Job Announcement

Native Plant Materials Scientist

Position summary

Do you love and know native plants?  Do you have nursery and horticulture experience? Do you have a keen eye for detail, a passion for conservation and a public service ethic?  Are you committed to bringing a racial equity, diversity and inclusion lens to your work? If so you might be Metro’s next Native Plant Materials Scientist (NPMS).
 
Metro’s Science team leads conservation management of a growing 17,000+ acre portfolio of natural areas, nature parks and developed recreation areas. The NPMS’s primary role is to procure plant materials for habitat enhancement projects by contracting with nurseries, overseeing a small nursery, and leading field collection of select species.
 
The ideal applicant will have knowledge of plant materials production, collection and processing, especially in a small scale, low technology setting; know local native plants, ecology and genetics; have strong attention to detail, record-keeping and proven contract or project management skills. They will also have a strong commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion and public service, and be excited to work in a collaborative, fast-paced setting managing public land to improve water quality, wildlife habitat and the visitor experience.
 
About the Parks and Nature Science Team
Part of Metro Parks and Nature’s Conservation Program, the 11 member Science team serves 3 major roles:

  • Leads habitat management of Metro’s Parks and Nature portfolio;
  • Serves as a conservation science resource and collaborator for stakeholders within Metro; 
  • Serves as leaders, members, or advisors of conservation working groups and partnerships with governments, agencies, non-profit organizations and community members.

What will you do as the Native Plant Materials Scientist
The NPMS primary role is to work with Parks and Nature staff to identify plant materials needs and procure those plant materials from Oregon and Washington nurseries. This especially includes contracting for and then tracking and managing the delivery, storage and distribution of 100,000 to 1 million plants and hundreds to thousands of pounds of seed annually from 20 or more regional growers.

For materials not available off the shelf, the NPMS will work with staff to determine the best procurement approach, including: contract production with private nurseries, field collection from Metro sites or production at Metro’s Native Plant Center (NPC). For direct production and field collection, the NPMS will direct the work of the NPC Program Assistant, who implements day to day management of the NPC.
 
Procure plant materials from private industry

  • Work with Metro’s Procurement team to develop and manage contracts, including: organizing development of, posting and reviewing proposals/bids; executing contracts and amendments as required.
  • Work with Metro staff to identify and refine needs and standards for plant materials;
  • Coordinate delivery of materials to Metro; and the distribution and tracking of plant materials to projects; including arranging for short-term cold-storage.
  • Maintain productive relationships with producers; and,
  • Work with Metro Finance to ensure timely payment and good financial recordkeeping, including tracking invoices and payments through our work tracking system.

Collecting plant materials from Parks and Nature or other sites

  • Work with staff to identify species to be collected and appropriate collection sites; 
  • Lead or direct native seed or other plant material collection, including: scouting sites, collecting phenology data, provide data for mapping; training staff, volunteers, and interns.
  • Oversee necessary processing, storage and distribution.

Producing plant materials at the Native Plant Center (Borland Field Station Nursery)

  • Develop and manage all Native Plant Center (NPC) programs and related activities mostly through leading the work of the NPC Program Assistant, who is responsible for most day to day operations of the NPC
    1. Seed amplification for commercial production.
    2. Propagating plant materials for use on restoration projects. 
    3. Overseeing facility operations, maintenance and infrastructure development.
    4. Developing and overseeing volunteer activities consistent with our Racial Equity Diversity and Inclusion Strategic Action Plan.

General

  • Work to advance Metro’s work in racial equity, diversity and inclusion including: personal development, serving on Metro work groups and integrating the REDI Strategic Plan into NPC contracting and operations.
  • Lead Science team work to evolve Metro plant procurement strategy.
  • Use Metro Parks and Nature’s work-tracking database (TerraTrak) to track all work and maintain detailed records outside TerraTrak as necessary.
  • Provide oversight of infrastructure development at the Borland Nursery

Providing conservation science expertise and partnership within Metro

  • Provide botanic and horticultural expertise, including difficult plant identification, to Parks and Nature staff on restoration, park development or park operations in all habitat types.
  • Assist Metro Conservation Program exploration of plant selection in a changing climate. 
  • Develop training, education, and communication materials to further staff and community comprehension of herbaceous species significant to Metro’s conservation targets.
  • Provide botanic and horticultural expertise to Parks and Nature Programs and staff when needed to support community engagement and education efforts.

Providing conservation science expertise and partnership outside Metro

  • Develop, lead or participate in research and partnerships related to improving regional native horticultural practices, native seed conservation and seed banking.
  • Support other scientists in regional plant-related conservation partnerships.
  • Share knowledge with community through conferences, meetings and publications.

Supervision, leadership, partnership within the program 

  • Close partnership with the Land Management Team on plant materials needs and strategy.
  • Assist Planning Team (trails and park development) and Parks Operation staff (site-based issues).
  • The NPMS is the middle tier of a three tier scientist job progression and may lead junior staff, volunteers, interns and contractors in the field.  

All work will be done in a way that fully demonstrates Metro values for public service, integrity and equity.

