Environment Crew Member: Ecological & Vegetation Monitoring in Colorado and New Mexico
Position Title: Crew Member
Position Type: Full-time, temporary, 23 weeks
Number of Positions: 23
Locations in Colorado: Dolores, Montrose, Grand Junction, Gunnison, Monte Vista, and Cañon City
Locations in New Mexico: Farmington, Albuquerque, Socorro, Taos, and Carlsbad
Living Stipend: $520/week ($600/week in Carlsbad)
Benefits: Paid training; camping food allowance ($13/day via company credit card); AmeriCorps Education Award of $3,907.50 upon satisfactory completion of term
Hiring Benefits: Public Land Corps hiring authority: eligible to use, for two years upon completion of term, a noncompetitive hiring status for consideration when applying to competitive service positions for a federal agency. Must be under age 31 upon issue of certificate.
Program Dates: Approx. May 10, 2021 to October 15, 2021
Southwest Conservation Corps’s Mission
It is the mission of the Southwest Conservation Corps (SCC) to empower individuals to positively impact their lives, their communities, and the environment. For more information, visit www.sccorps.org.
Bureau of Land Management’s Mission
The Bureau of Land Management’s mission is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations.
Participants will manage all aspects of vegetation monitoring using the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) Assessment, Inventory, & Monitoring (AIM) methodology. More information on the BLM’s AIM strategy can be found on the AIM website: http://aim.landscapetoolbox.org/. Crews will consist of two crew members and one crew lead. Together, they will monitor land health on BLM lands including National Monument lands, vegetation treatments, rangeland allotments, or reference areas.
Within all plots, the crew identifies vegetation to species, gathers species cover and composition data using line-point intercept, measures soil surface stability, and describes soil pits. Data are georeferenced using a GPS unit and stored in an ArcGIS geodatabase. Data are entered into a database on site with ruggedized tablets and are further analyzed and synthesized into various reports for future land management planning. The crew may also assist with other public land management projects involving wildlife, range, and forestry.
Crews maintain and track botanical specimens of known and unknown species throughout the field season and keep records updated as needed. The crew member will continuously learn the local flora and build botanical knowledge. The crew member should be passionate about both the soils, botanical, and other natural systems and have a willingness to grow and share that passion and knowledge with the crew lead and fellow crew member(s).
Fieldwork is often in remote areas. Using a government or company vehicle, crews are often required to drive to several different areas of the Field or District Office throughout a four- to eight-day work week (colloquially, “hitch”), camp overnight, share camp meals and chores, hike several miles per day, and return to the office for equipment and data management. Unconventional work hours, including 10 (sometimes 11) hour days, are expected.
*We have developed and successfully implemented protocols in precaution against COVID-19 transmission between crew personnel. Protocols address mask-wearing, cleaning, sanitation, on-the-job health reports, and isolation if necessary. Crews will ride in the same vehicle, go grocery shopping, and share camping and sampling equipment. Some remote accommodations for the periodic days of office work are available. Crews may be asked to be flexible and accommodating in using their personal space when the physical BLM office is less available for any reason.*
Crew Member’s Responsibilities
Assists in all aspects of data collection, management, and quality control. Assists in hitch preparation, transportation of crew in the work vehicle, and equipment maintenance. Continues to learn the local flora and soils from the crew lead and local resources and builds botanical, soils, and landscape knowledge. Takes an active role in their personal and professional development goals throughout the season.
Consistently exercises discretion and judgment. Completes mid-term and end-of-term written evaluations for self and crew lead. Maintains adequate and professional communication and systems of feedback between fellow crew folk. The crew member should be passionate about sound science principles and have curiosity as to how the AIM data might be utilized.
College coursework (2 years, at minimum) in ecology, botany, plant ecology, plant biology, plant systematics, soils science, geology, horticulture, natural resource management, environmental science, or a related field;
OR previous college- or professional-level experience in the above fields, plus familiarity with data collection and sound science principles
Eligible to accept a 900-hour service term with Americorps
Aged between 21 and 30 (civilian) or 35 (veteran) years upon hire
S. Citizenship or Lawful Permanent Residence and associated identification, including an image of a signed social security card AND another acceptable primary form of documentation
Able to produce identification as stipulated by I-9 upon hire
Valid US driver’s license and insurable driving record
Able to pass Conservation Legacy’s and the Department of Interior’s background checks
Experience with Microsoft Suite Software (Word, Excel, PowerPoint) or other data-collection software
Self-motivated and able to work independently with limited supervision after the initial training period. The applicant must be able to operate in both the office and the field.
Physically capable of standing and walking (at a maximum 6 miles/day, plus walking on plot, on rough, uneven terrain); bending, crouching and stooping for long periods of time; and lifting/carrying items that weigh up to 40 pounds, in upwards of 100 degree (F) heat while maintaining a professional demeanor.
Experience and willingness to spending multiple days (1-6 days at a time) car-camping in remote areas; familiarity or willingness to learn and adhere to best practices for field safety and Leave No Trace principles
Willing to spend several hours per day and/or per week riding in, navigating, and driving a company truck on- and off-highway.
Sound and fair physical and emotional risk assessment
Able to work in and respond to adverse weather conditions including extreme heat, monsoonal rains, and hazardous wildlife (i.e. rattlesnakes, scorpions, biting/stinging insects, horses)
Current, or ability to obtain: CPR, Wilderness First Aid, and Defensive Driver Training certificates
At least 1 to 2 years of experience using taxonomic keys to identify plants to species in the field, from photos, and from pressed specimens.
Familiarity with New Mexico or Colorado flora in general and Ackerfield’s Flora of Colorado, Flora Neomexicana, or other relevant keys is preferred.
Experience with floras from adjacent states to Colorado
Experience working in regions with high floristic diversity
Experience or interest in large scale, spatially-balanced monitoring designs
Experience or education using taxonomic soil keys or equivalent mechanism to identify ecological sites
Familiarity with the Colorado or New Mexico soils
Experience hand texturing various types of soils
Experience digging quality soil pits to characterize and document all horizons
Experience using soil series descriptions, web soil survey, or equivalent soil datasets
Experience working as part of a small team and able to work well with others
Excellent communication, organizational, and planning skills
Experience with handheld GPS units and External GNSS GPS antennae and basic troubleshooting
Experience with ArcGIS Online interface
Knowledge of downloading, using, and syncing ArcGIS Online Maps
Experience safely operating 4WD trucks on paved and unpaved roads, often in remote areas on unimproved roads, and driving for extended periods (2-3 hours at a time).
Experience working or recreating in rangeland or desert systems
How to ApplyTo apply, go to: https://sccorps.org/small-teams, and follow the "Apply Here!" link to the full position description and application portal. At the bottom of the position description is a "New Application" button to begin the application process. Application involves cover letter, resume/CV, at least two academic or professional (non-peer) references, and screening questions. Incomplete applications are given less weight. SCC offers several Ecological Monitoring crew positions across Colorado and New Mexico, mostly performing the terrestrial AIM methodology. If interested in multiple locations, please mention and rank locations of interest. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis. We anticipate beginning the interview process in late January. Apply now for advance consideration. Feel free to reach out to Ecological Monitoring Manager Cassandra Owen at firstname.lastname@example.org with questions.
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