Native Seed Steward

Jobs Title:
Native Seed Steward

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Program: Pollinator Partnership: Project Wingspan Across Chicagoland
Position: Native Seed Steward (Field position)
Location: Flexible within Greater Chicago Area (Illinois)
Duration: Seasonal
Hours: Part-time flex

Pollinator Partnership (P2) seeks to hire two motivated and conservation-minded Native Seed Stewards (NSS) in the Greater Chicago Area in Illinois. The NSS will make collections of native plant seeds to support habitat enhancement efforts to address the alarming declines in native pollinator populations. Project Wingspan is part of P2’s wider Monarch Wings Across America program (

Program Overview:
Project Wingspan Across Chicagoland (PWAC), is a native plant amplification program to support and increase the quality, quantity, and connectivity of habitat for imperiled native pollinators of the Greater Chicago Wilderness Region, including the monarch butterfly, the endangered rusty patched bumble bee, and many others. The program will address threats of species extirpation due to habitat degradation, fragmentation, and loss by increasing supply of local genotype native plant species that are highly valued and in demand, yet are not commonly available through the native seed and plant market, for habitat enhancement efforts. Seed from targeted species will be collected from key landscapes, grown out in quantity over several years, and then awarded to restoration projects across the Chicago Wilderness Region.

Position Overview:
The Native Seed Stewards (NSS) are contract field positions spanning approximately 7 months, beginning late April or early May 2024 through early November 2024. The NSS(s) will conduct native seed collections, either independently or as a team of two, from a vetted list of highly desired plants as identified by program partners. The positions require the ability to work a flexible monthly schedule due to the nature of flora phenology and associated responsibilities. Collections will occur at sites within the Greater Chicago Wilderness Region.

● Work with PWAC project manager to learn detailed seed collection protocols and provide regular updates regarding scouting and collection activities.
● Coordinate as necessary with program partners at project sites to gain information on approximate locations of viable populations suitable for collection.
● Coordinate as necessary with the other Native Seed Steward.
● Transportation to and from sites (mileage will be reimbursed at the current federal rate).
● Conduct in-field scouting missions during bloom periods.
● Identify flora to species level using various resources, including dichotomous keys.
● Make seed collections during the appropriate time periods as dictated by various species’ phenologies and climate conditions (May through November).
● Ensure that all required population scouting data, GPS location data, seed collection data, and photos are properly recorded, using a self-provided smartphone or tablet.
● Provide suitable location(s) to properly dry seed collections before shipping.

$19.00 for field work hours. Travel time will be paid at half wage ($9.50/hour) in addition to mileage reimbursed at the current federate rate. Total hours estimated to be 48 per month, however, it can be expected that some months will require additional hours and some less.

How to Apply: Interested candidates should submit a resume and cover letter describing why you are a good fit for the position via the following link by Friday April 12th, 2024:
Application notes:
● Attach the resume and cover letter as one combined PDF.
● Please name the attached PDF “Last Name_PW Chicagoland NSS”
● Deadline for applications is Friday, April 12th, 2024.
● An inability to follow the instructions above will result in the application being automatically rejected.

About Pollinator Partnership
Pollinator Partnership (P2) is a not-for-profit organization whose mission is to protect and restore populations of pollinator species. As the world’s largest organization devoted exclusively to the preservation of the birds, bees, butterflies, beetles, and bats, P2 plays a key role in preserving terrestrial ecosystems, promoting agricultural productivity, and enhancing local communities through pollinator-centered work. P2 has been actively supporting the conservation and protection of pollinators throughout North America since 1996. For more information, visit

Our ideal candidate will have the following:
● Flexibility/ability to work varying hours across the project timeline in accordance with the growing season so as to conduct timely scouting events and seed collection activities.
● A degree in botany, plant science, ecology, restoration ecology, or a related field; Or a minimum of 3 years’ experience identifying Midwest native plants in the field (e.g. native plant monitoring, restoration, seed collection, etc.).
● Strong Midwest plant identification skills (to species) and knowledge of plant taxonomy and plant biology. Familiarity with plants of the Chicagoland Wilderness Region’s prairie and woodland-edge ecosystems.
● Experience using flora ID keys. Experience using dichotomous keys preferred.
● Experience scouting, planning, and conducting seed collections (through Seeds of Success programs, or similar, or other seed handling/collecting work).
● Experience recording accurate and detailed field data records.
● Experience working with federal or state agency, academic, private, or nonprofit partners to coordinate, plan, and execute fieldwork on public or private lands.
● Capability to conduct field work and hike for extended periods in uneven/rough terrain, and in potentially harsh environmental conditions (cold, heat, biting insects, etc.). The ability to carry personal gear, food, and water in addition to flora keys, collection materials, and seed collections weighing up to 15 pounds is expected.
● First aid training preferred.
● Proficiency working with phone apps and/or app-based GIS/GPS tools.

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