Biological Science Technician (Plant Ecologist)
Valles Caldera Trust - Jemez Springs, NM

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Come join the Valles Caldera Trust!

ON THE VALLES CALDERA TRUST: The Valles Caldera Trust (VCT) is a wholly owned government corporation subject to the Government Corporation Control Act. The Trust was created by the Valles Caldera Preservation Act of 2000 to preserve and protect the historic Baca Ranch in the Jemez Mountains in north-central New Mexico. The ground breaking legislation that provided for the federal purchase of this 89,000-acre ranch nestled inside a volcanic caldera also created a unique experiment in public land management. The agency, i.e., the Trust, operates a working ranch, as well as a variety of other agricultural, educational, recreational, and scientific operations in a dynamic developing enterprise.

The Biological Science Technician supports scientific inventory and monitoring work on forest and range plant ecology during the field season. The technician conducts a full range of technical support and field work, under the supervision of the Director of Scientific Services Division and his staff.
  • U. S. Citizenship required.
  • See "Background Investigations" under "Key Requirements".

DUTIES: Plant Management Support: Individually, or as a crewmember or leader, conducts botanical projects. Conducts surveys for vascular and non-vascular plants including lichens, bryophytes and fungi. Inventories vascular and non-vascular plants and their habitats. In a research environment, duties include collecting vegetation data, including identifying species, measuring individual plant characteristics, estimating plant cover, and measuring plant biomass. Follows accepted procedures normally used when identifying plants, plant communities, and conducting vegetation surveys. Uses botanical keys to identify unfamiliar plants encountered in the field. Collects and compiles ecological data; analyzes information; prepares summary reports; assembles information for development of botany management plans; and coordinates botany needs for environment analysis and watershed analysis reports.
Biological Sciences Data Support: Conducts the full range of technical support work, including conducting complicated tests, following standard procedures. Collects and analyzes data using methods that are well established. Makes procedural readjustments when problems occur, and notes when test results are outside the normal range of tolerance or acceptability. Assignments often contain steps and processes that vary, depending on circumstances of the test. Calibrates, adjusts and operates a variety of complex equipment.

May perform map and aerial photo interpretation tasks and used Electronic distance-measuring equipment (EDME) and/or GPS to locate field sites in remote or difficult terrain. Uses and maintains equipment used in basic forestry practice, such as compasses, clinometers, measuring tapes, diameter tapes, increment borers, wedge prisms, tally sheets, etc.

Chart and Report Preparation for Biological Science Analyses: Keeps comprehensive records and presents findings to supervisor for review and analysis. Assesses the value of the data, and reports on the characteristics and quality of the source of the data. Some interpretation of data is required, and the technician must be able to understand and relate the significance of the results to overall study objectives. Prepares charts and tables to display the data, and presents study results to the supervisor for further review and analysis.

QUALIFICATIONS REQUIRED: Basic Requirements: A candidate must have had one (1) year of specialized experience equivalent to the GS-4 level. Specialized experience is experience that is directly related to the work of the position for which application is made.

Examples of specialized experience include, but are not limited to: Plant quadrat biomass clipping; point-intercept line-transect sampling (identification to species of plants encountered); standard US Forest Service Common Stand Exams; riparian plants surveys; and preparation of vouchers on museum herbarium sheets for long-term archival.


Successful completion of a full 4-year course of study leading to a bachelorÂ’s degree with major study or at least 24 semester hours in a combination of courses such as biology, chemistry, statistics, entomology, animal husbandry, botany, physics, agriculture, or mathematics. At least 6 semester hours of courses must have been directly related to the position to be filled.


A background investigation will be required for this position. Continued employment will be subject to the applicantÂ’s successful completion of a background security investigation and favorable adjudication. Failure to successfully meet these requirements will be grounds for termination.

This job is being filled by an alternative hiring process and is not in the competitive civil service.

Throughout the recruitment and hiring process, we will be communicating with you via email; therefore, it is imperative that the email address you provide when applying for this vacancy remains active. Should your email address change, please notify, Lenda Folks, point of contact identified in the vacancy announcement, as soon as possible so that we can update our system.

Government housing may be available.

HOW YOU WILL BE EVALUATED: Your application will be evaluated and rated under the Valles Caldera's Candidate Rating Procedures. Your resume and supporting documentation will be used to determine whether you meet the job qualifications listed in this announcement. If you are basically qualified for this job, your resume and supporting documentation will be compared to your responses of the knowledge, skills and abilities included in the vacancy announcement. Your application will then be placed in one of three categories: Best Qualified, Highly Qualified, or Qualified. Names of candidates in the best qualified category will be sent to the hiring official for employment consideration. Candidates within the best qualified category who are eligible for veteran preference will receive selection priority over non-veteran preference eligibles.

BENEFITS: You will earn annual vacation leave. Receiving Service Credit for Earning Annual (Vacation) Leave: Federal Employees earn annual leave at a rate (4, 6 or 8 hours per pay period) which is based on the number of years they have served as a Federal employee.
You will earn sick leave.

You will be paid for federal holidays.

OTHER INFORMATION: This job is being filled by an alternative hiring process and is not in the competitive civil service.

Applicants who wish to be notified as to the status of their application will need to provide an e-mail address.

Recommended Optional Form: SF-181 Race and National Origin