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    Backcountry Point Count Technician


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    • Employer: The Institute for Bird Populations
      Location: Mt. Rainier, North Cascades, & Olympic National Parks, WA
      Country: United States
      Last Date to Apply: No value
      Open Until Filled: Yes

    We have openings during spring/summer 2019 on our backcountry point count crews at North Cascades National Park, Olympic National Park, and Mount Rainier National Park.

    PROJECT DATES: Late April - August 3 (Exact start date TBD)

    TRAINING: The field season will begin with an intensive 3 week training session in visual and acoustic bird identification skills, point count techniques, tree and plant identification, backcountry orienteering and safety, and wilderness camping skills. These skills will be honed further throughout the field season. Field technicians will acquire substantial expertise in western bird identification, general natural history, and backcountry living, while exploring one or more of the beautiful, rugged national parks in the Pacific Northwest.

    RESPONSIBILITIES: Working in teams of two, field technicians will hike into the backcountry for up to seven days at a time. On a typical day, they will wake up before dawn and spend the morning conducting point counts and brief vegetation surveys at each point count site. The afternoon will then be spent breaking camp, backpacking to the beginning of the next day's point count transect, and setting up camp once again. Work will be extremely physically demanding, sometimes involving backpacking 15 miles or more per day with a heavy pack, and requiring substantial off-trail travel. A 3-day break will usually follow each backcountry session. Some computer data entry will also be required.

    REQUIRED SKILLS and EXPERIENCE:  We are looking for candidates with prior birding experience and familiarity with (or ability to quickly learn) the songs and calls of western montane birds. Even more important than prior birding experience, however, is a strong desire to learn more about western montane birds and natural history, and a willingness to face the rigors of fieldwork with good humor. These rigors include (but are not limited to!) physically demanding work, long work days that may begin well before dawn, wet, cold weather, mosquitoes, occasional contact with bears, and less-than glamorous housing with possibly no cell service. Successful candidates must be in excellent physical condition, must have backpacking experience, must be comfortable with off-trail hiking and orienteering (training provided), and must be willing to put time into studying bird songs before arriving to training. 

    EQUIPMENT:  Field technicians are expected to provide their own binoculars and backpacking gear, including hiking boots, tent, sleeping bag, raingear, etc. A personal automobile is highly recommended.

    COMPENSATION: These backcountry point count positions in the national parks are volunteer positions. Compensation includes the valuable skills you will develop, the satisfaction of joining important bird conservation efforts, and the joy of working with fun-loving people in a fantastically beautiful environment. Additionally, we will provide a per diem of $43 (amounts to $1075 per month) to help with food and general living expenses, mileage reimbursement for all project-related travel, and free shared housing.

    MORE INFORMATION: For more information about this IBP program, please see our Birds of the Pacific Northwest National Parks Webpage (http://birdpop.org/pages/pacificNWNatParks.php).

    TO APPLY: Please email a resume, cover letter, and the names, phone numbers and email addresses of three references to Mandy Holmgren, Biologist (mholmgren AT birdpop DOT org).

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