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Plant Ecology Interns

Great Basin Institute / BLM, Southern Nevada District

Henderson ,  Nevada

Member will provide national service at U.S. Geological Society in partnership with the Bureau of Land Management, a host site for the AmeriCorps Intern Program.


The Great Basin Institute, in cooperation with the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), is recruiting two Plant Ecology Interns to join our AmeriCorps program to assist US Geological Survey researchers with all aspects of post-fire restoration and restoration plant materials development research projects in the Mojave Desert. These projects are designed to evaluate traditional and novel restoration practices based on ecological processes influencing recovery, and evaluate locally-adapted plant materials used in arid land restoration through multiple common gardens across the Mojave Desert.

Primary Responsibilities:

Interns will assist in establishing treatment sites (including weather station installation), data collection (pre-treatment monitoring of vegetation associated with restoration treatment, species identification, preparation of herbarium specimens), data management, maintenance of field, laboratory and computer equipment, and occasional library research. The interns will collect and organize field and greenhouse data, ensuring adequate quality control of data collected, and assist in identifying erroneous data. The interns will also assist with greenhouse propagation and plantings of perennial species that will be established in multiple common garden sites, measure plant traits in the gardens, and help maintain new plantings (such as watering and weeding).

Project work involves long periods of time outside or in a greenhouse making measurements of individual plants or plant communities, and recording data into personal data assistants (PDAs) or onto data sheets. This work requires long hours in the field in remote areas of the Mojave Desert, and will often involve camping. People who enjoy being outdoors, who are physically fit, and who can accurately record data will be excellent candidates for these positions.

Interns may also assist with related research projects at various times, and must remain flexible.

Related Responsibilities:

  • Participate in trainings provided by BLM and USGS staff and community partners;
  • Meet with Host Site Supervisor on a regular basis;
  • Participate in community service days organized by NCC Program; and
  • Participate in regular AmeriCorps team meetings.

Physical Demands: 

Field work involves hiking off designated trails or routes, across rugged terrain, up to 10 miles per day, but more typically 2-6 miles per day. Weather conditions will vary from cold winds or rain in the early spring to temperatures over 100F in the summer. Greenhouse work involves stooping and moving pots filled with soil. The use of global positioning systems (handheld GPS units), computers, PDAs, digital cameras, and on- and off-road vehicles are an essential part of the job. Only people willing to spend extended periods of several weeks per month camping under primitive conditions at remote locations on data collection trips should apply for the position. Incumbents must also be willing to spend days at a time working at a computer during periods of data entry and analysis.

  • Lift up to 50-70 pounds of material or equipment
  • Bend, lift, pull, and push
  • Crouch, stoop, kneel, stand, or bend for long periods of time
  • Walk for long periods of time on uneven surfaces carrying equipment
  • Be outside in extreme heat or cold (depending upon the season)
  • Work 10 hour days
  • Travel overnight or up to 8 days at a time for project work


This is an AmeriCorps position, and candidates will receive a living stipend of $8,700 for the season. This is not an hourly wage or a salary and is paid to members every other week throughout the service term. Upon completion of AmeriCorps service, members shall receive an additional education award in the amount of $2,887.50 that can be used for paying off qualified student loans or paying tuition for a Title IV accredited college.


U.S. Geological Survey - Henderson, NV

A personal vehicle is recommended for travel/transport outside of work. Henderson is in Southern Nevada, located near some of the country’s most awe-inspiring public lands. There are numerous mountain ranges nearby — you can drive from the low desert to an alpine habitat in approximately 90 minutes! Henderson has several great outdoor destinations nearby (1 hour or less drive): Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area, Lake Mead National Recreation Area, Valley of Fire State Park, Desert National Wildlife Refuge, and the Spring Mountains. A little farther afield (2-3 hours drive) are Ash Meadows National Wildlife Refuge, Death Valley National Park, Mojave National Preserve, Zion National Park, and Cedar Breaks National Monument. Driving farther still will get you to Joshua Tree National Park (4 hours), Grand Canyon National Park (5 hours), Anza-Borrego Desert State Park (6 hours), Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks (8 hours), and Yosemite National Park (8 hours).


  • July 2017 – December 2017 or upon availability


  • Bachelor’s degree – or coursework and relevant experience – in Plant Ecology, Botany or related field;
  • Previous experience with vegetation monitoring and surveys;
  • Experience following established protocols for field data collection and management;
  • General knowledge of Southwestern plants preferred;
  • Ability to work in harsh and rapidly changing environments, traverse uneven terrain and withstand strenuous exertion;
  • Experience in backcountry field work preferred;
  • Clean, valid, state-issued driver’s license; and
  • Meet AmeriCorps eligibility requirements: (1) U.S. citizenship or legal resident alien status, (2) eligible to receive an AmeriCorps Education Award (limit of two in a lifetime, regardless of award amount), and (3) pass National Sex Offender Public Registry (NSOPR) and federal criminal background checks.

A general knowledge of plants of the Southwest would be helpful but is not required.

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