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  • Tern Colony Assistant – Habitat Management

    • Employer: Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife
      Location: Penikese Island, Buzzards Bay, Massachusetts
      Country: United States
      Last Date to Apply: No value
      Open Until Filled: Yes

    The Tern Colony Assistant – Habitat Management will conduct vegetation control at Penikese Island, MA and will assist the Site Manager in restoring endangered terns to Buzzards Bay through an intensive program of protection, management, and monitoring at the key nesting islands. Responsibility to protect these endangered birds falls under the Massachusetts Endangered Species Act. Person hired will spend significant time in Southeastern Massachusetts.

    Specific duties include:

    1.       Controlling invasive plants on Penikese Island through use of MA-approved herbicides

    2.       Protection and censusing colonies of Common and endangered Roseate Terns, and Herring and Great Black-backed Gulls

    3.       Discouragement of nesting gulls

    4.       Monitoring tern growth and productivity; trapping and banding adult and chicks; participating in other studies as needed. 

    5.       Reading bands on adults through spotting scopes

    6.       Predator control and habitat management

    7.       Scheduling and supervision of seasonal interns and predator control technician. 

    8.       Maintaining field notebooks, data management, and assisting with an end-of-season report. 


    Before start date, must pass a pesticide licensing exam and obtain a MA Pesticide Applicator License to perform job duties. Must be comfortable spending long periods of time in the outdoors. As a condition of employment, employees must be fully vaccinated.

    Preferred Qualifications: 

    1.       Experience camping under primitive conditions is desirable. Person hired will be required to set up and live in a field camp on the island. 

    2.       Good physical condition. Must be able to carry ~40 lbs. of field equipment a distance of ½ mile. Must be able to carry a 35 – 40 lb. backpack sprayer for an extended period of time on uneven terrain.

    3.       Ability to work independently, as well as live and work cooperatively and harmoniously with others. Must be comfortable living with others in close quarters in a remote island setting with limited facilities for 2-3 weeks at a time.

    4.       Identification of common invasive plant species in Massachusetts is desirable, but not required; will train

    5.       Previous coursework in the biological or environmental sciences and bird banding experience are helpful, but not required. 

    6.       Willingness to work at night when required

    7.       In-state travel will be required; willingness to use personal vehicle.


    Fieldwork will be conducted at PENIKESE ISLAND, Gosnold (in Buzzards Bay). Work on weekends and holidays is expected. Incumbent will work an average of 6 days/week, but will work on the island for up to 2 – 3 weeks at a time before getting time off, depending on weather conditions and on an irregular boat schedule to the island. Crew housing on the mainland will be provided for days off.   Must take and pass the MA Pesticide Applicator exam before the start date of the position. MassWildlife will pay the license fee for individuals who have passed the exam but are not yet licensed.

    No benefits are included - except earned sick leave.

    A cover letter, resume, and contact information for three references must be submitted as part of the application process. Applicants must apply on MassCareers; emailed applications will not be accepted. Go to: https://massanf.taleo.net/careersection/ex/jobsearch.ftl; under “Organization,” click on “See all organizations,” and check “Department of Fish and Game.”

    Additionally, applicants who already have a MA Pesticide Applicator License must submit a scan of it with their application.  

    For more information about the positions, contact Carolyn Mostello, carolyn.mostello@mass.gov.

    Anticipated Start/End Dates: 8 May – 16 July 2022

    Salary: $16.00-22.00/hr, depending on experience

    Anticipated Hours per Week: up to 48

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