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Audubon Florida seeks a Seasonal Stewardship Coordinator to support beach-nesting bird conservation work in Sarasota County. The Coordinator will work on beaches throughout Sarasota County, a shoreline distance of about 37 miles, but predominantly in the central and northern portions of the county where shorebirds and seabirds have nested historically.
From March to August (“breeding season”), the Coordinator will be responsible for performing bird monitoring and protection work under Audubon’s “Restoring Florida's Shorebird & Seabird Populations” Contract. This project performs a spectrum of independent, beach-nesting bird conservation tasks with responsibilities that include the following, in addition to other as-needed duties:
- Posting symbolic fencing around beach-nesting bird sites and maintaining said posting.
- Monitoring nest sites 2-4 times weekly or more often for evidence of disturbance or predation.
- Performing weekly or more frequent bird surveys including number of adult pairs of shore/seabirds, number of downy chicks, number of feathered chicks, and number of fledged young; and
- Helping protect sites from disturbance through stewardship activities, to include: coordinating with municipal staff or landowners to minimize disturbance, recruiting and training new volunteers, advising and partnering with volunteers to chaperone beach-nesting bird colonies during busy warm-weather weekends, educating beachgoers about these species and encouraging compliance with posted areas, and engaging in outreach to user groups through presentations at organizational meetings.
This is a seasonal, full-time, grant-funded position for 29 weeks from approximately March 9th – to the end of August 2020. This position also will be funded in 2020; funding may be available in subsequent years.
By closely collaborating with the Project Manager for Pinellas/Sarasota Bird Stewardship, s/he will ensure:
- All Sarasota County beaches are effectively surveyed during the state-prescribed beach-nesting bird survey windows.
- Bird survey data is entered into the Florida Shorebird Database weekly.
- All active nesting sites are monitored and surveyed weekly or more often, and stewarded as appropriate (to be determined in consultation with the Project Manager).
Additional responsibilities include:
- Collecting accurate data as assigned, and submitting associated activity logs on a scheduled timeline.
- Contributing to technical report writing and submitting content for the program.
- Mentoring and advising volunteers in monitoring, surveying and stewardship activities.
- Educating and engaging the public around coastal bird conservation through outreach at beach sites.
- Cooperation with Audubon partners, including but not limited to: Sarasota County Audubon leaders and volunteers, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission biologists and law enforcement officers, Sarasota County staff, and Longboat Key municipal staff as needed.
Qualifications and Experience
- Bachelor’s degree in biology, wildlife ecology or related field required; Master's degree a plus.
- 2-3 years' demonstrated expertise in shorebird and seabird identification and performing bird surveys a must.
- Strong interpersonal communication and problem solving skills; demonstrated ability to work independently with minimal supervision and to maintain accountability for work products.
- Excellent judgment and decision-making skills, one who possesses a high degree of integrity in all deliverables.
- Demonstrated experience working with external partners and volunteers.
- Demonstrated capability of physically active work installing posts and signs and walking up to 4 miles on coastal beaches to perform bird surveys and monitoring.
- Experience with trail cameras a plus.
- Familiarity with coastal conservation lands of Sarasota County a plus.
- Must have a valid Florida driver’s license and a personal vehicle suited for transportation to complete assigned tasks.
- Must be able to work long days, weekends, and holidays as needed, in Florida summer field conditions.
- Interest in conservation and passion for the mission of the National Audubon Society a must.