Urban Tree Health Monitoring Project Manager (PM)
Location: New York, NY
Staff Analyst Level 2
New York City, New York
Full Time/Part Time
On behalf of the Sustainability Department of the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA), Cogent Infotech seeks a temporary Urban Tree Health Monitoring Project Manager (PM) to coordinate a collaborative tree health monitoring data collection effort on NYCHA campuses throughout New York City. This data collection effort is being led by three institutions: NYCHA, The USDA Forest Service (USFS), and The Nature Conservancy (TNC). (Please see below for more information on each organization.) Collectively, these institutions will be referred to as the project’s “sponsors.”
This 5-month position will begin on May 1st and end on October 1st, 2020 (start and end dates are negotiable). The PM will be expected to co-develop an implementation plan with the sponsors, oversee the implementation of the plan, and assist with evaluation of the project after data collection efforts are completed. The PM will work closely with nonprofit partners who will provide data collection support and with the New York City Parks Department, which will provide technical assistance. Data collection efforts will also include volunteer engagement with NYCHA residents. See below for additional detail on PM roles and responsibilities.
About Urban Tree Health Monitoring:
The USFS and TNC have been monitoring the health of NYC’s urban street and park trees utilizing a specialized tree health monitoring protocol developed by USFS researchers since 2014. The monitoring protocol includes an evaluation of tree crown health, and a survey of signs of pests and diseases.
Data collected has been used by NYC Parks Department foresters to monitor and maintain and healthy street tree populations, evaluate citizen science training protocols, enhance the data collection instruments and technology designed specifically for this work, and ultimately ensure that NYC residents enjoy the many benefits of the city’s trees for years to come. These data will contribute to the USFS nationwide urban tree health monitoring and early pest detection efforts. By gathering these high-level data across diverse forest ecosystems throughout NYC, conservationists may be able to detect the onset of new tree pest infestations or diseases early enough to prevent widespread urban tree canopy loss which negatively impacts human communities and landscapes.
About the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) Sustainability Programs Department
The New York City Housing Authority's mission is to increase opportunities for low- and moderate-income New Yorkers by providing safe, affordable housing and facilitating access to social and community services. More than 400,000 New Yorkers reside in NYCHA's 326 public housing developments across the City’s five boroughs. NYCHA’s Sustainability Programs team designs and manages sustainability initiatives in areas ranging from water conservation, stormwater management, and waste reduction to renewables and resident-led programs.
About the USDA Forest Service (USFS) and the NYC Urban Field Station
The USDA Forest Service is part of the NYC Urban Field Station (NYC UFS). We aim to improve the quality of life in urban areas by conducting, communicating, and supporting research about social-ecological systems and natural resource management. The NYC UFS is both a physical place
to conduct research, facilitate discussions, and provide housing for visiting researchers, as well as a network of relationships among scientists, land managers, practitioners, artists, community members, and designers. We are sustained through a core partnership between the NYC Department of Parks and Recreation (NYC Parks), the US Department of Agriculture Forest Service (USDA FS), and the non-profit Natural Areas Conservancy (NAC). The NYC UFS is an important part of an evolving network of urban field stations across the country, including Philadelphia, Baltimore, Chicago, San Juan, Los Angeles, and Denver. Since its founding in 2006, the NYC UFS has actively created networks and collaboration with nonprofits, academic institutions, local stewards, the private sector, and government partners to support land management and sustainability initiatives in New York City. Visit https://www.nrs.fs.fed.us/nyc/ to learn more.
About The Nature Conservancy (TNC)
The Nature Conservancy is the leading conservation organization working to make a positive impact around the world in more than 35 countries, all 50 United States, and your backyard. Founded in 1951, the mission of The Nature Conservancy is to conserve the lands and waters on which all life depends. Visit www.nature.org/aboutus to learn more.
The PM’s two primary responsibilities are: 1) to directly train and oversee field crews’ data collection efforts, and 2) serve as the liaison among the sponsors and the field crew and to ensure that the crew carries out its field work effectively and efficiently. (Specific data collection details follow at the end of this section.)
In addition to monitoring and stewardship work, the PM will ensure that the crew carries out data collection, data entry, and reporting protocols. S/he will ensure that the crew reports their methods and findings to sponsors and partners at the end of the field season. S/he will assist the crew in creating and managing their field data collection work plans. S/he may be required need to stay onsite to supervise the crew and will also work with them in an office setting.
This position requires daily outdoor physical labor for extended periods of time in adverse conditions. The PM will directly report to NYCHA staff, with guidance from additional program sponsors. This position will begin on May 1st, 2020 and end on October 1, 2020 (exact start and end dates negotiable). Graduate students and applicants with a youth development background are strongly encouraged to apply.
Essential functions of the PM include:
● Under the direction of project sponsors, s/he will help plan and direct field crews and volunteers on all monitoring, stewardship, and data collection activities.
● PM will be required to train with project sponsors on protocols and methodologies prior to the field crew(s) starting, and complete paid office days after the end of the program to process paperwork and equipment.
● Support day-to-day management of the field crew.
● Strive to create a cohesive functioning data collection team.
● Ensure compliance with NYCHA rules and regulations and work with NYCHA Staff to resolve any issues that arise.
● Serve as a liaison among project sponsors and other collaborating organizations.
● Facilitate weekly team meetings and establish daily/weekly priorities for data collection.
● Maintain tools and field equipment in proper working order, and ensure equipment is available at site in coordination with project sponsors.
● Facilitate communication among crew members, volunteers, and project sponsors and help resolve any problems that may arise among these parties.
● Coordinate data collection location daily.
● Make day-to-day decisions as delegated by project sponsors.
RESPONSIBILITIES & SCOPE
● May lead or monitor work groups consisting of staff, crew members, and volunteers covering a wide geographic area.
● Works under minimal and distant supervision; must make independent decisions based on experience and judgments.
● Requires physical exertion and/or muscular strain.
● Requires long hours in both isolated settings, and public spaces.
● Coordinates data collection effort with several variables, setting realistic deadlines and managing timeframes.
● Resolves routine issues independently, consulting with supervisor to develop plans for resolution of complex and unusual problems.
● Cultivates and develops creative ideas to improve conservation strategies.
● Associate’s/Technical or vocational degree OR a combination of education and experience that is equivalent to such a degree.
● 2 years of experience working with young people ages 18 to 24 (preferably in an urban or outdoor setting)
● Familiarity with NYC geography and public transit system
● Experience supervising staff, students, or volunteers (i.e., leadership role and not simply peer group membership)
● Experience performing physical outdoor work, preferably biological monitoring.
● Experience with tree identification
● Experience operating various types of data collection equipment.
● Experience working in a team environment.
PREFERRED KNOWLEDGE, SKILLS & EXPERIENCE
● Bachelors of Science or pursuing a graduate degree in in environmental studies biology, ecology, natural resources management or related field.
● Ability and willingness to travel long distances by public transportation
● Ability to work on an interdisciplinary team
● Flexibility, strong communication and organizational skills
● Knowledge of current trends and practices in conservation, land management and natural resource preservation.
● Communicating clearly via written, spoken and graphical means in English and other relevant languages
● Demonstrated leadership capability through college or extracurricular activities.
● Experience working with or knowledge of natural systems.
● Ability to perform physical work, sometimes under adverse conditions or in inclement weather.
● Completing tasks independently with respect to timeline(s).
● Managing time and diverse activities under deadlines while delivering quality results.
● Enthusiasm for living and working in an urban environment.
This description is not a complete list of all duties and responsibilities required for this job.
New York, New York
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