Hemlock Preservation Program Steward

Expected Dates
January 20, 2022 to November 17, 2022
Site
Finger Lakes State Parks, NYS OPRHP
Position ID
PO-00732571
Conditions of Employment Required to demonstrate full vaccination status for Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) with a Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authorized or FDA-approved COVID-19 vaccine; OR Receive from SCA a reasonable accommodation granting an exemption from vaccine requirements based on a medical disability or because of a sincerely held religious belief. Additional information and instructions regarding how to request a reasonable accommodation will be provided at the time of selection.

SCA and New York State Parks seek enthusiastic conservationists to provide critical environmental education and stewardship for State Parks in the Allegany, Finger Lakes, Central, Niagara, and Thousand Islands regions of New York State. Members share housing in groups of 3-5 members per location. Service activities range from providing environmental education and interpretation, to trail restoration, wildlife management, and organizing volunteer events. (**See Covid caveat below for potential exceptions to 2022 events) All 21 Parks Corps members will join together regularly in Central NY for SCA trainings that include Wilderness First Aid Certification, CPR, Leave No Trace Trainer, and other professional development opportunities as they arise. Members serving in a stewardship role will also receive Game of Logging Chainsaw Certification, while members serving in an education role will receive Project Learning Tree and/or Certified Interpretive Guide. The mission of the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation is to provide safe and enjoyable recreational and interpretive opportunities for all New York State residents and visitors and to be responsible stewards of our valuable natural, historic and cultural resources. NYS Parks Corps members serve under the direction of regional Parks staff to assist in accomplishing this mission.  

** Due to Covid-19, events and trainings are subject to change in response to an increase in the number of cases in the state of NY. Specific duties aligned with this position may also be subject to change. Such changes include, but are not limited to: trainings being eliminated or held remotely, elimination of large-scale gatherings, reduction of education programs, and a transition to teleworking.

This position requires that you become enrolled in AmeriCorps.  If you are selected for this program please be sure to accept AmeriCorps during the SCA offer process.  No travel allowance will be offered for this position even if it is stated on your confirmation of acceptance
.

SCA NYS Parks Corps Overview: The SCA New York State Parks Corps covers five regions of New York State: Allegany, Central, Finger Lakes, Niagara, and Thousand Islands. Corps members are placed at one of these host sites and serve at the state parks in their region. Service activities range from providing environmental education and interpretation, to trail restoration and volunteer initiatives. Members join together regularly for trainings, service projects, or other community events.  The mission of the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation is to provide safe and enjoyable recreational and interpretive opportunities for all New York State residents and visitors and to be responsible stewards of our valuable natural, historic and cultural resources.


How the AmeriCorps Member’s Role Aligns with the Organization: The Mission of the Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation is to provide safe and enjoyable recreation and interpretive opportunities for all New York State residents and visitors and to be responsible stewards of our valuable natural, historic and cultural resources AmeriCorps member will be involved in all part of the agency mission. They will be providing informal interpretation about the importance of preserving our eastern hemlocks and impacts from forest pests, help staff prepare treatment areas, and participate in a variety of stewardship activities that will protect and enhance our natural, historical and cultural resources.

Purpose of the Program:  The objective of the Hemlock Preservation Program is to preserve and maintain Hemlock stands throughout NYS Parks. The program aims to mitigate damages to hemlocks caused by infestations of the hemlock wooly adelgid (HWA).The Hemlock Program intern will assist with regional efforts to preserve forest and riparian habitat, specifically through preservation of eastern hemlock (Tsuga canadensis) in context of hemlock woolly adelgid infestation in the Finger Lakes State Parks. Activities include but are not limited to working with a team to collect data and map infestations in the field, assist Park staff with chemical treatments, communicate with park staff, visitors, and volunteers, and develop useable maps and reports. Additionally, the intern will often be responsible for the organization of treatment days from start to finish. The intern will be expected to be comfortable either applying or being adjacent to chemical treatments while following strict Health and Safety guidelines. While monitoring hemlock decline through regional parks, the intern is expected to represent the program. This position is heavily fieldwork focused, the intern will be working in inclement conditions and on steep slopes. Some office work will also be necessary to input and process data.

Community Needs that the Program Serves: Natural communities dominated by Eastern hemlock (Tsuga canadensis) are some of the most significant habitat and biodiversity areas in the Finger Lakes Region of New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation (OPRHP). The iconic Finger Lakes gorges are lined with hemlock forest, which preserves the unique habitat within the gorges and contributes to the appeal of these highly-visited areas. Regionally, these hemlock gorges provide countless ecological services to fortify the greater Lake Ontario watershed. Hemlock forests help protect waterways against nutrient and sediment loading, create a unique micro-ecosystem, and provide habitat for rare and native species of interest to the watershed. The introduction and progression of the invasive hemlock woolly adelgid (Adelges tsugae) in hemlock forests is poised to permanently damage this habitat and alter the public’s experience visiting some of our iconic vistas. The hemlock woolly adelgid (HWA) is a non-native insect unintentionally introduced from Japan in the 1950s. In its native Asian distribution, HWA is not a pest due to population control from native predators. In general, large-scale hemlock mortality has the potential to increase erosion and nutrient runoff into streams, decrease riparian habitat quality and diversity, and threaten park patron safety with the possibility of falling trees and destabilized trails. Hemlock Woolly Adelgid (HWA) was first detected in the Finger Lakes Region in 2008, and is known to kill hemlocks in the northeast within 8-12 years of infestation. This puts most of the hemlock stands in the Finger Lakes Region’s State Parks in very close proximity to death, and mortality is already occurring locally in the stands where HWA was first found. The Hemlock Preservation Program Intern will be instrumental in enhancing the park patron relationship in understanding the threats to our hemlock forests and what NYS Parks is doing. The intern will also actively participate in preservation practices that will protect our hemlock forests throughout the Finger Lakes region.


