2024 - WNY PRISM Watercraft Inspection Steward/Environmental Educator - Buffalo, NY - A Sponsored Program of The Research Foundation for The State University of New York


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, engaging the public in management actions, and increasing awareness of invasive species issues throughout the 8-county region. 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 University 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

The WNY PRISM Watercraft Inspection Steward Program is designed to prevent the transport, spread and establishment of aquatic invasive species while increasing public awareness of this threat. WNY PRISM Watercraft Inspection Steward/Environmental Educators (Stewards) are an essential component of this program and will represent WNY PRISM while working toward improving environmental health. Stewards will interact daily with the public at boat launches performing boat inspections to remove visible aquatic plants and animals from all types of watercraft and will be responsible for public education and distribution of educational materials. Removal of aquatic plants and animals will help to prevent the transport and spread of aquatic invasive species. Stewards will also have the opportunity to assist with invasive species survey and removal projects, such as early detection/rapid response and control efforts, to monitor and reduce established populations of both aquatic and terrestrial invasive species. This is a field position and candidates should expect to spend the majority of their time outdoors.

Stewards will be assigned to a single, primary launch; however, coverage needs may require occasional travel to other launches. Stewards are required to attend a mandatory, two-day training prior to beginning work at their assigned launches.

WNY PRISM is a supportive work environment that will provide the opportunity for Stewards to learn and gain valuable experience in the fields of invasive species management, environmental protection and public outreach. Stewards will meet and work with local environmental professionals and improve their skills and understanding 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 complete, accurate, and uploaded as scheduled.
  • Conduct public outreach and distribute educational materials.
  • Communicate effectively with supervisor.
  • Maintain supplies and equipment.


Additional Responsibilities

  • Represent WNY PRISM at community events such as county fairs and festivals.
  • Assist with invasive species removal activities.
  • Assist with invasive species surveys and monitoring.



  • 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 and boat launches may have limited infrastructure.


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

  • Experience working with invasive species, aquatic invasive species strongly preferred.
  • Experience with independent data collection and organization, experience with field and/or vegetation surveys preferred.
  • Experience leading and training staff.
  • Excellent communication skills, verbal and written.
  • Strong problem-solving skills.
  • Strong time management and organizational skills.



Boat launch sites are located throughout the WNY PRISM region. Sites are located in Buffalo, along the Tonawanda Creek/Erie Canal from the Niagara River to Lockport, Niagara River, Allegheny Reservoir (Onoville), and Lakes Erie (Sturgeon Point, Hanover), Ontario (Olcott), and Cuba. Please visit https://www.wnyprism.org/about/job-opportunities/ for a complete list of boat launches.

Travel Requirements

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

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 off Porter Avenue, on Tuesday, May 21 and Wednesday, May 22, 2024.  


Job Details

This is a full-time, temporary position (40 hours/week, $20.00/hr., Leads @ $21.00/hr.) with an expected timeframe of May 21, 2024 – September 2, 2024 (Memorial Day – Labor Day) for Stewards, and May 16, 2024 – September 20, 2024, for Lead Stewards. All Stewards will be required to attend the two-day mandatory training in May. The standard work week will be comprised of 4, 10-hour days, Thursday – Sunday, 7:00 – 5:30. Position is dependent upon final approval of funding.

Weekends and Holidays are mandatory. Housing is not provided. WNY PRISM is hiring 11 Stewards and 2 Lead Stewards.


Applications will be accepted until all positions are filled. Applications will be reviewed beginning Friday, March 22, 2024. Please follow all application directions, failure to do so may disqualify you from the position. Please provide cover letter, resume, launch preferences and 3 professional references as a single attachment. Please indicate your launch preferences and if you are interested in a Lead Steward position in your cover letter. We can’t guarantee you will be offered your first choice of launches.

Questions can be directed to Andrea Locke, Coordinator at lockeas@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.