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  • Migratory Shorebird Field Technician

    Guest Camille Alvino
    • Employer: Virginia Tech
      Location: Eastern Shore of Virginia
      Country: United States
      Last Date to Apply: 04/15/2024
      Open Until Filled: Yes

    Salary: $18/hr (housing included)

    Last date to apply: Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis

    Anticipated start date: April 1st (flexible)


    We are looking to hire two (2) full-time field technicians to assist with a research project on migratory shorebird ecology during the spring and fall migration seasons in the Virginia barrier island system. Our research will add to a long-term dataset on the foraging ecology of the state and federally-threatened Red Knot (Calidris canutus rufa).  We will also initiate sampling comparable to our long-term data on Black-bellied Plovers (Pluvialis squatarola) and Piping Plovers (Charadrius melodus). We will evaluate the impacts of anthropogenic habitat modification from a coastal engineering project on Wallops Island, VA on the above species. The position will be based out of a field station or rental house near Chincoteague Island, VA. This project is one of multiple shorebird and seabird projects based at Virginia Tech in the Department of Fish and Wildlife Conservation, and there may be opportunities to assist in other regional research projects during the season. Please visit www.vtshorebirds.org and https://fishwild.vt.edu/ for more information about research and conservation at Virginia Tech. Our group is committed to building an inclusive and diverse team where differences are valued and encouraged!

    This position will run from April 1st to October 31st with the possibility of extension through the winter season in Blacksburg, VA (where Virginia Tech is located). The work will primarily consist of fieldwork with some office and lab work. Fieldwork will require variable hours, such as early mornings, late afternoons, and weekends. Technicians will gain experience identifying shorebirds, conducting point count surveys, and collecting data and scientific samples in the field. This position involves working in a remote wilderness-like location, occasionally in adverse conditions (e.g. heat, cold, humidity, wind, rain, and biting insects), and requires hiking long distances over sand and mud while carrying and pulling heavy field gear. Technicians must be able to prepare for and spend long, physically and mentally demanding days outside and walk up to 9 miles per day in various terrains while carrying up to 15-20 lbs. Because of the remoteness of some of our sampling sites, our ability to go out in the field is determined by boat availability, tides, wind, and weather events and thus the times and days of the week that we will work are variable. This means that fieldwork could be canceled or changed at any time, thus we highly appreciate the qualities of flexibility, patience, and positivity.

    Compensation will be $18/hour. Shared housing and transportation to and from field sites will be provided. Because several of our field sites is under the domain of the U.S. government, you must be able to pass a required background check. The start date can be flexible through the beginning of May for those still taking classes as an undergraduate.

    Required qualifications/skills:

    ·         Working towards, or having received, a B.S. degree in wildlife science, biology, environmental science, natural resource management, or a related field.

    ·         Must be capable of working outside daily under rigorous field conditions and walking up to 9 miles per day over sand while carrying research equipment (approximately 15-20 lbs.).

    ·         Must have a valid U.S. driver’s license and safe driving record.

    ·         Must be capable of passing a federal background check.  


    Desired interpersonal skills:


    ·         Ability to live and work with a team of people, maintaining a respectful and inclusive atmosphere with co-workers and colleagues.

    ·         Ability to follow instructions and appropriate research protocols, and communicate any confusion or concerns to supervisors or co-workers.

    ·         Ability to maintain a positive attitude during potentially long field days, irregular work hours, and flexible work schedules.




    Desired qualifications:


    ·         Shorebird/seabird identification, band resighting, or other experience conducting avian surveys.

    ·         Experience working under a threatened/endangered species permit.

    ·         Experience operating and/or working on and around boats.

    ·         Experience driving 4-wheel drive vehicles, trailering, and beach driving.

    ·         Using GIS software for field data collection (such as ArcGIS Collector/Field Maps).


    Please send a statement of interest and CV in a single PDF to Camille Alvino at camillea@vt.edu. Please name files 'Last name_first name_Migratory shorebird technician’. The positions will remain open until filled. Please feel free to contact us with any questions.

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