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  • Arctic NWR Biological Technician - Tundra Nesting Birds

    • Employer: USFWS Arctic NWR
      Location: Fairbanks and Arctic NWR, Alaska
      Country: United States
      Last Date to Apply: 01/13/2020
      Open Until Filled: No

    Job Description:

    Arctic NWR is currently accepting applications for a position as a GS-5 biological technician studying the breeding ecology and limiting factors of tundra nesting birds (including shorebirds, passerines, waterfowl, loons, and larids) along the Beaufort Sea coast. Work will occur at a remote research camp (https://medium.com/usfws/extreme-bird-nerding-ac3e81f20ab3) in Arctic Refuge at the Canning River Delta (https://www.facebook.com/arcticnationalwildliferefuge/videos/canning-river-bird-camp/553735712101186) and several helicopter-accessed sites, offering amazing birding (https://ebird.org/hotspot/L1619148) and arctic wildlife viewing opportunities (such as this video shot from camp https://www.facebook.com/arcticnationalwildliferefuge/videos/vb.138283512868883/463000250397206). In addition to increasing our understanding of tundra nesting bird breeding ecology, primary objectives include assessing the efficacy of remote monitoring tools (time-lapse cameras and temperature loggers) and using electronic data collection (ArcGIS Collector and Survey123). The position will begin in early May and continue through August or September, with the potential for an extension.


    This is a collaborative project, and the crew will include scientists and technicians from Manomet Inc. (https://www.manomet.org), USFWS Migratory Birds, ANWR (https://www.fws.gov/refuge/arctic) and graduate students from the University of Alaska Fairbanks Institute of Arctic Biology (https://www.iab.uaf.edu/). Fieldwork will involve setup and maintenance of a remote camp; nest searching; trapping, measuring, and banding shorebirds and waterfowl; and monitoring nests with temperature loggers and time-lapse cameras. The incumbent will also assist with other work at the camp, including outreach (https://www.arcticbirdfest.com/), lemmings, arctic foxes (https://www.facebook.com/arcticnationalwildliferefuge/videos/playful-arctic-fox-kits/1351705251662539, and botany projects. Field assistants typically work 6-7 days/week while in the field.


    Working Conditions:

    Fieldwork will occur at our remote field camp, and other helicopter-accessed sites, on the roadless ANWR tundra from late May through late July and there will not be opportunities to take leave during that period. Conditions will generally be cold, windy, and buggy. Access to the site is by small single engine aircraft or helicopter. Prior to the field season technicians will attend training, organize gear, and review protocols. After the field season, technicians will clean and put away gear and assist in data management. Camp life will be remote and primitive (tents only). During periods of bad weather, staff can be cut off from any outside help for several days. Assistants will be required to carry firearms in the field for bear protection. Excellent physical condition is necessary to meet the strenuous demands. Crews will be exposed to long days hiking (up to 20 miles per day) in waders over very uneven tundra and wetlands carrying a heavy backpack; wading through icy ponds to access nests; cold, wet, windy weather (daytime highs in early June are generally around freezing and winds usually a constant 15-25 mph); and LOTS of mosquitoes. If being wet, cold, and uncomfortable; sleeping in a small backpacking tent; working daily with the same people for 2 months; and walking in damp waders that will develop leaks for 10+ hours a day sounds miserable, you will not enjoy this job! If this sounds like an exciting challenge - consider applying!


    Candidates should have a background in avian ecology, a desire to live in a remote field camp of 6-8 people mostly cut off from the outside world, and the ability to maintain a positive attitude working in a very isolated setting under difficult field conditions. 


    Desired Qualifications:

    ·        Experience working with breeding shorebirds or passerines.

    ·        Experience working with breeding waterfowl.

    ·        Experience with Tinytag temperature loggers and cameras for monitoring nesting birds.

    ·        Experience developing, troubleshooting, and using ERSI Survey123 and Collector for data collection.

    ·        Experience working with data in ArcGIS Pro.

    ·        Experience working in the Arctic.

    ·        Experience living and working in remote field camps for extended periods where work conditions are hazardous and there is no immediate access to medical assistance.




    ·        ~ $5,200/mo during field season.

    ·        ~ $3,200/mo outside field season.

    ·        Housing may be provided.

    ·        Health, dental, and vision insurance (see https://www.usajobs.gov/Help/working-in-government/benefits/).


    Hiring process:

    Apply on USAJOBS at https://www.usajobs.gov/GetJob/ViewDetails/555989600#  by January 13th!  If unable to follow link search for announcement MR-20-10689594-TD-DE. Because this is a national recruitment, those interested in this project must select the Fairbanks, AK duty station. Including a cover letter requesting consideration for the position at Arctic NWR and detailing your project-specific experience will help in candidate selection. Please email questions about the position to Christopher Latty (Christopher_latty@fws.gov).

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