Crew Member: Ecological, Vegetation, and Soils Survey with the Bureau of Land Management
Southwest Conservation Corps

Collect ecological data and camp in the Chihuahuan Desert, all to inform public land management.

The Chihuahuan Desert is biologically diverse. This work helps show you that.


Crew Member: Ecological, Vegetation, and Soils Survey with the Bureau of Land Management

Southwest Conservation Corps
Las Cruces, NM or Carlsbad, NM
$520.00 / week
Some experience required
Start Date:
Job starts soon! (Jul 15, 2019)

Position Type:              Full-time, temporary, 23 weeks

Benefits:                       Paid training; camp rate food allowance; AmeriCorps Education Award of $2,907.50 upon satisfactory completion of term

Hiring Benefits:           Public Land Corps hiring authority: eligible to use, for two years upon completion of term, a noncompetitive hiring status for consideration when applying to competitive service positions for a federal agency. 

Program Dates:          July 2019-December 2019

Southwest Conservation Corps’s Mission

It is the mission of the Southwest Conservation Corps (SCC) to empower individuals to positively impact their lives, their communities, and the environment.  For more information, visit

Botany Crew Member’s Responsibilities

Provides botanical expertise to the crew lead and soils crew member while on plot, as well as to the project as a whole; completes the species inventory the majority of the time.  Maintains and tracks botanical specimens of known and unknown species throughout the field season and keep records updated as needed.  Continues to learn the local flora from the crew lead and local resources and builds botanical knowledge. The botany crew member should be passionate about the botanical world and have a willingness to share that knowledge with the crew lead and fellow soils crew member.

Soils Crew Member’s Responsibilities

Provides expertise on soils and soils-forming mechanisms that occur on and near plot to help characterize the site.  The soils crew member will complete the soil stability protocol and the soil pit characterization the majority of the time.  Works closely with the crew lead to discuss and come to consensus of which ecological site or soil series the plot falls on. Maintains specimens and records of unique soils throughout the field office to develop and maintain a unique soil library for the field office.  Provides guidance on soil texturing techniques to the crew lead and fellow botany crew member.  Assists the crew with vegetation monitoring.

Minimal Qualifications:

  • College Graduate (Bachelor’s, at minimum) with degree in ecology, botany, plant ecology, plant biology, plant systematics, natural resource management or a related field.
  • Eligible to accept a 900hour service term with Americorps
    • Aged between 21 and 30 (civilian) or 35 (veteran) years upon hire
    • With U.S. Citizenship or Lawful Permanent Residence and associated identification, including an image of a signed social security card AND another acceptable primary form of documentation
  • Ability to produce identification as stipulated by I9 upon hire
  • Valid US driver's license and insurable driving record
  • Ability to pass Conservation Legacy’s background checks
  • Experience with and knowledge of Microsoft Suite Software (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Access)
  • Self-motivated and able to work independently with limited supervision after the initial training period. The applicant must be able to maneuver and operate in a mixture of office and fieldwork.
  • Physically capable of standing and walking (at a minimum 6 miles/day on rough, uneven terrain), bending, crouching and stooping for long periods of time, and lifting/carrying items that weigh up to 40 pounds, in upwards of 100 degree (F) heat while maintaining a cheery to neutral attitude.
  • Experience and willingness to spending multiple days (16 days at a time) car-camping in remote areas; familiarity or willingness to learn and adhere to best practices for field safety and Leave No Trace principles
  • Willingness to spend several hours per day and/or per week riding in, navigating, and driving a work vehicle on and off-highway.
  • Ability to work in and respond to adverse weather conditions including extreme heat, monsoonal rains, and hazardous wildlife (i.e. rattlesnakes, scorpions)
  • Current or ability to obtain CPR, First Aid, Wilderness First Aid, and Defensive Driver Training certificates

Preferred Qualifications (Botany emphasis): 

  • At least 1 to 2 years of experience using taxonomic keys to identify plants to species in the field, from photos, and from pressed specimens.
  • Familiarity with New Mexico flora in general and Flora Neomexicana III is preferred.
  • Experience with Floras from adjacent states to New Mexico
  • Experience working in regions with high floristic diversity
  • Experience working as part of a small team and able to work well with others
    • Excellent communication, organizational, and planning skills.
  • Experience with handheld GPS units and External GNSS GPS antennae and basic troubleshooting
  • Experience with ArcGIS Online interface.
    • Knowledge of downloading, using, and syncing ArcGIS Online Maps

Preferred Qualifications (Soils Emphasis): 

  • Familiarity with New Mexico soils
  • Experience hand texturing various types of soils 
  • Experience digging quality soil pits to characterize and document all horizons
  • Experience using soil series descriptions, web soil survey or equivalent soil datasets
  • Experience with handheld GPS units and External GNSS GPS antennae and basic troubleshooting
  • Experience safely operating 4WD trucks on paved and unpaved roads, often in remote areas on unimproved roads, and driving for extended periods of time (23 hours at a time).


Program Overview:

Participants will manage all aspects of vegetation monitoring using the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) Assessment, Inventory, & Monitoring (AIM) methodology. More information on the BLM’s AIM strategy can be found on the AIM website:  Crews will consist of three individuals: two crew members and one crew lead. 

Within all plots, vegetation will be identified to species; line-point intercept will be used to gather species cover and composition data; soil stability will be measured; and soil pit descriptions will be completed. All data will be georeferenced using a GPS unit and stored in an ArcGIS geodatabase. Data are entered into the Database for Inventory, Monitoring, and Assessment (DIMA) on site with ruggedized tablets and are further analyzed and synthesized into various reports for future land management planning. The crew may also have the opportunity to assist with other public land management projects involving wildlife, range and forestry.

Work will be completed in remote areas on BLM lands.  Crews will be required to drive to several different areas of the Field or District Office throughout a four- to eight-day work week (“hitch”), camp overnight, hike several miles a day, and return to the office for equipment and data management.

Public Land Corps:

The Public Land Corps program provides the opportunity for young people between the ages of 16 and 30 years to work on conservation projects on public lands. Those who successfully complete the PLC requirements are then eligible to use, for two years, a noncompetitive hiring status for consideration when applying to competitive service positions.


How to Apply

Crews are based in Las Cruces or Carlsbad, NM.  Apply here for either.

Contact Info