Img: NE Nevada Range land.
After hundreds of failed job applications and millions of revisions of my cover letter methods and resumes, I finally landed a job as an Invasive Plant Technician.
The job was with the Eastern Nevada Landscape Coalition in Elko, NV. At the time, I hardly had a though about Nevada as a place that exists in the world, but it is now one of my favorite places that I have been to! There’s hot springs, hundreds of mountain ranges, lots of wildlife, and forests of big sage and rabbit brush. Each range looks drab and monotonous from a distance, but once investigated, each one proved to have a unique community of life.
My responsibilities for this position was to help monitor and “control” invasive and noxious plant species. If you don’t know much about invasives, they can be nasty little buggers and degrade a habitat of its biodiversity in a matter of a couple of years. I would say that most of them that make the list as noxious or invasive, is a political objective for ranchers to maximize the amount of productive range land. Herbicide use is pretty nasty stuff and is very often grossly over used, but with a couple of species of plants it is the only effective method.
We worked 4 tens, which means 4 ten hour days, the pay was great, and a three day weekend allowed for exploring the west. I spent time in Idaho, Oregon, Nevada, and Utah; I visited national parks, state parks, forests, and BLM range.
This job and the people I worked with created a deeper hunger to work on conservation projects and to learn more and more about the natural world. Identifying plant life became a hobby of mine that started here and I continue to do it on hikes and almost anytime spent outdoors.
Since most of us want to do some sort of field research, it becomes a priority for most hiring organizations to require some time worked in the field, this can be tough to achieve (like I said they want field work experience). It may not be a great method to get your foot in the door for some, but it is a place to gain experience that usually doesn’t have any hardlined requirements, besides some grit, gotta have grit.
The camaraderie of working with people who are all interested in conserving biodiversity ethical behavior, and living sustainable lives was very refreshing, escpecially when compared to the sort of people you work with at retail stores! I still keep in contact with a few of them, and miss them all lots.