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  • Backcountry Point Counts in Sierra Nevada National Parks, Crew Lead


    Guest Bob Wilkerson
    • Employer: The Institute for Bird Populations
      Location: Yosemite, Sequoia, and Kings Canyons National Parks
      Country: United States
      Last Date to Apply: No value
      Open Until Filled: Yes

    Crew Leads for Backcountry Point Count Surveys in Sierra Nevada National Parks, 2022

    We have 2 crew lead openings during spring/summer 2022 on our backcountry point count crews at Yosemite National Park, Sequoia National Park, and Kings Canyon National Park.

    PROJECT DATES: Late April – early August (Exact dates 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, plant and habitat identification, backcountry orienteering, safety and situational awareness, GPS usage, and wilderness ethic and camping skills. Crew leads are expected to lead this training with substantial assistance from IBP and National Park Service I&M project personnel. 

    RESPONSIBILITIES: Crew leads will supervise and work with one other field technician to survey point count transect located throughout the parks. Often hiking into the backcountry for up to seven days at a time to reach transects. 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. Later in the season longer backcountry trips using cached resupplies maybe be also be possible (ranging from 10 to up to 20 days). Computer data entry will also be required along with other post-season field tasks including writing an end-of-season report.

    REQUIRED SKILLS and EXPERIENCE:  We are looking for candidates with mastery of the songs and calls of western montane birds. Prior point count experience is mandatory for this position. Prior supervisory experience is desired. Successful candidates must be in excellent physical condition, must have backpacking experience, and must be comfortable with off-trail hiking and orienteering with map, compass, and GPS.

    EQUIPMENT:  Crew leads 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: Crew leads will be considered seasonal IBP staff and will receive payment of $2,800 per month (before payroll taxes) and project-related travel mileage and campground fee reimbursement, but no fringe benefits. In addition, shared housing will be provided.  

    MORE INFORMATION: For more information about this IBP program, please see our Birds of the Sierra Nevada National Parks Webpage.

    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).

    IBP values diversity and encourages people from all backgrounds to apply. All qualified applicants will receive consideration regardless of race, color, religion, gender, gender identity or expression, or sexual orientation.

    Proof of COVID-19 vaccination will be required for all 2022 field crew members.




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