Invasive Species Project Steward

Expected Dates
January 22, 2018 to November 16, 2018
Site
Minnewaska State Park Preserve NYS OPRHP
Position ID
PO-00724398
SCA Hudson Valley AmeriCorps partners with State and non-profit agencies to address the conservation needs of the Hudson River Watershed region. Corps members are placed at individual host sites, where service activities range from providing environmental education to underserved youth, to restoring streambanks along the Hudson River, and beyond. Members join together regularly for trainings, service projects, or other events. 

Purpose of the Program:
The Invasive Species Team (IS Team), as part of the Division of Environmental Stewardship and Planning (ESP) within the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation (OPRHP), works to assist in the responsible stewardship of our natural resources throughout the New York State Park system.  The IS Team directs the control of invasive species with a focus on the protection of rare, threatened or endangered species. 
 
The IS Team is led by two Project Coordinators and has dual components:
1) Two 4-person Strike Teams that survey, monitor and complete mechanical removal of terrestrial invasive plants.  Teams operate on week-long projects proposed and supervised by regional biologists. 
2) Two 2-person teams of Forest Health Specialists that survey and monitor for forest pests and pathogens including but not limited to Emerald Ash Borer, Hemlock Wooly Adelgid, Southern Pine Beatle and Oak Wilt.  Forest Health Specialists work to collect data on forests in priority park lands with an emphasis on lands previously treated for pests.  Forest Health Specialists highlight early detection of emerging threats to forest health.
 
Community Needs that the Program Serves:
Invasive species are non-native species that can cause harm to the environment, the economy or to human health.  Invasive species threaten nearly every aspect of our world and are one of the greatest threats to New York’s biodiversity.  They have changed the way our natural areas look, feel, and function.  They cause or can contribute to habitat degradation and loss, the loss of native species of flora and fauna, loss of recreational opportunities and income and even threaten our food supply and drinking water.  The cost of invasive species on the United States has been estimated at as much as $120 billion in damages every year.  The IS Team works to identify, monitor, control and/or eradicate invasive species throughout New York State Parks.
 
AmeriCorps Member Duties and Responsibilities:
The member will receive a thorough introduction to the invasive plants and insects that can be found in New York State. They will gain hands-on experience in the world of invasive species management, and will be able to participate in all aspects of management – from education and outreach, to hands-on control and monitoring, to the development of guidance documents to assist in invasive species identification and control.
 
During the winter and throughout the term, the member will primarily be responsible for several priority projects including, but not limited to: the compilation, organization and analysis of data from previous years’ invasive species removal projects, the development of documents, manuals and reports to be used by Invasive Species Team staff, and the development of invasive species fact sheets.  (40%)
 
The member will also have the opportunity to participate in educational outreach activities, such as leading volunteer surveys for invasive forest pests and environmental education programs. (5%)
 
During the spring/summer field season, the member will be able to participate in the Invasive Species Strike Teams’ and Forest Health Specialists’ training programs. This will give them a good introduction to the identification and control of the invasive plant species and invasive forest pests/pathogens that are currently threatening New York State Parks. They will also receive formal training in iMap – the online database which is used by many organizations throughout New York State to track and monitor infestations.
 
Throughout the field season, the member will be able to gain hands-on experience in the field of invasive species management. They will assist NYS OPRHP’s Invasive Species Strike Teams in invasive species removal projects throughout eastern New York. They will also have the opportunity to assist Forest Health Specialists with their survey/monitoring efforts, and will be able to support and assist with tree climbing operations for the purpose of collecting samples to be analyzed for the presence of various forest pests. (40%)
 
Participate in SCA trainings, service projects and other member development events. (15%)
 
How the AmeriCorps Member’s Role Aligns with the Organization:
The member will play an integral role with the IS Team, supporting the Project Coordinators in the overall management of invasive species in state parks as well as working closely with the Strike Teams and Forest Health Specialists, increasing the direct impact the program can have protecting the natural resources within state parks. 
 
Performance Goals for the AmeriCorps Member:
Goal 1: Directly improve lands through the mechanical removal of terrestrial invasive plants working alongside Strike Teams throughout NY State Parks.
 
Goal 2: Survey NY State Parks for forest pests working with Forest Health Specialists to identify new infestations and monitor existing as well as previously treated infestations. 
 
Goal 3: Deliver environmental education programs to the public in an effort in increase the awareness and knowledge of invasive species identification, spread and control.   

Required Academic and Experience Qualifications:         
Valid driver’s license
Ability to pass a background check
Experience with GIS is preferred. 

Ability to hike long distances in varying terrain and perform physically demanding work outdoors.

Desire to learn about invasive species identification and management. Some knowledge of invasive species and forest pests common to New York State is desirable, but not required. 

Basic backcountry navigation skills (i.e. ability to navigate off-trail using a map and compass/GPS) are desired, but not required.

Benefits:
  • All Hudson Valley Corps members receive a taxable $200/week living allowance and EITHER housing provided OR a taxable $550/month housing allowance for positions north of NYC metro area OR $750/month housing allowance for positions in NYC metro area.
  • 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

Training Opportunities:
All Hudson Valley Corps members receive Wilderness First Aid, CPR, Hudson River Citizen Science curricula, Trail Skills, Project WET, Project WILD and Project Learning Tree curricula, and professional development. Optional trainings include Leave No Trace, American Canoe Association Level 1, and other opportunities that arise. 

  • No
Main Area of Focus
Natural Resources Mgmt
Education, Training & Skills Expected
Biology
some coursework or experience
Forestry
some coursework or experience
Ecology & Restoration
some coursework or experience
Leadership Experience
competent with supervision
Plant Identification
some experience
Public Speaking
some experience
Writing/Publishing
some experience
Volunteer Coordination
some experience
Working with Children
competent without supervision