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  • Mexican Spotted Owl Seasonal Internship (2 positions)

    Jennifer Blakesley
    • Employer: Bird Conservancy of the Rockies
      Location: Fort Collins, Colorado
      Country: United States
      Last Date to Apply: 02/28/2023
      Open Until Filled: Yes

    Title:                            Seasonal Intern -- Mexican Spotted Owl Monitoring (2 positions)

    FLSA Status:               Volunteer

    Reports to:                  Crew Leader and Avian Ecologist

    Direct Reports:            None

    Location:                     Fort Collins, Colorado, with travel to New Mexico and Arizona

    Salary:                         Stipend of $250/week

    Duration:                     The internship runs from late March to mid-July, with some flexibility. For currently enrolled students, commitments will be minimal until the spring semester ends, but interns must be available to partake in extended trips to the southwest during the rest of the internship.

    Benefits:                      Not eligible

    Purpose                       Interns will primarily participate in research activities to estimate occupancy rates of Mexican Spotted Owls in the southwest. In addition, interns will have the opportunity to network and assist other programs in Bird Conservancy, including our research, stewardship, and education programs. This internship offers individuals the opportunity to get a well-rounded insight into potential career avenues in wildlife biology.

    About the Organization:

    Bird Conservancy of the Rockies is a 501 (c)(3) non-profit that is headquartered at the Environmental Learning Center at Barr Lake State Park with a satellite office in Fort Collins and fieldwork outposts in the Great Plains Region.  Bird Conservancy of the Rockies conserves birds and their habitats through an integrated approach of Science, Education and Stewardship. Learn more about our work and programs at our website: www.birdconservancy.org


    Internship Overview:

    The internship is ideal for individuals who have a strong passion for wildlife biology but are looking to gain field experience. Interns will work alongside experienced field biologists to conduct nighttime surveys for Mexican Spotted Owls in National Forests across Arizona and New Mexico. Interns will gain experience conducting playback surveys, hone field skills (e.g. backcountry camping, navigation, etc.), and learn about owl ecology, study design, and occupancy monitoring. Interns will support the Avian Ecologist with field season preparation, data quality control, and occasionally assist additional Spotted Owl research led by the U.S. Forest Service. In addition, interns will have the opportunity to assist other biologists in our organization to broaden their experience, including our research, stewardship, and education programs.

    This is a unique opportunity for interns to work on a federally-threatened species. Regular field trips to the southwest will be led by the Avian Ecologist heading the Mexican Spotted Owl Program and/or an experienced field crew leader. Fieldwork entails navigating to established survey locations during daylight hours by driving on remote roads and hiking on- and off-trail. After dark, survey teams follow a strict protocol of broadcasting Spotted Owl calls and listening for responses from owls at up to 5 survey points, approximately ½ to 1 km apart. Survey teams hike between survey points and return to their camping locations in the dark. Campsites are usually primitive, often without cell phone service or facilities. Occasionally, overnight backpacking is required to access remote sites. Surveyors work in pairs with the same individual during a 10-day work hitch.

    Successful candidates will be passionate about wildlife conservation, comfortable hiking long distances off-trail at night, and enjoy living and working remotely. Work days can be long and strenuous, and the work schedule is highly variable with extensive driving time. Interns must be able to learn to identify all southwestern owls by sight and sound upon completion of a training. Review this blog post to hear about this position from a previous technician, and this blog post from the Project Coordinator to learn about why we do this work.   

    Start date is flexible and will consider a currently enrolled student's schedule. Interns must be able to secure housing in Fort Collins, where the internship will take place.

    Essential skills and abilities:

    Interns should be enthusiastic, physically fit, enjoy traveling, and be willing to work long hours in the field. Interns will need to be comfortable hiking up to 12 miles a day and surveying areas with potentially hazardous wildlife including black bears, mountain lions and rattlesnakes. A valid driver's license, proof of auto insurance, camping gear, basic computer skills, a strong work ethic, and enthusiasm for conservation and conducting fieldwork are preferred. Interns must provide their own backpacking, hiking and camping gear as well as their own food.

    Field skills that will be gained through the internship:

    ·       Ability to identify nocturnal avian species of the southwest by sight and sound

    ·       Experience navigating using topographic maps, compass and GPS unit

    ·       Experience camping, long distance hiking, and navigating off trail

    ·       Experience surveying federally-listed species

    ·       Assistance in the coordination of a major survey effort, from field preparation to data quality control

    Material and Equipment Directly Used:

    ·       Standard field equipment (e.g., GPS, Garmin inReach, broadcast unit, maps, compass and headlamp.

    ·       Smart phone for mobile data entry in the field

    ·       Standard office equipment (e.g., laptop)

    ·       Standard software (e.g., Excel, Word, Google Earth)


    Equal Opportunity Employer:

    Bird Conservancy of the Rockies is a bias-conscious employer. We ask that you please avoid the use of photos when submitting a resume and/or an application for employment. You will receive an email acknowledgment when you have successfully applied. Your completed application will be forwarded to the hiring manager. You will be notified if you are selected for further testing or interviews. Post-offer background check required.

    Studies have shown that underrepresented groups, including women and people of color, are less likely to apply for jobs unless they believe they can perform every job description task. We are most interested in finding the best candidate for the job from diverse backgrounds and with attention to lived experience. Bird Conservancy of the Rockies will consider an equivalent combination of knowledge, skills, education, and experience to meet minimum qualifications. If you are interested in applying, we encourage you to think broadly about your background and skill set for the role.

    Bird Conservancy of the Rockies is an Equal Opportunity Employer. Applicants are considered for positions for which they have applied without regard to gender identity or gender expression, race, color, religion, creed, national origin, ancestry, age, marital status, disability, sexual orientation, genetic information, pregnancy or other characteristics protected by law. For the purpose of Bird Conservancy’s policy “sexual orientation” means a person’s actual or perceived orientation toward heterosexuality, homosexuality, bisexuality.

    Bird Conservancy of the Rockies will make special communication arrangements for persons with disabilities.  Please call (303) 659-4348 for assistance.

    COVID-19 Policy:

    Bird Conservancy is committed to protecting and enhancing the welfare of its employees during the COVID-19 pandemic.  As a condition of employment, all newly hired employees must provide to Bird Conservancy’s human resources representative proof of full vaccination at employment start date.  In addition, Bird Conservancy may require employees to be tested for COVID-19 under certain conditions, including but not limited to, exposure to a person infected with the virus, experience of COVID-19 symptoms or travel outside of the assigned work area.  All employees must follow Bird Conservancy’s other safety protocols for COVID-19, which are based on current Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines.  Any proof of vaccination or test results submitted to Bird Conservancy will remain confidential.

    To Apply:

    Send a cover letter, resume, and contact information for three references IN ONE DOCUMENT (.pdf or .doc) to spottedowl@birdconservancy.org. Name your application file as follows: Lastname_MSO2023_intern. Please indicate your availability dates. Applications will be reviewed starting on January 1st 2023 and positions will be filled as suitable applicant

    BCR Intern Mexican Spotted Owl 2023.docx

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