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California Native Plant Society position of Rare Plant Project Manager in Sacremento

Rare Plant Project Manager

Job Announcement


About CNPS

Founded in 1965, the California Native Plant Society (CNPS) is a science-based non-profit dedicated to increasing understanding and appreciation of California’s native plants, and to conserving them and their natural habitats. The Society is headquartered in Sacramento. CNPS has around 10,000 members organized in 34 chapters, including the newly-formed Baja California Chapter.


Job Summary

CNPS is seeking a Rare Plant Project Manager to help develop and implement a portfolio of plant science projects. As part of the CNPS Rare Plant Program (RPP), they will be dedicated to developing and maintaining information about rare plants in California, and will promote the use of sound science in the conservation of our rare plants.


The successful candidate will work with dedicated staff, professional botanists, and smart and devoted volunteers to scope projects, develop funding and manage budgets, ensure training and engagement of volunteers, prioritize species/populations/sites, and report to funders and the public. Much of the work will be office-based, but there will be ample opportunity to participate in field work throughout California. The work requires an individual who is organized, collaborative, possesses strong project management skills, and is enthusiastic about sharing their knowledge of and passion for California plants.


This is a unique opportunity to be at the center of some exciting and truly important projects. The Rare Plant Project Manager will ensure continued growth of the CNPS Rare Plant Treasure Hunt (RPTH), which in five years has mapped more than 2,500 rare plant occurrences of which 30% were new discoveries!  They will provide support to the California Plant Rescue (CaPR) partnership, which is saving seeds from every population of rare plants in California. They will help collect tissue for sequencing by researchers, support assessment of taxa to determine extinction probability, and participate in prioritizing taxa and populations for field assessment or conservation action.


Representative Responsibilities

Develop and Manage Projects

  • In coordination with other Rare Plant Program staff, develop goals and objectives for new and current projects, and develop budgets and timelines.
  • Secure funding through contracts, grants, donations, and alternative funding sources such as crowdfunding.
  • With support from staff, negotiate and review grants, contracts, and agency agreements.
  • Work with field staff to plan seasonal field work, hire and schedule staffing, and otherwise coordinate project implementation.
  • Supervise staff to ensure tasks are completed and grant/contractual obligations are met. Coordinate with staff and funders to adjust project details as necessary.
  • Ensure completion of data analysis, evaluation of projects, and dissemination of results. Write progress and final reports for funders. Share project reports with committee members, CNPS leadership, partners and stakeholders.


Engage and Support Volunteers and Partners

  • Engage, listen to, and work cooperatively with CNPS chapters, volunteers, and partners.
  • Expand the volunteer community by recruiting new individuals, engaging new volunteer groups, including students, and supporting involvement of underrepresented communities.
  • Ensure that volunteers are supported by: promoting excellent field safety practices; developing and providing training; evaluating and matching individual skill sets with appropriate responsibilities; providing reference materials and curricula for training events;  developing and distributing rare plant survey assignments (including maps and targets); assisting with acquisition of collecting permits; answering questions and providing volunteer support.
  • Provide or coordinate detailed planning for all aspects of volunteer events, including: transportation, lodging, maps/directions, meals, permits/permissions, reimbursements.
  • Work with CNPS administrative staff to maintain database of volunteers, so that they are recognized for their work, apprised of developments, and informed of opportunities to participate.
  • Lead and co-lead rare plant survey trips and training events with volunteers and partners.
  • Work with Communications staff to publicize events and communicate successes to CNPS chapters and the public via email, websites, brochures, newsletters, blogs, broadcast and social media.
  • Foster relationships with experienced botanists who can assist with field trips.
  • Expand relationships with other organizations, agencies, land trusts, and private land owners to secure site access, cultivate partners and funders, and represent CNPS and the Rare Plant Program.


Advance Rare Plant Science

  • Working with the Rare Plant Botanist, the RPP Committee members, and in consultation with other experts, compile and analyze rare plant data to prioritize taxa and populations for field surveys, listing petitions, and other activities.
  • Adopt, synthesize, or develop maps, identification materials, survey protocols, and other resources to support field work by colleagues and volunteers.
  • Support Rare Plant Botanist in completing status reviews to maintain updated ranks, including: assessing data and completing field surveys to identify taxa in jeopardy of extinction; obtaining data to reassign Rank 3 taxa; assessing ranks of newly described/circumscribed taxa.
  • Participate in development of the new Professional Botanist Certification.
  • Represent CNPS at professional conferences and meetings. Maintain relationships with botanists, academia, agencies, NGOs, CNPS members, volunteers, land managers, and funders.
  • Complete field work and other activities as required to ensure project success, and to maintain expertise in California botany.


Representative Qualifications

  • Masters degree in botany, biology, environmental education or related field or undergraduate degree with at least five years relevant professional experience.
  • Broad botanical knowledge, including plant identification and conservation biology. Experience with California native plants is preferred.
  • Strong grant writing and reporting experience, with a proven record of funds development.
  • Extremely strong volunteer development and coordination experience.
  • Excellent writing and verbal communication skills.
  • Experience performing public presentations and wide variety of outreach to promote projects and engage public.
  • Experience hiring and supervising staff and contractors.
  • Strong project management experience.
  • Skill at working with volunteers and supporters to accomplish challenging projects, while keeping it a fun and fulfilling experience that builds joy and goodwill inside and outside the Society.
  • Strong computer literacy and data entry/analysis proficiency.
  • Strong analytical, organizational and time management skills, with excellent attention to detail.
  • Ability to independently and efficiently plan and manage multiple complex projects simultaneously.
  • Ability to work independently and as part of the CNPS team; demonstrated ability to be a self- starter and exercise mature judgment; belief in the principle that CNPS is a Society in which every individual is unique and valuable.


Please Note if You Possess These Additional Desired Skills

  • Fluency in Spanish.
  • Familiarity with ESRI ArcGIS, or database expertise.
  • Experience scoping or developing online databases or web applications.


Physical Requirements

This job requires prolonged sitting, use of computer and mouse, and ability to participate in field trips including traveling uneven trails with variable grade. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.


Additional Job Requirements

  • Work requires travel throughout California. Work travel is reimbursed.
  • Some evening and weekend work is required to meet deadlines or to participate in meetings.
  • A valid California driver’s license is required, provided annually.


Status and Supervision

This is an exempt, full time staff position eligible for benefits, based at CNPS offices in Sacramento. Position is supervised by the Executive Director, and will supervise staff and contractors, including the RPTH Coordinator and seasonal RPTH field staff.


Compensation and benefits

This is a key position and compensation is generous, commensurate with qualifications and experience. CNPS offers benefits that are competitive with non-profit organizations of comparable size, including full payment of employee health insurance premiums, life insurance, retirement match, and paid holidays and vacation.


To Apply

Please submit cover letter, résumé, and three professional references to Subject line of email should read “Rare Plant Project Manager application.” Review of applications will begin January 31,2015 and continue until filled.


Opportunity within the NCO: