Summary: American Conservation Experience, a Nonprofit Conservation Corps, in partnership with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is seeking ONE Wildlife Member to assist in support of refuge wildlife biology programs at the Mississippi Sandhill Crane National Wildlife Refuge.
This Refuge is located in Jackson County in extreme southeast Mississippi, less than 10 miles from the Gulf Coast. It is part of the Gulf Coast Refuge Complex which includes Grand Bay and Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuges located on the coasts of Mississippi and Alabama.
The Mississippi Sandhill Crane National Wildlife Refuge was established in 1975 to protect and preserve the Mississippi sandhill crane and its critical wet pine savanna habitat. The refuge consists of approximately 19,300 acres in three main units that include savanna, coastal prairie, cypress swamp strands, pine flatwoods, and brackish marsh. The refuge is the only home of this endangered non-migratory subspecies of sandhill crane and provides valuable habitat for the endangered dusky gopher frog (DGF) and several declining grassland birds like the Henslow’s sparrow, yellow rail, sedge wren, and numerous species of unique and rare plants.
Start Date: October 2021
End Date: October 2022
**52-week commitment required**
Location: SE Mississippi, 10 miles from the Gulf Coast
Project Website: To learn more about the Mississippi Sandhill Crane National Wildlife Refuge, please visit https://www.fws.gov/refuge/Mississippi_Sandhill_Crane/
To learn more about ACE EPIC Program, please visit: www.usaconservation.org.
Living Allowance: The ACE member will receive a living allowance of $250/week for food and incidental expenses, paid bi-weekly.
Housing: The member is stationed at the Refuge Headquarters/Visitor Center building. Housing will be at the Refuge owned Bunkhouse less than 200 yard from the HQ. The Bunkhouse is air-conditioned, has five bedrooms, two bathrooms, a full kitchen, laundry facilities, and a TV. A Refuge vehicle for refuge activities is provided. A personal vehicle is required for travel in the area. The towns of Gautier and Ocean Springs are a 7 to 15 minute drive.
AmeriCorps: This 52-week placement may be eligible for a 1700-hour AmeriCorps Education Award ($6,195) upon successful completion of internship service hours. Additional enrollment is required.
Public Land Corps (PLC) Non-competitive Hiring Authority: Members serving on this project may be eligible to receive a Department of the Interior (DOI) PLC non-competitive hiring authority certificate upon completion of their term of service. Eligible members must meet standard requirements of completing at least 640 hours (16 weeks at 40 hours/week) and utilize their certificate when applying for qualifying federal positions within 2 years of receipt and before the age of 31. More information can be provided upon request.
Age Requirements: Funding for many ACE positions is provided by a federal program designed specifically for the employment of youth and young adults and therefore is subject to minimum and maximum age requirements of 18-30 (35 for veterans).
This position requires ACE or FWS vehicle operation in the performance of the duties and therefore the minimum age to be considered is 21.
Work Schedule: Work schedule is Monday through Friday, 7:00 am to 3:30 pm with a half hour lunch. However, the ACE member will be required to work outside normal hours, particularly during critical seasons of the year. At times, tasks may require starting before daylight, working into the late afternoon and/or evening, working during the night until sunrise, or may include a portion of a weekend. In the field, lunch or other breaks may not be at scheduled times, but when convenient to accomplish work objective(s).
Work Environment: The duties require predominantly outdoor work (90%). This includes very hot and humid summer days and nights. Outside, the intern will encounter variable weather conditions (including high heat, high humidity, and rain), smoke, biting and stinging insects, ticks, thorny and poisonous plants, and venomous snakes. Contact with herbicide may occur if treating invasive plant species. The ACE member is expected to perform duties in a safe and orderly manner so as not to endanger self, co-workers, or property when entrusted.
The member works in support of refuge wildlife biology programs, particularly recovery of the endangered dusky gopher frog (DGF).
