The Smithsonian’s National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute is offering Avian Ecology internship opportunities with a grassland ecology project based at the American Prairie Reserve in northeastern Montana. APR aims to create the largest nature reserve in the continental U.S. and is in the process of reintroducing American Bison to a large, diverse and remote prairie landscape.
Learning experiences will include 3 primary projects: 1) bird and vegetation surveys of grassland and riparian habitats. 2) Nest-searching, capture and GPS-tagging of Long-billed Curlews. 3) Remote acoustic surveys for Yellow-billed and Black-billed Cuckoos using AudioMoth acoustic recorders. Interns will support staff activities associated with these projects and construct short-term independent research projects of their own using the data collected. Interns will play a significant role for the advancement of conservation science at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute and APR.
This is a paid internship opportunity wherein the intern will support the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute's Conservation Ecology Center.
Through this internship, interns will:
• Learn avian survey techniques and gain experience with grassland and riparian species native to sagebrush steppe and mixed-grass prairie ecosystems of the Northern Great Plains
• Learn shorebird (Long-billed Curlew) nest-searching and nest-monitoring techniques.
• Learn shorebird (Long-billed Curlew) capture, GPS-tagging, and data-download techniques.
• Discuss SCBI grassland ecology research projects and present them to different audiences.
• Navigate a large, remote, complex landscape with 4x4 vehicles, ATVs and on foot.
• Place and organize data from remote acoustic monitoring devices.
• Compile and review ecological data in standard formats.
• Coordinate with field team to execute assigned tasks.
• Reinforce their leadership skills by learning to delegate tasks within a field team.
• Organize, in conjunction with a supervisor, weekly activities to achieve primary goals
• Have the opportunity to volunteer and assist with capture, vaccination and spotlighting of black-tailed prairie dogs and black-footed ferrets on the adjacent Charles M. Russell National Wildlife Refuge and Fort Belknap Indian Reservation.
• Avian Ecology interns will also have the opportunity to learn camera-trapping techniques for mammals.
• Preference will be given to students and recent graduates (undergrad or MS) aiming to start a career in ecology and/or conservation.
• Experience with bird survey techniques and ability to identify bird species of Western North America by sight and sound.
• Experience with nest-searching techniques a plus.
• Ability to navigate and cover long distances over rough terrain on foot with heavy field equipment.
• Ability to engage within a team environment with staff and other interns and volunteers.
• Must enjoy being outdoors in all weather conditions, and be prepared for long field days and occasional camping during the field season.
• Valid driver’s license essential and experience with off-road/ATV driving a plus.
This is a paid internship opportunity with a stipend of $1,600 per month plus housing. College credit is offered if desired; intern is responsible for obtaining necessary approvals from their university. Interns will be responsible for all transportation costs to Montana and personal health insurance.
The American Prairie Reserve is in northeastern Montana (nearest town; Malta, MT). Interns will be housed at on-site at the research center at no cost. Interns are responsible for purchase of their own food.
Term of appointment:
April 15 to Aug 1, 2019. A commitment to the full field season is required.
Deadline is February 1, 2020. HOWEVER, applications will be reviewed as they are received. Please send a cover letter and CV/Resume in one document to Andy Boyce at firstname.lastname@example.org. Include ‘AVIAN ECOLOGY INTERNSHIP’ in the subject line.