2021 - WNY PRISM Boat Stewards/Environmental Educator - WNY Region -- A Sponsored Program of The Research Foundation for The State University of New York

WNY PRISM Boat Steward/Environmental Educator


The Western New York Partnership for Regional Invasive Species Management (WNY PRISM) is one of eight regional partnerships within New York State created to address the threat of invasive species and prevent or minimize the harm they cause to the environment, economy, and human health. This is accomplished through use of a coordinated partnership network for which we provide leadership, technical assistance and collaboration opportunities. Our goal is to improve, restore, and protect local aquatic and terrestrial resources by improving the effectiveness of invasive species management efforts and increasing awareness of invasive species issues throughout the 8-county region. The WNY PRISM Watercraft Inspection Program is designed to prevent the transport, spread and establishment of aquatic invasive species while increasing public awareness of this threat. WNY PRISM Boat Stewards are an essential component of this program and will represent WNY PRISM while working toward improving environmental health. For more information about WNY PRISM and our programming, please visit www.wnyprism.org.

WNY PRISM is a sponsored program of the Research Foundation for SUNY Buffalo State and is hosted by the Great Lakes Center. Funding for WNY PRISM is provided by the Environmental Protection Fund through a contract with New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.


Position Description

WNY PRISM Boat Stewards/Environmental Educator will interact daily with the public at boat launches. Boat Stewards will perform voluntary boat inspections to remove visible aquatic plants and animals from all types of watercraft. Removal of aquatic plants and animals will help to prevent the transport and spread of aquatic invasive species. Boat Stewards will also be responsible for public education and distribution of educational materials. Boat Stewards may have the opportunity to assist with invasive species removal projects. Projects may include early detection/rapid response efforts, or control projects to reduce established populations of both aquatic and terrestrial invasive species. Boat Stewards will be assigned to a single, primary launch, however there is the potential for coverage needs to require occasional travel to other launches. Stewards will receive a mandatory two-day training prior to beginning work at their assigned sites.

WNY PRISM is a supportive and collaborative environment that will provide the opportunity to learn and gain valuable experience in the environmental and public outreach fields. Boat Stewards will meet and work with local environmental professionals, improve skills and knowledge of invasive species ecology, invasive species management practices, data collection and public outreach.


Primary Responsibilities

  • Conduct voluntary watercraft inspections at assigned boat launches.

  • Collect survey data using provided data collection tools.

  • Ensure data collected is accurate and complete, and uploaded as scheduled.

  • Conduct public outreach and distribute educational materials.

  • Communicate effectively with supervisor.

  • Maintain supplies and equipment.

  • Provide end of season written summary of boat launch activities.


Additional Responsibilities

  • Assist with invasive species removal activities.

  • Assist with invasive species surveys and monitoring.

  • Represent WNY PRISM at community events such as county fairs and festivals.



  • Completed, or pursuing, undergraduate degree in biology, natural resources, environmental sciences, or similar.

  • Strong verbal communication skills.

  • Ability to interact with the public in a professional and respectful manner.

  • Ability to work independently and in potentially inclimate weather.

  • Experience with or basic knowledge of plant identification.

  • Strong interest in invasive species management and ecology.

  • Previous environmental education experience.

  • Driver’s license and reliable transportation to and from launch locations.


Physical Requirements

  • Ability to lift 30-50 lbs.

  • Ability to stand, bend, squat and walk for extended periods of time.

  • Ability to work in varying weather conditions – this is an outdoor position.


In addition, WNY PRISM will be hiring 2 Lead Boat Stewards. Lead Boat Stewards will assist the Program Manager with training, scheduling and Boat Steward supervision for the Watercraft Inspection Stewardship Program. In addition to Boat Steward qualifications listed above, the Lead Boat Steward Positions also require:

  • Experience working with invasive species, aquatic invasive species strongly preferred.

  • Leadership and supervisory experience.

  • Strong problem-solving skills.

  • Strong time management and organizational skills.



Boat launch sites will be located throughout the WNY PRISM region. Sites may be located along Tonawanda Creek/Erie Canal including Holley and Lockport, Buffalo, Niagara River, Allegheny River (Onoville), and Lakes Erie (Sturgeon Point, Hanover), Ontario (Olcott), Bear, Chautauqua and Cuba.

Travel Requirements

Weekend and evening hours, as well as possible overnight travel for training, will be required. Training will take place in Buffalo, at the Great Lakes Center Field Station. If training is converted to be remote/online, travel to Buffalo will still be necessary to pick up supplies and equipment.

Use of personal vehicle (such as a car or truck) is required for travel to/from launch and must remain on site with the Boat Steward. Boat Stewards will be expected to travel to assigned boat launches and travel between ‘home’ and ‘work’ will be considered their commute.


Job Details

This is a full-time, temporary position (40 hours/week, $14.00/hr., Leads @ $14.50/hr.) with an expected timeframe of mid-May – early September (Memorial Day – Labor Day), approximately 15 weeks. Boat Stewards will be required to attend a two-day mandatory training May 24 -25, 2021. The standard work week will be comprised of 4, 10-hour days, Thursday – Sunday, 7:00 – 5:30.

Weekends and Holidays are mandatory. Housing is not provided. WNY PRISM is hiring approximately 17 Stewards and 2 Lead Stewards.

The deadline for applications is May 20, 2021. Applications may be reviewed prior to the closing date. Please follow all application directions, failure to do so may disqualify you from the position. Please provide cover letter, resume, and 3 professional references as a single attachment. Questions can be directed to Nicole Smeenk, Aquatic Invasive Species Program Manager at smeenknm@buffalostate.edu. No phone calls please.

**Please clearly indicate launch preferences and which position(s) you are applying for **


This opportunity is grant-supported by the SUNY Buffalo State Sponsored Programs Office/Research Foundation. We are an Equal Opportunity Employer.

The Research Foundation (RF) is not an agency or instrumentality of the State of New York. Employees of the RF are not state employees, do not participate in any state retirement system and do not receive state fringe benefits. The RF operates under a contract with The State University of New York and receives no directly appropriated state funding.




We are not currently accepting applications for this position.