Ontario residents who are laid off from work and unemployed may be eligible to receive up to $24,000 Canadian dollars to enroll in the EARTHQUEST Biological Field School 6, 9 or 12 month FBT Program. The school has a 95% success rate for graduates of the FBT Program finding employment in the environmental industry. To date, over 35 organizations have hired graduates. To view a list of employers please visit:
To learn more about the FBT program please go to the following link:
Enrollment for the FBT Program fall semester begins September 16, 2019. To inquire if you are eligible it is wise to contact your local Employment Counselor at a Service Ontario office and tell them that you wish to apply for Second Career funding. The EARTHQUEST Biological Field School may not be listed as a Second Career institution, but they do meet the eligibility requirements and they have had students successfully obtain Second Career funding previously. The Field Botany Mentorship Program is one of the FBT Programs offered.
Field Botany Mentorship Program
EARTHQUEST (Canada) for the Environment is continuing to work with the Fieldlife Environmental Consultants & Ecological Services on this project. Botanical work with volunteers will focus on vegetation surveys along the length of the Niagara Escarpment World Biosphere Reserve between Tobermory and Queenston Heights, Ontario. The project will culminate in the publication of a book on the flora. Survey methodology will consist of hiking the trail system with an expert Botanist and recording all plants found. Photographs of plants and their habitat from volunteers may be credited in the book. You could also be asked to contribute written sections to the book content. Hiking may take several hours to full 8 hour days traveling an average of 4 - 12 km per hike. Hikes are mainly organized on weekend dates, weather permitting, but we may consider longer hikes which may last several weeks or months for the right candidate.
Volunteers may also be selected for a vegetation survey of food trees and shrubs at a bird banding station near Cayuga, Ontario. If selected you may be asked to undergo data sensitivity training.
Who is this Mentorship opportunity most suited for?
This position is open to all, but preference will be given to beginners who need the experience and mentorship. For those who do not have the botanical skills necessary to participate we highly recommend taking plant courses from EARTHQUEST. Students and volunteers may take courses for discounted rates. Please visit their website for details:
Roles and Duties:
The role and duties of this unique volunteer opportunity includes:
• Assisting staff with botanical surveys in search of Ontario Species at Risk;
• Learning intimately about vegetation ecology, survey protocols and methodology, native plant, Species at Risk and invasive plant identification and data collection. This includes plants which are notoriously difficult to identify such as asters, goldenrods, grasses, sedges and rushes;
• Contributing valuable data, information, crediting your work in a much needed and anticipated book for land management purposes, conservation and research
What is the benefit of becoming a Volunteer Botanist?
We only accept a handful of volunteers each year to learn the "tricks of the trade" through this uniquely designed and intensive mentorship opportunity. Other benefits include:
•Become more attractive to employers seeking candidates with skills in field botany, GIS and database management;
•Receive hands-on practical training and field experience in the environmental field within several disciplines – field Botany, GIS and database management;
•Gain professional connections and networking opportunities;
•Gain valuable insight and experience with the vegetation ecology of one of Ontario’s premier geological land formations;
•Get to know the Niagara Escarpment and meet new people;
•Learn GIS skills associated with how to map vegetation communities and populations;
•Learn about the environmental assessment process as it relates to conducting vegetation surveys in Ontario;
•Acquire skills associated with data collection and database management using MicroSoft software (i.e. Excel and Access)
Qualifications of candidates:
•Comfortable working and camping outdoors in all weather conditions;
•Enthusiastic with a sense of humor;
•Comfortable hiking and working in small groups;
•Able to work independently and as part of a team;
• A strong communicator with ability to take notes and photographs;
•A desire to learn and work with a mentor, taking a botany course if necessary;
• Reasonable with time management, judging hiking distances and aerial photo interpretation;
•Willing to spend time entering data into a database;
• Experience or interest in pursuing botany or a career in the environmental field;
• Experience camping outdoors;
• Previous volunteer experience
Volunteer work takes place primarily over weekend dates, not including statuatory holidays. Those selected for the bird banding station vegetation surveys may volunteer during the week from Monday to Friday. Volunteer Botanists are asked to commit to volunteering a minimum of once per month from July – October, approximately 4 – 8 hours per hike. You will spend up to 2 – 4 hours per day entering data collected from field visits into the database. Alternatively, you may choose to spend up to 1 month entering data after program completion (i.e. November, 2019).
We can only accept a limited number of students for the FBT Program and volunteers for the Field Botany Mentorship opportunity. All applicants must complete the following steps to be considered for this unique program:
*Attend an interview with EARTHQUEST staff;
*Research the Niagara Escarpment and know the local topography, flora, time and distance required to hike between sites;
* Attend a field botany training session designed to help determine your botanical inventory rate
To be considered please submit a letter telling us why you wish to join the FBT or Field Botany Mentorship program, your qualifications, commitment to receiving mentoring and training from experienced professionals, desire to take plant courses, your resume and three references.