Stewardship Technician

Expected Dates
April 19, 2021 to October 3, 2021
Tifft Nature Preserve
Position ID
Tifft Nature Preserve is a 264 acre nature preserve, owned by the City of Buffalo and operated by the Buffalo Society of Natural Sciences. Situated near the Buffalo River and surrounded by industry, the property itself was once an industrial site, serving as a transshipment facility for the Lehigh Valley Railroad. In 1976, it was dedicated as a nature preserve by the City of Buffalo, thanks to many committed citizens who visited the property for years to view its unique flora and fauna - particularly its high diversity of spring migratory birds. Today, the preserve includes a diversity of habitats, including a 75 acre cattail marsh, several ponds, upland woodlands, and grasslands.

The preserve is widely celebrated in Western New York for its industrial heritage and the reclamation of nature that followed. Tifft Nature Preserve is a popular and accessible destination for Buffalo and surrounding communities, and provides a wide array of environmental education programs for local schools and the general public.

Over several decades, the establishment of invasive species, and high populations of deer, geese, and beaver have slowly degraded the health and quality of natural communities at Tifft Nature Preserve. In response, The Buffalo Society of Natural Sciences has been dedicated to ecological management at Tifft Nature Preserve, its “living collection,” to improve habitat, species diversity, and ecological function.

The Buffalo Society of Natural Sciences is seeking a hard-working intern to assist with stewardship of Tifft Nature Preserve, including ecological restoration, land management, and preserve maintenance tasks. This position will be primarily focused on the ecological restoration of 14 acres of forested wetland, including clearing invasive common buckthorn, planting native trees and shrubs, broadcast seeding, vegetation and invertebrate sampling and monitoring, seed collection, and tending a small nursery.

Essential Functions
  • Plant, water, and tend trees and shrubs of several native species, according to specifications in a planting plan (April - September)
  • Control herbaceous invasive plant species as necessary (manual and mechanical)
  • Erect herbivore exclusion/deterrent structures, including fencing and twine grids
  • Tend and help establish a small native plant nursery
  • Collect, clean, and prepare native seed (August - September)
  • Maintain and install preserve infrastructure, including signage, kiosks, fencing, and boardwalks
  • Assist with vegetation and wildlife surveys, collect data on invasive species control efforts and monitor ecological restoration projects
  • Work alongside and oversee stewardship volunteers
  • Maintain and inventory tools and equipment required to perform the above functions

Required Skills and Experience

  • Minimum of Bachelor’s degree in the physical or natural sciences
  • Desire to work in the field of conservation, land management, and/or ecology
  • Experience performing physical labor outdoors (agriculture, landscaping, construction, etc.)
  • Experience operating small engines, and land management equipment including chainsaws, brushcutters, hedge trimmers, power trimmers, or pumps
  • Excellent record-keeping and organizational skills
  • Ability to work as part of a team, and to follow instructions with attention to detail
  • Ability to work independently and to solve problems with limited resources
  • Willingness to work in inclement weather and on rough terrain

Desired Skills and Experience

  • Field experience in land management or ecology
  • Horticultural experience, including plant propagation and care
  • Chainsaw training and certification
  • Ability to easily identify common Western New York plants and animals
  • Experience with vegetation and wildlife survey methodology, or with other types of field data collection
  • Basic knowledge of the plants, animals, and natural communities of Western New York
  • Basic carpentry skills

This position is physically demanding. Candidates should be able to work outdoors in all weather conditions, lift heavy items up to 40lbs, and handle living specimens. Most work days involve walking, standing, stooping, or bending over for extended periods of time.

Selected members for this position MUST enroll in the AmeriCorps Education Award program.  Health Insurance is not offered as a benefit for this position.

*All Allowances subject to state, local and federal taxes.*

Tag: SCA1957

  • Tifft Nature Preserve consists of 264 acres of natural area on Buffalo’s outer harbor, located just three miles from downtown Buffalo. The preserve is frequently visited by a diverse group of people from the surrounding community, including anglers, birdwatchers, and photographers. A visitors center is open to the public regularly and houses staff offices. A separate maintenance building houses equipment and supplies for preserve stewardship and management.
  • - Plant identification
    - Vegetation sampling methods
    - General nature preserve management
  • The City of Buffalo offers myriad recreational opportunities. Nearby outdoor recreation opportunities include kayaking the Buffalo River, cycling the Niagara River Greenway shoreline trail, and visiting an number of nearby nature preserves.
  • No
Main Area of Focus
Natural Resources Mgmt
Education, Training & Skills Expected
some coursework or experience
some coursework or experience
Resource Management
some coursework or experience
Field Research
some experience
Hand Tools
competent without supervision
Plant Identification
some experience
Trail Maintenance
some experience
Volunteer Coordination
competent with supervision