Conservation and Land Management (CLM) Intern-RMRS Rapid City
Glencoe, IL 
Posted 4 days ago
Job/Internship Description

Title: Conservation and Land Management (CLM) Intern-RMRS Rapid City

Exemption Status: Non-Exempt

Department: Plant Science and Conservation

Reports to: Manager, Conservation Training Programs

Seasonal Full-time

Position Overview: The Rocky Mountain Research Station (RMRS), in cooperation with the Chicago Botanic Garden, is recruiting one (1) CLM Intern, Grassland Plant Ecology. This intern will be based at the Rapid City, South Dakota, office of RMRS and will work on Buffalo Gap National Grassland, which is administered by the U.S. Forest Service (USFS). This position is funded for 18 weeks with an ideal start date of May 13, 2024.

This position will assist RMRS staff with conducting field measurements for a drought and climate change study in the Northern Great Plains. The research study is designed to give land managers and scientists a better understanding of northern mixed-grass prairie plant response to seasonal and extreme drought in the context of grazing. In support of this mission, this intern will collect plant species composition, demography, and biomass data, as well as maintain mowing treatments and rainout shelter infrastructure. As this project is a collaboration among RMRS, the U.S. Geological Survey, and Colorado State University, this intern will interact with scientists specializing in a variety of plant ecology topics.

This position will work as part of the Maintaining Resilient Dryland Ecosystems program and thus may occasionally work in sagebrush and sagebrush-associated habitats. In addition to the drought project, this position may assist with additional projects as opportunities arise, such as fieldwork helping assess invasive annual brome germination rates. A typical work week will consist of four 10-hour days. Initially, this intern will work together with the assistance of the lead scientist or an experienced technician, but may work more independently as the season progresses.


  • Identifies grassland plants to the species level
  • Uses botanical key to identify plants encountered during fieldwork
  • Measures plant community (cover, density) and demographic traits (stem development, leaf length, etc.)
  • Clips biomass to measure grassland productivity
  • Monitors and maintains field site infrastructure, including rainout shelters and weather and soil moisture data loggers
  • Collects belowground plant specimens from the field and prepares them for laboratory dissection
  • Records data electronically and on paper data forms
  • Enters field data into electronic format and checks data for quality control
  • Reports accomplishments and provides recommendations for program improvements, priorities, and future projects
  • Participates in trainings provided by USFS staff and partners
  • Meets with Host Site (RMRS) Supervisor on a regular basis
  • Reads background literature and protocols to assist with research projects
  • Helps maintain and organize lab equipment
  • Submits monthly blog posts to the CLM Blog

Chicago Botanic Garden Values & Behaviors:


As an organization, we...


As an organization, we...

Prioritize a culture of GROWTH.

We commit to remaining curious in how we approach our work.

  • Create and maintain spaces for learning.
  • Test new ideas and are willing to take risks to achieve our vision.
  • Collaborate to strengthen our skills and impact.
  • Demonstrate perseverance and humility as we work toward our long-term impact.


We seek to understand others from their perspective.

  • Provide opportunities for input and feedback from others.
  • Actively listen to all points of view.
  • Consider individuals' lived experiences.
  • Advocate for and protect time for reflection especially during times of conflict or confusion.

See one another through a lens of RESILIENCE.

We believe that all individuals can experience good outcomes with support.

  • Give others the space to balance work and personal needs.
  • Support others and demonstrate empathy especially during challenging and stressful times.
  • Seek opportunities to learn from and about one another.
  • Ask questions about and anticipate the needs of others.


We hold ourselves and others accountable by centering decision making that honors all people.

  • Communicate information in a timely manner.
  • Provide clarity in complex situations with the goal of common understanding.
  • Discuss both positive and negative outcomes openly.
  • Evaluate the impacts of our actions.


The ideal candidate will have the following:

  • Bachelor of science in Botany, Natural Resources Management, Ecology, Biology, or a related field
  • Experience keying out herbaceous plant species using a dichotomous key
  • Experience following data collection protocols for biological fieldwork
  • Experience maintaining accurate and detailed data records (in field and in electronic databases-Excel/Access)
  • Capable of conducting fieldwork safely in rough terrain in harsh environmental conditions
  • Experience hiking and camping, and the willingness to do so for this position
  • Experience driving large field vehicles with four-wheel drive; driving on gravel and dirt roads
  • Wilderness First Aid or other field safety training
  • Excellent organization and communication skills
  • Flexibility and ability to adapt to changes in work plans and schedule
  • Self-starter, independent worker, able to learn quickly and adapt to challenges

Physical Demands:

Fieldwork entails long periods of driving in remote locations coupled with cross-country hiking and standing, sitting, or kneeling on uneven terrain for most of the day. Weather extremes will vary from cold winds or rain in the spring to temperatures over 100 degrees Fahrenheit in the summer, with little to no shade.

The use of computers, digital cameras, and four-wheel drive vehicles are essential parts of the job. There will be limited overnight travel but most overnight accommodations while in the field will be a combination of primitive camping, established campgrounds, and hotel stays, depending on travel logistics and availability. Incumbents must also be willing to spend days at a time working at a computer during periods of data entry and analysis.

Incumbents should also be able to do the following activities:

  • Lift up to 30 to 50 pounds of material or equipment
  • Bend, lift, pull, and push
  • Crouch, stoop, kneel, stand, or bend for long periods of time
  • Walk for long periods of time on uneven surfaces carrying equipment
  • Be outside in extreme heat or cold (depending upon the season)
  • Work for 8 to 11 hours while in the field

To Apply:

Complete an application online. Your application should include a Chicago Botanic Garden application along with a cover letter, resume, and the names of three (3) professional references. Application materials should be addressed to Monica Depies, CLM program coordinator, Chicago Botanic Garden. Questions about the position should be directed to Monica Depies at

In your cover letter, be sure to address your interest in the position and how you meet the qualifications outlined in the position description.

Why Apply?
Come work in a setting that is like no other as you support our mission: We cultivate the power of plants to sustain and enrich life. Take the first step toward being one of the employees who make the Garden one of the treasures of the Forest Preserves of Cook County. Apply today. Please note that applicants who do not meet the required qualifications will not be considered.

We are an Equal Opportunity Employer and do not discriminate against any employee or applicant for employment because of race, color, sex, age, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, status as a veteran, or basis of disability, or any other federal, state, or local protected class.

Disclaimer: The above statements are intended to describe the general nature and level of work being performed by people assigned to this classification. They are not intended to be an exhaustive list of all responsibilities and qualifications required of personnel so classified.

In accordance with Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1972, Chicago Botanic Garden does not discriminate on the basis of sex in its programs or activities, including in employment or admissions. Please call (847) 835-8264 to contact our Title IX coordinator should you have questions or concerns. Please do not call this number to inquire about job postings or the status of your application, or with solicitations from companies or third-party recruiters.

Equal Opportunity Employer of Minorities, Females, Protected Veterans, and Individual with Disabilities


Position Summary
Start Date
As soon as possible
Employment Type
Full Time
Period of Employment
Type of Compensation
College Credits Earned
Tuition Assistance
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