage of herbicides.
  • Administer quality control for operations and provide constructive feedback to staff and supervisor.
  • Perform other duties as needed or assigned. Management reserves the right to assign and re-assign work at its discretion.
  • Contribute to creating and preserving a positive work environment and serve as a valued member of the field team.


Knowledge and Skills:

  • Experience with invasive and native plant management; natural plant community restoration; nursery management; and/or vegetation monitoring.
  • Familiarity with field-based ecological sampling especially plant-based methods.
  • Knowledge of the Microsoft Programs (Word, Excel, Access), R and ArcGIS.
  • Aptitude to construct and produce reports, input data and conduct basic analysis of data.
  • Acquaintance with being a member of or leading field crews with an understanding of basic supervisory principles and techniques for motivating and providing feedback to others.
  • Knowledge of mechanical/chemical control techniques of invasive plant species and/or common horticultural practices relating to the propagation and maintenance of plants in a greenhouse environment.
  • Skill with operating and maintaining small, mechanized equipment (weed whackers, water pumps, hydraulic augers, power sprayers, etc.).
  • Ability to identify common native and invasive plants/animals of southern California.
  • Competency with interpreting maps and aerial photographs and using a GPS unit for navigation.
  • Strong interpersonal, organizational, and oral and written skills.
  • Background in conducting or an ability to quickly learn administrative and field operations tasks and procedures.


  • Strong analytical problem solving ability.
  • Flexibility, willingness and ability to learn new tasks and take on new projects.
  • Familiarity with basic principles of plant ecology and ecosystem science.
  • Aptitude to balance a mix of office-based and field-based tasks.
  • Capacity to design, implement and coordinate multiple projects.
  • Ability to think creatively to solve problems or improve program efficiency.
  • Ability to work both independently or as part of a team to achieve project goals.


  • Ability to work with and communicate with a wide range of people including staff, vendors, outside researchers, permit applicants, volunteers and the public.
  • Ability to work effectively under pressure with frequent interruptions.
  • Ability to consistently demonstrate professional, positive, and approachable attitude/demeanor, and discretion and sensitivity in handling confidential information.
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills are needed; ability to communicate effectively with diverse or specific audiences and with those with opposing points of view.
  • Ability to work both independently and as a part of a team is essential; strong team building and relationship building skills critical.
  • Positive attitude, sense of humor, energetic, creative and transparent, focused on strategic goals of the Conservancy; not limited to conservation.


  • Bachelor degree in botany, plant ecology or other related field, or equivalent combination of education and experience.
  • One to three (1-3) years of experience in field activities related to natural resources management.
  • Experience using basic GPS (such as Trimble GeoXT) units and ArcGIS software.
  • Familiarity with the Microsoft office suite (Access, PowerPoint, Excel).
  • Must obtain a valid California Driver’s License and be able to operate a 4-wheel drive vehicle.


  • Experience in conducting research and office administration; ability to identify a wide variety of native and invasive plants/animals.
  • Familiarity with California natural communities, ecology and natural history.
  • Possession of, or be able to obtain, a State of California qualified applicator license or certificate.


  • Employee must live and work on Catalina Island.
  • The work environment characteristics described here are representative of those an employee encounters while performing the essential functions of this job. The office environment has moderate noise levels and is a non-smoking environment. Smoking is allowed only at limited designated field sites. Field conditions are strongly weather-dependent and may be hot, dusty, cold, muddy, and/or wet depending on season and degree of exposure. Work may be conducted independently or with groups of staff and/or volunteers. Hiking conditions include steep, rugged terrain with occasionally encountering unstable rocky substrate, dense stands of poison oak and cactus and/or wild animals, such as bison and rattlesnakes.
  • The physical demands described here are representative of those that must be met by an employee to successfully perform the essential functions of this job. Position involves functioning in both field and office environments. Field work involves manual labor, hiking long distances over rugged terrain and through dense scrub, in varied weather conditions, and routine handling of plants. Field work requires the ability to drive project vehicles both on and off road, and handle pesticides. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.
  • The employee must be able to carry a backpack, lift and/or move up to 50 pounds. Specific vision abilities required by this job include close vision, distance vision, color vision, depth perception, and the ability to adjust focus.
  • Conduct all operations according to accepted safety standards and established protocols, and acts to avoid potential safety incidents and assures that field crews follow all applicable protocols and standards.
  • The Conservancy is an “at will” employer offering equal employment opportunity without regard to race, color, creed or religion, age, sex, national origin or disability (within the physical parameters defined in this position description and those associated with remote island living). Any offer of employment contingent upon verification of individual’s eligibility for employment in the United States.


The Catalina Island Conservancy offers a generous benefit package including, medical, dental, vision, paid vacation, sick leave, holidays and 403B.