AmeriCorps Member Duties and Responsibilities:
  • Conduct pre-and post-treatment monitoring of hemlocks to quantify new growth and adelgid density.
  • Assist with benthic macroinvertebrate surveys in streams adjacent to hemlock forest.
  • Prepare areas prior to chemical treatment, including tagging trees, mapping treatment areas, and carrying water to be staged within treatment areas.
  • Candidate should be willing to become a Licensed Pesticide Apprentice, and to apply chemical treatments alongside a Certified Applicator and other certified staff for the preservation of hemlock forests.
  • Candidate should be comfortable either applying chemicals or working adjacent to chemicals.
  • Communicate with park staff and partners about logistics and work plans.
  • Ability to articulate hemlock preservation needs through education and outreach.
  • Process and input data collected in field to create maps, spreadsheets, and reports.
  • Able to collaborate with partners to plan for future biocontrol of HWA; Finger Lakes Prism and New York State Hemlock Initiative.
  • Member may work with FORCES (Friends of Recreation, Conservation and Environmental Stewardship) and Three Gorges Stewardship Corps on a variety of projects and initiatives including but not limited to Spotted Lanternfly, Oak Wilt, Beech Leaf disease, and salamander surveys, mapping projects, trail work, and volunteer coordination.
  • Member might also be asked to help staff large events in the region such as I Love My Park Day and Earth Day events (COVID-19 permitting)
  • Work conditions include uneven terrain, heat, cold, rain, and frequent exposure to poison ivy, thorns, ticks, wild parsnip, and biting insects. Additionally, some days may extend past normal work hours but will not exceed the typical work week hours.
  • All SCA Parks Corps members are required to attend monthly SCA events and complete SCA/Americorps paperwork and reporting. This will account for roughly 15% of your time.

Performance Goals:

  1. Goal 1: Enhance surveying, monitoring, GIS, and interpretive skill sets no matter the level of the members experience.
  2. Goal 2: Identify and gain experience/skills valuable to individual’s personal and professional development
  3. Goal 3: Complete the term of service and emerge with an in-depth understanding and appreciation for hemlock preservation


Candidate Qualifications:

  • Candidate should be willing to become a Licensed Pesticide Apprentice.
  • Candidate should be comfortable either applying chemicals or working adjacent to chemicals.
  • Ability to communicate with park staff and partners about logistics and work plans.
  • Ability to articulate hemlock preservation needs through education and outreach.
  • Ability to process and input data collected in field to create maps, spreadsheets, and reports.
  • Ability to collaborate with partners to plan for future biocontrol of HWA; Finger Lakes Prism and New York State Hemlock Initiative.
  • Members must be at least 17 years of age at the commencement of service. Members must be a citizen, national, or lawful permanent resident alien of the United States; and must Satisfy the National Service Criminal History Check eligibility criteria pursuant to 45 CFR 2540.202.
  • A person with passion and enthusiasm for sharing the natural world with others.
  • Comfortable with public speaking.
  • Basic knowledge of area natural history (training will be provided).
  • Works well in small groups and individually
  • Comfortable working outdoors and walking 5 miles or more per day.
  • Valid Driver’s License
  • Computer skills-digital design experience is highly desired
  • Be an out-of-school youth 16 years of age at the commencement of service participating in a program described in §2522.110(b)(3) or (g);
  • Have a high school diploma or its equivalent; or
  • Not have dropped out of elementary or secondary school to enroll as an AmeriCorps participant and must agree to obtain a high school diploma or its equivalent prior to using the education award; or
  • Obtain a waiver from the Corporation of the requirements in paragraphs (a)(2)(i) and (a)(2)(ii) of this section based on an independent evaluation secured by the program demonstrating that the individual is not capable of obtaining a high school diploma or its equivalent; or
  • Be enrolled in an institution of higher education on an ability to benefit basis and be considered eligible for funds under section 484 of the Higher Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 1091);
  • Be a citizen, national, or lawful permanent resident alien of the United States;
  • Satisfy the National Service Criminal History Check eligibility criteria pursuant to 45 CFR 2540.202.

Benefits:

  • All NYS Parks Corps members receive a taxable $200/week living allowance and housing provided 
  • Upon successful completion of the term, members receive a taxable Segal Education Award through AmeriCorps
  • Student loan forbearance and interest repayments for federal student loan through AmeriCorps
  • Eligible for free health insurance
  • Eligible for childcare assistance through AmeriCorps


Trainings to be included by NYS Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation:

  • Members will receive AmeriCorps orientation that includes training on prohibited and unallowable activities, an orientation that covers risk management, reporting requirements, and a benefits overview, and Wilderness First Aid and CPR training.
  • Member will be required to complete all NYS season trainings including Internal Controls, NYS Right to Know Law, Sexual Harassment in the Workplace, Prevention of Workplace Violence, Fire Safety and Emergency Evacuation, Cyber Security Information and Security Awareness
  • Any other applicable trainings offered by the Finger Lakes Region.


*Please ignore fit rating/eligibility notes related to this position. All applications received by the deadline will be reviewed.
 

  • No
Main Area of Focus
Natural Resources Mgmt
Education, Training & Skills Expected
Biology
some coursework or experience
Forestry
some coursework or experience
Recreation Management
some coursework or experience
Resource Management
some coursework or experience
Field Research
some experience
Hand Tools
some experience
Plant Identification
some experience
Trail Maintenance
some experience