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Botanist Resource Assistant


Individual Placement/Internships

Job Location

Payson, Arizona

Tracking Code


Position Type


How to Apply
Apply online at: To be fully considered you will need to submit a one-page cover letter highlighting why you are interested in this position and how your background and experience will help you succeed in this position your resume.



Term of positions is 1 year (52 weeks), 40 hrs/week


Flexible; preferred location Payson Ranger District Office, Payson AZ or Supervisor’s Office, Phoenix AZ. If candidate decides to live in the Phoenix metropolitan area, they would be required to drive longer distances to project areas and or occasionally camp overnight in the field.

Living Allowance:

 $18.75/hr (pre-tax)

Start Date:

Desired: June 6, 2022 (no later than June 27, 2022)

Application Due Date:

Applications will be reviewed as they are received.

Title of Position

Botanist Resource Assistant


Tonto National Forest Botany Program

The Tonto National Forest is one of the most floristically diverse forests in the Southwestern Region – in large part due to the forest’s position across three distinct ecological sections; the Sonoran Desert, Tonto Transition, and the White Mountain-San Francisco Peak-Mogollon Rim. There are a diversity of ecosystems including the Sonoran desert, Arizona chaparral, Semi-desert grasslands, Pinyon-Juniper woodlands and grasslands, Madrean oak woodlands, Ponderosa pine forests, and mixed conifer forests. The forest also harbors many endemic, rare plant species, and unique plant communities.

The botany program on the Tonto NF manages our national forest's native plant heritage including federally listed and sensitive plant species and their unique habitats – especially those identified as special interest areas such as Research Natural areas or Botanical areas. Botanists provide support to all other forest programs including recreation, range, engineering, wildlife, aquatics, minerals, special uses, invasive species work, forest products, timber, and fuels management projects. Botanists are actively involved and lead in habitat restoration efforts, endangered species recovery efforts, rare plant surveys and monitoring, vegetation sampling, and riparian monitoring.


Position Details

Stewards Individual Placements (Stewards) provide individuals with service and career opportunities to strengthen communities and preserve our natural resources. Participants work with federal agencies, tribal governments, and nonprofits building institutional capacity, developing community relationships, and supporting ecosystem health. Stewards in partnership with the Tonto National Forest to hire a Botanist Resource Assistant.


The Botanist RA position is being hired through the Forest Service Resource Assistant (RA) program to support the Four Forest Restoration Initiative (4FRI) on the Tonto by accomplishing required at-risk plant species surveys. The botanist RA will report to the Tonto Forest Botanist at the Supervisor’s Office in Phoenix AZ.


Primary duties include conducting annual rare plant surveys and monitoring for 4FRI and other district priority projects. The botanist will work closely with the botany technician RA to accomplish rare plant surveys and monitoring. The botanist will also assist the seasonal weed crew (3-4 staff) by participating in annual botany skills training, provide technical assistance, and in-the-field training (species identification, data collection protocol) as needed. This is a primarily field-going position but does include office work such as prep work at the beginning of the field season, participation in training seasonal crews, and close out work (e.g., data entry) at the end of the field season.


Position Responsibilities will include:

  • Establish survey units within 4FRI timber sale areas
  • Essential functions and responsibilities:
    • Compile rare plant habitat information (vegetation community, soils, aspect, etc.) to delineate survey units for target species
    • Establish in-the-field search criteria and or delineate survey units in GIS
    • Compile any other necessary materials to assist with locating target species and rare plant habitat (e.g., species guides for identification)
  • Conduct rare and invasive plant surveys
    • Essential Functions and Responsibilities:
      • Follow FS protocols for collecting rare and invasive plant surveys
      • Collect field data using Field Maps app on tablet device
      • Track and report weekly survey progress; track survey locations on topo maps or use GPS apps such as Avenza
      • Follow all safety measures outlined in Job Hazard Analysis, and follow check-in and out procedures with supervisor and district.
    • Support and assist seasonal Arizona Conservation Corps botany crew
      • Essential Functions and Responsibilities:
        • Assist and participate in yearly skills training for seasonal botany crew
        • Provide in-the-field training on data collection using Field Maps, survey methods using Avenza (survey tracks), species identification of target species (invasive species focused), safety protocols, and check-in/check-out procedures
        • Oversee survey schedule and progress, and report to Forest Botanist
      • Assist with rare plant monitoring at treatment areas for timber and fire
        • Essential Functions and Responsibilities:
          • Use established data collection protocols
          • Collect vegetation and fuels data at established plots
          • Enter field data into MS Excel or Access database


