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  • Backcountry Avian Point Count Technician

    Guest Alissa Fogg
    • Employer: Point Blue Conservation Science
      Location: Yosemite NP; Ansel Adams & Golden Trout wilderness areas
      Country: United States
      Last Date to Apply: 01/15/2022
      Open Until Filled: Yes


    Position: 2 Field Technicians, Sierra Nevada Group

    Duration: 9 May through 5 August, 2022 (start and end dates are flexible DOE and snowpack conditions)

    Location: Yosemite National Park, Ansel Adams & Golden Trout Wilderness, Sierra Nevada. Housing will be provided at the UC Merced field station in Wawona through July 10 at least then transition to full-time camping or housing in Mammoth Lakes, CA.

    Job Type: Full time (40+ hours per week), Seasonal

    Compensation: Positions pay an hourly wage of $17-20/hour DOE with overtime pay according to California State law. Shared housing in the Yosemite or Mammoth area and utilities are included at a cost of $202/month. Work vehicles are provided. Benefits limited to 24 hours of sick pay.

    Deadline to apply: January 15, 2021

    Description: This program offers a unique opportunity to explore and observe birds in some of the most beautiful landscapes in California, across a wide range of habitats, while collecting data to guide management and restoration in the Sierra Nevada. Field work covers a vast profile of elevations in coniferous forest, post-fire, aspen, oak, meadow, and chaparral habitats, including surveys in the Yosemite backcountry, Ansel Adams and Golden Trout Wilderness areas to understand the effects of implementing a more robust managed wildfire program in the Sierra; and to help guide meadow restoration priorities in the Kern River watershed. Technicians will be expected to hike up to 10 miles to reach base camps and then hike several miles a day between survey locations. Backpacking trip length will be no more than 5 days at a time.

    Primary duties include, but are not limited to: Conducting multiple-species avian point counts, vegetation and habitat surveys, deploying bat automated recording units, data entry, navigating cross-country in mountainous terrain and driving company-leased 4×4 vehicles. Work weeks vary from 5-6 days and are typically 40-50 hours, but vary from 35-60 hours. These are full-time backpacking positions.


    ·       Previous experience identifying multiple bird species by sight and sound is required, preferably in the Western U.S. and using point count methods.

    ·       All candidates must feel confident in their ability to hike and navigate cross-country in steep, mountainous terrain often with dense shrub cover. Candidates should demonstrate previous recreational or work backpacking experience and be proficient in using maps, GPS and navigational applications.  Familiarity with SOS devices (e.g., Garmin inReach) is preferred.

    ·       All successful candidates must be able to identify over 75 bird species by sight and sound following 2-3 weeks of training. We will provide species lists, audio recordings and links to learning resources before positions begin.

    ·       We require self-motivation, enthusiasm for travel and camping, good sense of direction, the ability to cope with inclement weather, willingness to spend long hours in the field observing birds and plants 5-6 days/week and the ability to work well independently in the backcountry and in a group living situation.

    ·       Candidates will need to work with the National Park Service and the US Forest Service on securing backpacking permits under our research permit and following all trailhead and backcountry rules and regulations.

    ·       Most positions require significant driving between remote sites (sometimes up to 2-4 hours traveling per day).  Successful applicants will need a valid U.S. driver’s license, at least two years of driving experience, and will be asked to provide information to verify their good driving record. Work vehicles are provided.

    ·       Ability to lift/carry up to 50 lbs and hike up to 12 miles.

    Work Environment & Physical Requirements:

    This position operates in remote field locations with uneven terrain, no vehicle access, limited cell phone receptions, abundant wildlife and often in a solitary capacity.

    COVID Safety

    We prefer applicants to be vaccinated and you may be required to wear masks regardless of vaccination status if working in close proximity to Point Blue staff, partners, supporters, and others. We require staff to follow current safety guidelines. All Point Blue staff will do the same and ensure a safe working environment.   

    To apply: Please submit applications via email to Alissa Fogg (afogg@pointblue.org; PDF preferred, or Word Doc); subject line Sierra Bird Crew 2022. All applicants should provide a resume and contact information for three references. In addition to the resume and references, applicants should choose between one of the following two options: 1) a letter of interest or written document (~1 page) describing your interest in this position, specific dates of availability, previous multiple species point count experience and experience working in the backcountry solo and as part of a team, OR (2) the above information can also be submitted as a short (<5 min) video. Only those qualified applicants who we desire to interview will be contacted starting December 15. A qualified candidate will be hired as they are identified.

    Point Blue is committed to increasing diversity, equity, and inclusion. We strongly encourage applications from people with backgrounds that are under-represented in the conservation community.

    Point Blue is an equal employment opportunity employer and does not discriminate against applicants or employees because of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, age, citizenship status, disability status of an otherwise qualified individual, membership or application for membership in an uniformed service, or membership in any other class protected by applicable law and will make reasonable accommodation for applicants  with disabilities to complete the application and/or participate in the  interview process.

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