Annual Grass Monitoring Lead

University of Montana

Missoula, Montana

Job Type Temporary
Salary Details $19 per hour

The University of Montana O’Connor Center for the Rocky Mountain West is currently recruiting FORESTRY TECHNICIAN LEAD. We are partnering with the US Forest Service Region 1 to map and monitor invasive annual grass populations. Crews will work with multiple field offices within Region 1 to collect data that will be used to understand the spread of invasive grasses and inform USFS management decisions. 

We are currently recruiting Forestry Technicians with coursework in forestry, resource management or related field for data collection. Crews will be based in Missoula with data collection in western Montana, May 15 - August 9.  

Forestry technicians will work on two-person crews to collect data in forested ecosystems. Crews work eight-day hitches: 10-hours/day, from Tuesday-Tuesday, with a six-day break between hitches. All positions are field-based and require working and camping in isolated regions. We ask seasonal staff to commit to the entire field season, practice safety awareness, safe driving policies, and contribute to building a healthy, productive and enjoyable work environment.   

Applicants should understand that this is physically demanding work. Crews often work and camp in inclement weather conditions, frequently navigating rough, unpaved roads in 4x4 vehicles, and carrying heavy loads (40 lbs.) by foot over rugged mountainous terrain. Sampling locations are occasionally near a small town, but these towns often have few amenities. Primitive camping is required. Cell phone service is limited.   

UM supplies all necessary monitoring equipment, including vehicles, to carry out the work. We provide some group camping gear (stoves, coolers). Individuals are responsible for their personal camping gear (tents, sleeping bags) but UM will provide up to $600 of camping/field equipment. 

The University of Montana is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity employer and has a strong institutional commitment to the principle of diversity in all areas. Applicants with diverse backgrounds, experiences, ability and perspectives are encouraged to apply.  

Position Details   

  • Position is full time, temporary.   
  • Compensation is $19 an hour.  
  • All positions include a $268 tax-free meal per diem per 8-day hitch. 
  • Benefits include Worker’s Compensation coverage and paid holidays. 


Education and Experience   

  • Five semesters of undergraduate coursework in forestry, resource management of related fields.  
  • Outdoor experience (camping, backpacking, hiking, etc.)  
  • Experience driving a 4x4 vehicle  
  • Valid driver’s license and clean driving record (DUI or other serious convictions need not apply).    
  • Experience navigating off-trail with compass and GPS.   

Preferred Technical Skills   

  • Outdoor work experience (trail crew, wildland fire, landscaping, field research, etc.)  
  • Experience identifying plants.  
  • Careful attention to detail.   
  • Experience following established field protocols to conduct sampling and field data collection.   
  • Experience with data entry and management using electronic devices.   
  • Experience with Microsoft Office (Word, Excel) and preferably with ArcGIS Field Maps and Survey123.   
  • Certification in CPR and Wilderness First Aid.    

Professional Skills   

  • Ability to maintain good working relationships with crew members and managers.   
  • Ability to accept guidance and constructive criticism from peers and supervisors; willingness to learn and incorporate suggested changes.   
  • Demonstrated ability to resolve interpersonal conflict during stressful situations.   
  • Ability to interact with stakeholders and partners in a professional manner.   
  • Demonstrated ability to work productively as part of a team to accomplish mutual goals and to work independently as required.   
  • Commitment to an entire field season.   

Physical Requirements   

  • Ability to carry 40 pounds in a backpack over rugged mountainous terrain, off-trail, for up to eight (8) miles a day, gaining up to 2000 ft. of elevation per day.    
  • Willingness and ability to maintain a positive attitude in field conditions that include exposure to inclement weather, hot or cold weather, rugged terrain, mosquitos, venomous snakes, bears and other wildlife, lightning, wildfire, etc., all while maintaining a strong commitment to team safety required.     
  • Willingness to work irregular hours in harsh environments and challenging weather conditions.   


These positions are ideal for people who are committed to ongoing learning and development. You will receive paid training on data collection protocols and associated methodology. UM ecologists will also provide additional training on safety protocols and tree identification for the area in which you will be working, and ongoing field-based support and training from specialists during the field season. You will have the opportunity to interact with seasoned staff scientists from both the USFS and UM throughout training and field work.    


Applications review will begin January 8 and will continue until the position is filled. 

Please submit the following documents to Kory Kolis (kory.kolis@mso.umt.edu ). The subject line of the email should read "2024 UM Forestry Lead Application”. 

Please combine all application materials into 2-3 documents. 

  • Letter of Interest – Please ensure it addresses your ability to meet the stated required skills for the position.
  • Detailed resume listing education and describing work experience.
  • Names and contact information for three (3) professional references
  • Transcripts (Unofficial Transcripts are acceptable).

When you apply, please indicate that you are responding to the posting on Conservation Job Board.

Category Forestry, Botany, Ecology
Tags GIS