Soil Conservation Scientist I

Point Blue Conservation Science

Petaluma, California

Job Type Temporary
Salary Details $27.62-$32.45 per hour
Required Experience 0 - 1 years

Soil Conservation Scientist I at Point Blue Conservation Science

Location: Petaluma, CA (Hybrid)

Duration: 1-year term position

Deadline to Apply: Open until filled

Position Type: Full Time, Non-Exempt

Compensation and Benefits: $27.62-$32.45 per hour. Hourly rate is based on qualifications and internal equity. Point Blue provides a comprehensive benefit package including employer paid medical and dental for staff and 75% for dependents. Other benefits include life insurance, long-term care, long- and short-term disability, flexible spending accounts, and retirement plans as well as time off benefits. 

About Point Blue:

Point Blue Conservation Science is a growing and internationally renowned non-profit with over 160 staff and scientists based in Petaluma, California. Founded in 1965 as Point Reyes Bird Observatory, our mission and programs have evolved over time to include a broad range of conservation activity, from restoration to environmental education to innovative work in the field of regenerative agriculture.  We have a proven track record of scientific excellence.

We recognize that increasing racial, gender, cultural, and other diversity, equity, and inclusion factors at Point Blue and in our partnerships is essential for the success of our mission, vision, and strategy. We are actively engaging in a process to create lasting organizational change. We seek applicants from all backgrounds to join our teams. We strongly encourage applications from people with backgrounds that are under-represented in the conservation community.

Job Summary:

The Point Blue Soils Team implements carbon monitoring protocols to assess ecosystem health above and belowground in response to changes in land management practices. The Soil Conservation Scientist I year long position will work closely with Soils Team scientists and staff to implement carbon monitoring on farms and ranches through a combination of field days, soil and plant processing in the lab, and office days for data processing. Flexibility to adapt to changing fieldwork and travel schedules is critical. The Conservation Scientist I will perform research tasks on multiple soils-focused projects at Point Blue throughout California and possibly nearby states. Additional work in science communication also will occur, which may include drafting protocols and working lands maps, reading and summarizing scientific articles, and participating in outreach on soil conservation both internally and externally. The office and lab work for this position will be based in Petaluma, CA. 

Essential Functions:

Field Work (35%)  

  • Completes soil and plant sampling on rangeland and farmland with Point Blue staff and independently. Some field days may involve hiking 1-2 miles traversing through steep and uneven terrain and transporting up to 35 lbs; navigation to all sample points is done using a GPS. 
  • The field schedule is variable and involves significant travel throughout California, and potentially other western states during the fieldwork season. Travel may include some evening and weekend work--use of company vehicles usually available, and use of a personal vehicle will be reimbursed as per Point Blue’s expense reimbursement policy. Traveling will often include overnight lodging and/or camping (costs will be covered).

Office and Lab Work (40%) 

  • Basic processing of soil samples (e.g., sieving, drying, shipping) at Point Blue headquarters in Petaluma.
  • Ensures consistent and reliable standardized data are gathered and entered into an online database; ensures quality control of data, scans and archives datasheets.

Other Duties as Assigned (25%) 

  • Perform special projects, research, and other duties as assigned, including the drafting protocols, support and development of field monitoring training programs, mapping and reporting conservation practice impact to land owners, supporting other research groups across the organization, and outreach, diversity, equity and inclusion goals.

Desired Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities:

  • Knowledge of field data collection practices and procedures.
  • Understanding of scientific research methods and techniques in biological and physical sciences and their application to ecosystem conservation and management activities.
  • Able to respectfully engage with a diverse group of people including state, federal, tribal, and non-government resource professionals, working lands producers, and the general public.
  • Interest in developing and/or existing GIS skills, including creating, processing, and visualizing geospatial data with common software (QGIS, ESRI products, R) preferred.
  • Skills to use basic computer programs (Microsoft Office spreadsheets, word processing, presentation and email programs; skills operating Google Drive programs including Google Sheets, Docs, and Slides.)
  • Skills to learn to operate a variety of field and laboratory equipment that may include geographic positioning and information systems, radios, and other scientific equipment.
  • Able to to work in the field with livestock present and a general knowledge of working ranch safety/etiquette. 
  • Able to work well alone and as a team, and to spend long hours in the field, lab and office.
  • Able to stay organized, flexible, and self-motivated; able to maintain a positive attitude when working with others in difficult field conditions; eagerness to learn,, a sense of humor, and curiosity.

Certifications and/or Licenses:

  • Valid US Driver’s License and favorable driving record to drive company vehicles. Ideally access to a personal vehicle with proof of auto insurance.

Preferred Education and Experience:

  • This position requires a combination of education and experience equivalent to a Bachelor’s degree in soil science, field biology, conservation, ecology or related environmental field;
  • The ideal candidate has 1+ years of field and/or related work experience.
  • The most important characteristics are enthusiasm for ecosystem conservation, soils, working lands stewardship, and/or natural history, and willingness to learn on the job. 

Work Environment & Physical Requirements:

  • Operate in a professional office environment, in a soil processing facility, and in remote field locations.
  • Work environment includes indoors with time spent sitting at a desk or laboratory bench and outdoors conducting field research in uneven terrain, limited vehicle access and limited cell phone reception. Field work is conducted in a variety of conditions including hot and cold weather; hazards including ticks and other insects, wild animals, and poison oak may be present.
  • Routinely use standard office equipment such as computers, phones, photocopiers, scanners, and filing cabinets.
  • Ability to stand, bend, stoop, sit, walk, twist, and turn.
  • Ability to walk in uneven terrain while carrying gear or backpack, and lift up to 35 pounds occasionally in the field and soil processing facility.

Position Type, Expected Hours of Work, and Travel:

  • This is a full-time position.
  • Working hours generally run from M-F, 8-5, but days and hours of work vary depending on season, fieldwork, and timeline requirements. 
  • Occasional evening and weekend work may be required in the field, including overnight.
  • Travel to field sites in California and possibly other states up to 30% time, depending on the season. 

Point Blue is an equal employment opportunity employer and does not discriminate against applicants or employees because of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, age, citizenship status, disability status of an otherwise qualified individual, membership or application for membership in an uniformed service, or membership in any other class protected by applicable law and will make reasonable accommodation for applicants with disabilities to complete the application and/or participate in the interview process.


To Apply: Please complete this application form or copy and paste https://forms.gle/WySHuvRZbjHRn6hT6 into your browser. You will be asked to include: (1) a 1-2 page resume + contact information for 2-3 professional references; and (2) a 1-2 page cover letter describing your interest in the position, including your qualifications and career goals.

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

Category Botany , Ecology , General / Stewardship
Tags GIS , Soil Science