Minimum Requirements:

  • Knowledge of the basic methods, techniques, and procedures necessary to conduct plant species inventories, surveys, and monitoring.
  • Ability to follow established survey and monitoring protocols and maintain accurate records with minimal data entry errors.
  • Ability to identify plants during field inventories and to confirm species identification utilizing dichotomous keys and other botanical resources (species treatments, floras, review of herbarium specimens, etc.).
  • B.S. degree in plant biology or related field
  • Excellent organizational communication skills, ability to work both independently and with others to meet project objectives and deadlines, keeps to established schedule for surveys and communicates progress and challenges to supervisor.
  • Physically able to work regular and recurring physical exertion during fieldwork that may be moderately strenuous in nature, including long hours in the field (10-12 hour days at times), hiking over rough and uneven ground, exposure to high temperatures during the summer, recuring bending or crouching or stooping. Occasional overnight camping in wilderness areas may be required at times.
  • Follows all FS safety requirements including check-in and check-out procedures during fieldwork
  • Possesses a good driving record and ability to drive a 4-wheel vehicle on difficult roads.
  • Driver’s License and ability to pass MVR through Conservation Legacy (must be over 21 years old or have had a license for 3 years)


 Preferred Qualifications:

  • Experience surveying and monitoring rare and sensitive plant species.
  • Knowledge of Arizona flora and special status or rare plant species is sufficient to locate species during vegetation inventories or monitoring.
  • Skills in technical writing and public speaking sufficient to complete written or verbal reports
  • Leadership skills; ability to train others and lead by example
  • Past employment experience with land management agencies surveying and monitoring at-risk plant species
  • Knowledge of policies and laws pertaining to at-risk plant species.
  • M.S. degree in plant biology or related field.
  • Experience working with GIS software; accessing data, creating layers, exporting data, conducting geo-spatial analyses, and producing maps
  • Technical proficiencies in data collection methods, including using digital tablets or other electronic devices, making any necessary updates to datasheets in Microsoft Word, Excel, or other software


  • $18.75/hr (pre-tax)
  • $1000/month housing allowance (pre-tax)
  • $50/monthly commuting reimbursement. (pre-tax)
  • $2750.00 Professional Development and Training fund.
  • Training:
    • Support for accessing the forest TESP database, reports, or other data will be provided by the Forest Botanist.
    • GIS support and training will be provided by the Forest Botanist or FS GIS Specialists
    • In-the-field training on species identification
    • Training on identifying plants using local flora manuals, access to Tonto Herbarium for referencing specimens or confirming identification
    • FS Field Maps training and support offered by Forest Botanists and GIS Specialists
    • FS protocols and other protocols established by the Forest Botanist



Term Schedule:

The typical schedule will be 8- or 10-hour days Monday – Friday. Schedule flexibility is beneficial so that the individual can join opportunities to accompany the agency heritage professionals. Participants can expect a mix of field and office days during the week. Teleworking opportunities may be available.


*The USFS Resource Assistant Program (RAP) is a rigorous, immersive, paid internship providing developmental and training opportunities for individuals interested in learning more about Forest Service careers. After completing a minimum of 960 hours of satisfactory work and an associate degree, RA’s may acquire a two-year certificate of non-competitive hiring eligibility. The certificate enables participants to apply to internal merit announcements for qualifying permanent General Schedule FS positions as well as a Direct Hire Authority for FS Career positions.

 Stewards Individual Placements Program does not and will not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, gender, gender expression, age, national origin, disability, marital status, sexual orientation, or military status, in any of its activities or operations. We are committed to providing an inclusive and welcoming environment for all.

This position is located in Payson, AZ. View the Google Map in full screen.