Traits for Success

  • Attention to detail and demonstrated experience maintaining careful records, preferably using inventory software.
  • Ability to maintain many simultaneous projects
  • Enthusiasm for a combined leadership and service role.
  • Demonstrated knowledge of plant materials production, processing and nursery technology; as well as comfort in working with related machinery and equipment especially in a low volume, low technology setting.
  • Understanding the basic principles of plant ecology and genetics, especially related to maintaining genetic integrity during field production or collection of native species.
  • Proven commitment to personal growth and understanding concepts of racial diversity, equity and inclusion.
  • Experience and willingness to work in both collaborative and independent work settings.
  • Knowledge of or demonstrated ability to learn the flora of our region, including use of technical keys.
  • Basic computer skills: Word, EXCEL, PowerPoint or similar, internet.
  • Ability to obtain and maintain a pesticide applicator license.
  • Ability to lift 30 lbs. 
  • Willingness and ability to work outside in hot, cold or wet conditions for extended periods.
  • Ability to write reports.

Additional Information
Hiring includes a 6 month probationary period, during which time the successful applicant will be expected to demonstrate:

  • Progress towards familiarity with Metro policies and procedures, especially including: 
    1. Use of Parks and Nature’s work tracking database (TerraTrak), 
    2. Contracting for goods and services; and,
    3. Understanding and implementing the Metro-wide and Parks and Nature specific Strategic Plans for Advancing Racial Equity Diversity and Inclusion;
  • Progress in learning about the regional plant production industry and community;
  • Progress in learning our portfolio and PNW ecosystem composition, structure and process.
  • Acquisition of an herbicide applicators license;
  • Strong commitment to Metro values.

Education, skills and required competencies

  • Any combination of education, training and lived experience that provides the equivalent necessary competencies is acceptable. Or,
  • Bachelor’s degree in biology, botany, horticulture or a closely aligned field, and 
  • At least two years of intensive experience in horticulture or nursery practice with a leadership and project management role. 
  • This position requires a valid driver’s license

Preferred skills, competencies and experience

  • Demonstrated experience in developing scopes of work and managing multiple contracts.
  • Basic understanding of restoration practice or natural land management.
  • Experience putting concepts of racial diversity, equity and inclusion concepts into practice in a professional setting.
  • Moderate computer and database skills including: EXCEL, inventory databases, GIS and GPS.
  • Experience developing and directing volunteer and intern projects in the field.
  • Demonstrated ability to lead and mentor junior staff.
  • Experience managing small scale research or working partnerships. 
  • Experience in use of virtual meetings for collaboration.
  • Ability to give public presentations to lay and professional audiences and lead meetings.

At Metro, we strive to hire a workforce representative of the communities we serve, understanding that a diverse workforce strengthens our organization. We value diversity and support a positive and welcoming environment where all of our employees can thrive.

Application requirements: 
1) Application and 2) Answers to supplemental questions.

The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Local 3580 (AFSCME 3580) is the union that represents this position.  The job classification is an Associate Natural Resource Scientist  (Download PDF reader)(click to read the full classification). Classification descriptions are typically written broadly and do not include the specific duties and responsibilities of the positions. The base salary target for this recruitment would bring in candidates at a salary between $69,659.20 – $80,704.00

Work location: In response to COVID-19, work will generally be performed off-site (remote/telework) until it is deemed safe for Metro staff to return to the Metro Regional Center. After that time, work is expected to be performed with a mixture of telecommuting and on-site hours.
 
Working conditions: Duties are performed in an office environment and in the field. This position frequently requires walking on uneven or rough terrain in all weather conditions. This position requires talking (both in person and over the phone), sitting, repetitive motions of the hands/wrists and good general hearing and vision ability. It may also require the ability to lift or carry up to 40 pounds. Incumbents in this position are required to attend offsite meetings during and after normal work hours.

Metro is committed to ensuring the health and safety for our employees and our community. As a part of this commitment, Metro has implemented a vaccine requirement policy for employees, paid and unpaid interns and volunteers. Proof of full COVID-19 vaccination is considered a minimum qualification requirement for Metro job applicants and this proof will be requested during the hiring process. View: Metro COVID-19 Vaccination policy (Download PDF reader) (Download PDF reader)
  

If you require an accommodation under this policy for a medical condition or disability, or sincerely held religious belief, please email benefits.help@oregonmetro.gov
Additional Information

Additional Information Related to COVID-19: The health and safety of our employees and community is a top priority for Metro. Employees will be required to follow all Metro COVID-related policies and procedures, which may meet or exceed guidelines set forth by the CDC, Oregon Health Authority, and other federal, state and local jurisdictions. Learn more at oregonmetro.gov/COVID-19

Diversity and Inclusion:  At Metro, we strive to hire a workforce representative of the communities we serve, understanding that a diverse workforce strengthens our organization. We value diversity and support a positive and welcoming environment where all of our employees can thrive. 

Equal employment opportunity:  All qualified persons will be considered for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, marital status, familial status, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, disability for which a reasonable accommodation can be made or any other status protected by law. Assistance will be gladly provided upon request for any applicant with sensory or non-sensory disabilities.

Online applicationsMetro accepts job applications online. If you need assistance or accommodation with your application, or access to a computer, call 503-797-1570.

Accommodation: Reasonable accommodation is available to anyone whose specific disability prevents them from completing this application or participating in this process. To obtain confidential assistance please contact Human Resources 503-797-1570.

Public Employees Retirement System (PERS): Metro will pay the employee portion of the PERS contribution. 

Veterans’ Preference: Under Oregon Law, qualified veterans may be eligible for veterans’ preference when applying for Metro positions. If you are a veteran and would like to be considered for a veterans’ preference for this job, please provide qualifying documents as instructed during the application process.

Driving check:  A driving check will only be conducted if you are selected as a finalist for a position. If selected as a finalist, you will be contacted by Human Resources prior to the initiation of a driving check on how to complete.