Location: Augusta, ME
Housing: Not Provided
Days and Hours of Service: 40 hours per week may include evenings, weekends and holidays
Host Site and Position Overview:
Within the State of Maine’s Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry, the Maine Natural Areas Program works to ensure the maintenance of Maine's natural heritage for the benefit of present and future generations. MNAP serves Maine's citizens as the most comprehensive source on the State's important natural features, and provides objective information to help land managers make informed decisions. This includes a strong program on terrestrial and wetland invasive plants.
The Environmental Steward (ES) will play a key role in invasive plant survey efforts on state lands, and will also participate in targeted invasive plant management efforts. The ES will conduct field surveys to search out and map infestations of terrestrial and wetland invasive plant species, visit previously-treated sites to monitor and document plant conditions, document treatments and surveys in an online database, undertake treatment/control projects, assess sites and create management recommendations for land managers, and coordinate or assist with volunteer service days with local partners. The ES will first serve alongside MNAP staff to become trained in invasive plant identification, mapping, survey, and control techniques, including mapping protocols using the online mapping tool iMapInvasives. In addition, the ES will study for their pesticide applicator’s license. The ES will assist with writing of invasive plant management recommendations reports and survey summaries. GIS skills will also be taught and modeled so the ES can learn the skills needed to make more complex maps. After a training period, the ES may then work more independently, potentially surveying on their own or with a seasonal staff member. Cross-training will also be provided within or beyond DACF, for example with the Maine Forest Service – Forest Health and Monitoring Program, or other programs, depending on the interests of the ES.
June-July: Training with MCC and MNAP. Training with MNAP to include: advanced invasive plant ID; search methods including data record-keeping; use of GPS unit and software/ArcGIS skills; iMapInvasives online mapping tool; herbicide use/safety and pesticide applicator’s exam; and invasive plant control/documentation methods. Practice computer skills and field site visits with MNAP staff in mentoring role. First site visits/surveys. Based on field visits/surveys, practice writing invasive plant management recommendation reports with guidance from MNAP staff. Meet with key partners (BPL, MNAP staff) and begin planning/coordinating the field schedule. Prepare field gear, field maps, etc.
July-September: Perform field surveys statewide, collecting/documenting invasive plant data according to established protocols, monitoring/documenting sites previously treated and making recommendations for follow-up treatments as necessary, coordinating with MNAP, and BPL staff. Field survey on other topics such as rare plant survey, ecological monitoring sites, natural community mapping, wetland survey and evaluation in coordination with MNAP Ecologists. Conduct small-scale control projects as needed while surveying. Participate as needed in larger control efforts, including herbicide use. Enter and manage data in iMapInvasives. Create management recommendations specific to each site, in consultation with MNAP staff as needed. Share immediate needs with key field staff to address urgent early detection infestations. Coordinate/assist with volunteer service days at appropriate field sites. Operate safely and sometimes independently in remote areas, coordinate camping as needed, check in with MNAP staff as required.
October-November: Wrap up iMapInvasives data entry. Create final-quality maps using ArcGIS software. Complete remaining summary reports with management recommendations for each site. Communicate with key partners regarding findings, produce list of sites to be revisited in 2021 for treatment follow-up. Coordinate/assist with volunteer service days at appropriate field sites. Assist with other projects as directed by MNAP staff. Final reporting on project success, reflection, de-brief.
Description of Duties:
• Participate in MNAP-provided training and skill-building sessions
• Plan and coordinate invasive species survey and monitoring including plant ID, mapping, and control
• Collect accurate data following established methods, mostly using iMapInvasives
• Create site specific maps and management recommendations reports
• Safely control invasive plants using manual, mechanical, and herbicide tools
• Complete rigorous outdoor surveys and treatments including some long days on foot carrying equipment
• Maintain detailed logs of activities at each site, keeping logs up to date and providing sufficient information to ensure continuity
• Identify sites suitable for volunteer invasive plant service days
• Assist with other MNAP projects such as invasive plant trainings and outreach, natural community surveys, forest inventory plots, wetland community survey and evaluation
• Plant identification skills with the flora of New England (trees, shrubs, wildflowers), especially invasive plants
• Knowledge of invasive plant prioritization and control strategies
• Knowledge of safe practices for herbicide use and rules and regulations related to herbicide use
• Ability to record data with good attention to detail
• Data summary and interpretation skills
• ArcGIS skills to make maps and use online tools built on an ArcGIS Online platform
• Ability to travel to other locations within the state and work closely with others, sometimes camping overnight
• Good communication skills to coordinate with supervisor, colleagues, and partners
• Ability to manage time effectively and complete tasks with attention to detail
• The ability to self-motivate, serve independently and collaboratively
• Skills in volunteer leadership and recruitment to bring people out for invasive plant service days
• Experience with statistical and graphing software e.g., R would be a bonus
• Native plant identification skills beyond woody trees and shrubs are a bonus
• Service is performed both indoors and outdoors
• Service involves indoor primarily computer-oriented tasks in cubicle space. Tasks include data entry in direct support of the project, map-making, photo management, recordkeeping (logs of the site visit details), and report writing.
• Service involves field surveys and treatments in all kinds of weather conditions including but not limited to: hot, humid, bugs, rain, cold, and long hiking days over rough terrain carrying heavy equipment.
• Service time is estimated to be approximately 2/3 field based and 1/3 office based, but this will vary from week to week and be somewhat weather dependent. Schedules needs to be flexible to accommodate last minute field trips. A significant amount of driving is needed to reach many field sites.
• Service is performed independently and as part of a team
• Service involves frequent communication to multiple parties
• Service involves managing time effectively and completing tasks with attention to detail
• Service will require the ability to self-motivate, serve independently and collaboratively
• Enthusiasm for field surveys and treatments combined with plant identification skills. Much of the work is field-based, and it requires interest/skill in plant identification (both invasive and native plants)
• Excellent organization skills and attention to detail for data collection and record-keeping
• Basic ArcGIS skills
• Willingness to become licensed to safely and accurately apply herbicides for invasive plant control
• Experience and comfort navigating remote areas using compass, map, and GPS unit
• Sincere interest in plant ecology and land stewardship. There are some long days and it really helps to feel passionate about the big picture of what we are doing, because in the moment it may be plain old hard physical labor.
Education award upon successful completion of service, Stipend, Student loan forbearance, Training
Weekly living allowance of $335.42 (before taxes) for 24 weeks
Certifications in the National Incident Management System, some members will also receive a MCC Chainsaw Safety Certification
Conferences such as the Maine AmeriCorps Member Conference
Maine State Park Pass
AmeriCorps Education Award of $3,047.50
Some members may also be eligible for student loan forbearance and childcare reimbursement
A small number of Host Sites also offer housing as part of their position
Credential or Certification
High School Graduate
Subject to criminal background check
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