Grassland Seed Mapping/Evaluation Crew Member (Ordway Prairie Preserve, SD)

Expected Dates
June 22, 2020 to September 6, 2020
The Nature Conservancy South Dakota
Position ID

Contribute to a ground-breaking project to enhance the climate-adaptation of the iconic northern Great Plains grasslands. This position working with The Nature Conservancy in South Dakota will experience the beauty of some of the highest quality native prairie remaining while also meaningfully contributing to climate-adapted restoration. The prairies of central South Dakota are part of the Prairie Pothole Region, which is critical for waterfowl, shorebirds, and carbon sequestration. Over 50% of the North American duck population is produced in this region. The goal of this project is to develop resources that will enhance the genetic and species diversity of grassland restorations for this region while also collecting seed to begin to implement those restorations. The intern will play a crucial role by mapping seed sources and collecting seed.

Duties Include:

-Using handheld GPS units or tablet to map large populations of key floral species (30%).

-Vegetation surveys to evaluate restoration and establishment success (50%).

-Hand harvest of seed from mapped seed sources (10%).

-Data management and entry (10%).

Interns will work on a crew of 3 people in the field on a daily basis. The crew will be led by a botanist to assist with and teach plant ID in the field for mapping and seed collection. The work week will be 5 days a week and 8-hour days. The position will often require working in variable weather conditions and at remote locations. Prior experience with plant identification is a plus, and training will be provided. Strong organizational skills and attention to detail are important.  Self-motivation, the desire to learn, and the desire to work outside are the most essential qualifications. This position provides an excellent opportunity to enhance botanical skills and experience first-hand the unique beauty of the biodiversity of the northern prairies.

This position provides:
- $125 weekly Living Allowance
- $650 one-time round trip Travel Allowance
- Housing on-site
- AmeriCorps education award (dependent on availability at the time of candidate selection)

Before an applicant to this position can begin their term of service, they must complete and pass a two part background check which is comprised of: the NSOPW, and an FBI fingerprint check. Specific instructions on how to complete this requirement will be provided upon official offer. 

  • The Missouri Coteau in South Dakota is an incredible mix of hilly native prairie interspersed with numerous seasonal and ephemeral wetlands creating high biodiversity in the region. The intern will be housed in the heart of this landscape on The Nature Conservancy’s (TNC) Ordway Prairie Preserve (west of Leola, South Dakota), which is home to TNC’s first bison herd. The seed source mapping and collection crew will be based at the preserve and will travel around the landscape to identify numerous sources for seed collection of key floral species.
  • The intern will receive training in the first week including: safety, plant identification, data management and organization, and seed collection techniques. Plant identification skills are welcome coming into the position, and training will be provided.
  • The Missouri Coteau in South Dakota is a breathtaking landscape in the summer with the multitude of wildlife. Recreationally, the Missouri Coteau provides many opportunities for fishing and bird watching.
Main Area of Focus
Natural Resources Mgmt
Education, Training & Skills Expected
some coursework or experience
Resource Management
some coursework or experience
Field Research
competent with supervision
competent without supervision
Plant Identification
competent with supervision