Duties for this position will include:
- Prepare metamorph rearing tanks
- Head-start DGF tadpoles for release
- Weigh, measure, and tag metamorphic frogs for release
- Release metamorphic DGF into pond
- Monitor translocated DGF using drift fence
- Monitor DGF breeding by using egg mass observations, drift fence, and automated audio recorder
- Monitor recruitment by using drift fence and dip nets.
- Monitor hydroperiod, temperature, and pH of DGF release pond
- Maintain accurate and detailed field records and enter data promptly and accurately into databases
- Maintain rearing tanks and audio recording equipment
- Assist in endangered Mississippi sandhill crane recovery activities including visual monitoring, radio telemetry, camera traps, and nest surveys
- Assist with other wildlife surveys which may include calling frogs, secretive marsh birds, and grassland birds
- Participate in habitat management and monitoring including invasive plant control and mapping, mechanical treatment of woody vegetation, and vegetation surveys
- Maintain accurate and detailed field records and enter data promptly and accurately
- Assist with Refuge public outreach including visitor contact and environmental education
- Other duties as assigned
- The ACE member will interact with their supervisor, other Refuge biologists, research associates, interns, refuge staff, visiting research personnel, refuge volunteers, local private landowners, and the general public throughout their term.
- The member is supervised by the Refuge Wildlife Biologist on site, and their ACE EPIC Support Specialist remotely.
- DGF work involves handling tadpoles and metamorphic and adult frogs, weighing, measuring, and injecting identification tags under the skin and in the body cavity of metamorphic and adult frogs, and running the drift fence between sunset and sunrise. Work may involve lifting items up to 50 pounds. Hand and finger dexterity and physical coordination may involve fine and precise work, delicate adjustments, or exact measurements.
Qualifications: Competitive applicants for this position can hold or be pursuing a bachelor’s degree in wildlife biology, botany, natural resource management, or other related discipline appropriate to this position.
- Knowledge of natural sciences
- Ability to work independently as well as part of small teams
- Writing skills with an understanding of basic grammar, punctuation, and spelling
- Attention to detail
- Ability to effectively communicate with supervisor and coworkers
- Ability to work in very hot, humid, and buggy conditions
- Ability to work in physically demanding conditions, involving walking over uneven terrain, wading through water, sitting in small blinds for large periods, capturing and handling large birds, amphibians, and reptiles
- Willing to work varying hours including before sunrise or at night
- Ability to record accurate field data
- Familiarity with Microsoft Office software
- Willingness to wear ACE EPIC Uniform in professional manner each day, and if applicable, display the AmeriCorps logo prominently (weather contingent)
- Ability and willingness to undergo a Federal criminal background check
- Must have a valid driver’s license, be 21 years of age to drive a vehicle, provide documentation of a clean driving record, and have a personal vehicle (required)
- Must take all measures possible to ensure the safety of yourself and others and understand all safety precautions involved
- Education in wildlife ecology, management, or conservation science
- Experience conducting biological surveys
- Experience in wildlife monitoring
- Experience capturing and handling animals
- Experience working with herptiles
- Experience conducting invasive plant management
- Basic GPS and GIS skills
Please note: Marijuana and other controlled substances are not allowed at any time during the performance of duties including while on federal property or in a FWS or ACE vehicle, regardless of State law or qualified medical marijuana card status.
To Apply: Please submit your resume, unofficial academic transcripts, cover letter demonstrating your interest and experience, and contact information for three professional/academic references to the online application page for this position which Handshake will redirect applicants to. ***Academic transcripts are required for verification of related coursework and professional development purposes, as opposed to evaluating prior academic performance.
NOTE: Early consideration will be given as applications are received. This position may close at any time. If you have any questions regarding this position please feel free to contact ACE EPIC USFWS Division Support Specialist, Danielle Ramsden, firstname.lastname@example.org or (208) 869 3555.
EEO: American Conservation Experience provides equal employment opportunities (EEO) to all employees and applicants for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability or genetics. In addition to federal law requirements, American Conservation Experience complies with applicable state and local laws governing non-discrimination in employment in every location in which the company has facilities.