WADING BIRD AND BLACK RAIL PROJECT TECHNICIANS – Location: Coastal South Carolina. Job type: Full time, seasonal. Duration of position: March through September 2022. Application deadline: 5 pm EST on December 23, 2022. Applications will be reviewed as they are received, and the position may be filled prior to the deadline. Salary: $14 per hour pre-tax, 40 hours per week, optional shared housing available at no charge.
DESCRIPTION: The South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (SCDNR) plans to hire three seasonal technicians to assist with the SCDNR Wading Bird Project and SCDNR Black Rail Project. Each project will have a dedicated technician and the third technician will assist with both projects.
The SCDNR Wading Bird Project focuses on monitoring Wood Stork (federally threatened) population trends and productivity and the distribution of wading birds throughout the state. Wading Bird Project responsibilities will include monitoring nesting Wood Storks on a weekly basis throughout the breeding season (using spotting scope, March – August), assisting with aerial surveys from a small plane (optional), surveying rookeries from canoes, using a computer to count wading bird nests from aerial photographs, data entry, and assisting biologists with miscellaneous office tasks. Aerial surveys typically take place on 4-8 days of the season. The technician assists by spotting colonies and holding open a window to facilitate aerial photography during flights.
The SCDNR Black Rail Project focuses on developing and implementing effective management practices to benefit a rare and fascinating marsh bird that was recently listed as Threatened under the Endangered Species Act by the US Fish & Wildlife Service (Eastern subspecies). Black Rail Project responsibilities will include maintaining camera traps and acoustic data recorders, conducting call-response surveys for marsh birds, surveying vegetation and other habitat attributes, manually clearing shrubby vegetation to improve habitat conditions, and processing data in the office (identifying rails in photos and acoustic recordings). On average, we expect at least 50% of the job tasks will involve working in an office environment. Some aspects of the position are very physically demanding. The position requires carrying batteries and equipment while walking in difficult saltmarsh terrain and operating 4-wheel drive trucks in remote areas.
For all positions, we are looking for highly motivated people who are willing to work a flexible schedule that often varies from day to day. Early morning, night and occasional weekend work will be required. The climate of coastal South Carolina during the summer can be extremely hot and humid, and many of the components of these projects include carrying equipment in difficult terrain. Spiders, snakes, alligators, mosquitoes, and other biting insects are abundant in the study area.
The SCDNR office and many of the survey sites are located in the ACE Basin of South Carolina, a spectacular undeveloped area that offers a variety of excellent outdoor recreational activities. The office where the technicians will be based is located in Green Pond, SC (Donnelley Wildlife Management Area). Shared dormitory-style housing at a remote Wildlife Management Area approximately 30 minutes from the office is expected to be available at no cost to the technicians. The nearest grocery stores are approximately 45 minutes away and Charleston is approximately an hour drive away. A personal vehicle will be required since the location is remote and there is no public transportation, but we plan to provide vehicles for most work duties.
*Previous avian research experience is not required.*
- Applicants should have a strong interest in wildlife research and conservation, a positive attitude about working outdoors in buggy conditions as well as indoors completing repetitive tasks, and the desire and ability to be part of an inclusive and supportive team.
- Two or more seasons (totaling 6+ months) of previous field work experience on environmental research/monitoring project(s). Ability and willingness to work outdoors in very challenging conditions (full sun, high heat and humidity, biting and stinging insects, venomous snakes, alligators, adverse weather conditions, long days/variable schedule) and to carry equipment (15-20 pounds) in marsh conditions. Ability to load and unload canoes into trucks.
- Exceptional organizational skills and attention to detail. Ability to follow complicated and detailed protocols. Ability to meet deadlines, work independently, and manage time effectively in the field and in the office.
- Ability to maintain concentration and accuracy while completing tasks using a computer. Proficiency using Microsoft Office programs including Excel, Access, and Word. Ability to learn to use additional programs such as Survey123, acoustic file analysis software, and photo management software.
- Excellent interpersonal and communication skills. Ability to relate to a diverse range of people from different backgrounds, accept direction and constructive feedback, and maintain professionalism.
- Knowledge of principles and practices of research and of data management best practices.
- Valid US driver’s license, good driving record, experience operating 4-wheel drive trucks, and ability to independently change tires and jump start vehicles.
- Must be a United States citizen or be legally authorized to work in the United States without sponsorship.
B.S., B.A., or M.S. in wildlife biology/management, environmental science, or related field.
Prior experience demonstrating proficiency at skills and tasks described above. Experience managing large datasets. Experience working with threatened and endangered species and/or on projects collecting sensitive data.
TO APPLY: Please send a SINGLE email attachment containing a cover letter describing prior experience relevant to this specific position, a resume/CV, and contact information for three references to Christy Hand (email@example.com). Include your name and “Seasonal Technician” in the file name. If you are only interested in applying for one of the projects, please indicate your preference in your cover letter. Applications will be reviewed as they are received, and the position may be filled prior to the deadline. The positions are scheduled to start in late February or early March.
Information about Project: