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  • Intern - North Slope Tundra Ecology- Arctic National Wildlife Refuge - Alaska

    Guest Arctic NWR
    • Employer: Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, USWFS
      Location: North Slope of Alaska
      Country: United States
      Last Date to Apply: 12/15/2022
      Open Until Filled: Yes

    Job Description:

    We are currently accepting applications for interns on two projects studying the breeding ecology and limiting factors of tundra nesting birds (including shorebirds, passerines, waterfowl, loons, and larids) and population dynamics of small mammals (voles and lemmings) along the Beaufort Sea coast. Work will occur simultaneously at different locations on the Alaska North Slope. This posting is for two projects at two separate locations: 1) Kuparuk River Unit oil fields and 2) remote sites in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. In addition to increasing our understanding of tundra nesting bird breeding ecology and small mammal population dynamics, primary objectives include assessing the efficacy of remote monitoring tools (time-lapse cameras and temperature loggers) and using electronic data collection (ArcGIS Survey123).  

    The positions will begin in early May in Fairbanks. (Exact start date TBD). During this time, intern will help with preparing remote monitoring devices and general field preparations. Fieldwork will start in late May and continue through late June or early July. Fieldwork will involve walking transects; nest searching; and deploying remote monitoring devices. Interns typically work 6-7 days/week while in the field. After field work, intern will return to Fairbanks for a couple weeks of post-season tasks. End date will be mid-July. Pre-season training and preparations, and post-season work will be based out of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge office in Fairbanks, Alaska. 


    Working Conditions:  

    There will not be opportunities to take leave during the field season. Conditions will generally be cold, windy, and buggy. Excellent physical condition is necessary to meet the strenuous demands. Crews will spend nearly every day hiking up to 15+ miles in waders over uneven tundra and wetlands carrying a heavy backpack; wading through icy ponds to access nests; cold, wet, windy weather (daytime highs in early June are generally around freezing and winds usually a constant 15-25 mph); and LOTS of mosquitoes. 

    If being wet, cold, and uncomfortable; working and living with the same people; hauling around and deploying remote monitoring devices on the tundra; and walking in damp waders for 8+ hours a day sounds miserable, you will not enjoy this job! If working in this remote area sounds like an exciting physical and mental challenge - consider applying! 

    Candidates should have a strong interest in avian and/or small mammal ecology AND/OR remote monitoring tools (cameras, data loggers), a desire to live on the North Slope, and the ability to maintain a positive attitude working in an isolated setting with a small group under difficult field conditions. 

    Kuparuk River unit oil fields: Field work will occur on the Alaska North Slope, in the Kuparuk River Unit oil fields from late May through late June/early July. Work will occur within 1-2km of roads within the oilfields. Crew will drive to/from field site each day. Crew will stay in a hotel style single room and eat from cafeteria.   

    Remote sites in Arctic NWR: Access to the sites is only by small single engine aircraft or helicopter. Fieldwork will involve setup, maintenance, and take down of remote camps. Camp life will be remote and primitive (sleeping and cooking in tents, use of a bucket toilet). During periods of bad weather, staff can be cut off from any outside help for several days. Field assistants may be required to carry firearms in the field for bear protection.   

    **Some seasonal online training (e.g., Bear Safety, Aviation Safety, and/or Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee Training) will need to be completed prior to arriving in Fairbanks. 



    US Citizen or currently in possession of applicable work visa. 

    Available early May to mid-July.  

    Selectees are subject to a background/suitability investigation. 

    Willingness and desire to spend 4+ weeks working and living on the North Slope.  

    Willingness, physical ability, and desire to hike in waders over uneven terrain carrying a 30+ lb pack for 15+ miles per day, 7 days a week, for 4+ weeks. 

    Ability (physically, mentally, and legally) to carry and use a firearm for bear protection.  

    Prior firearms experience is desirable, but not required. Training will be provided regardless of skill level. 

    Desired Qualifications:  

    Experience working with breeding shorebirds, passerines, and waterfowl.   

    Experience working with small mammals (mice, voles, lemmings, etc). 

    An interest in birding and experience using eBird. 

    Experience working with remote time-lapse cameras for monitoring animals. 

    Experience with TinyTag temperature loggers.  

    Experience working in the Arctic or other remote areas. 

    Experience living and working in remote field camps for extended periods where work conditions are hazardous and there is no immediate access to medical assistance.  

    Experience developing, troubleshooting, and using ArcGIS Survey123 for data collection. 

    Experience tinkering with electronics (e.g., soldering skills, building Raspberry Pi projects, etc.) 

    Let us know if you have a background in data management (how are your SQL skills?), electrical engineering (help us build a better camera to monitor tundra nesting birds!), or computer science (e.g., coding skills for post-season camera and temperature analysis). 



    $1,500 stipend.  

    Housing is provided while in Fairbanks and at field site. 

    Food is provided while at field site. 

    Intern is responsible for arranging and purchasing travel to/from Alaska. Dates will be discussed between intern and project biologist prior to booking travel. Please note that food is not provided while in Fairbanks pre-season. Interns are responsible for bringing their own personal clothing to the field (recommendations will be provided). USFWS will provide chest waders and boots, rain jacket, day pack, and large dry bags for transporting all personal gear to the North Slope. USFWS will provide a sleeping tent, sleeping bag, and pad for Arctic Refuge work. 


    Links to Arctic Refuge work: 





    Hiring process:  

    We encourage interested individuals to send their packet now as applications will be reviewed as they are received, and positions filled as soon as possible. 

    To apply: 

    Please email a cover letter describing your qualifications for the position, resume, unofficial transcript, dates of availability, and three professional references in a single document to Sadie Ulman (sadie_ulman@fws.gov) and Emily Magnuson (emily_magnuson@fws.gov). Name the single document: last name_first name (i.e., Meegan_Peter.docx). Please title the email, “North Slope Ecology Internship”.  

    Fill out “North Slope Tundra Ecology Internship Questionnaire”  found at:  https://forms.office.com/Pages/ResponsePage.aspx?id=urWTBhhLe02TQfMvQApUlCLX1_-yyr1NqpodvL9z1hlURFNCRzNERjA3NjZGVlpOWjBYMklWRVJDVy4u

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