Summary: American Conservation Experience (ACE) is a nonprofit Conservation Corps that is currently seeking energetic, ambitious emerging conservation and restoration professionals to participate as AmeriCorps members in a 450 hour program of outdoor skills training focused on Habitat Restoration.
A 13 week (450 Hour) commitment is required. There may be opportunities available to continue with ACE after your term for the best performing crew members. Extensions of service are also dependent on merit, available projects in the field and seasonal constraints. It is a 6 member crew (one Crew Leader & one Assistant Team Leader).
Start Date: August 10th (first day (of 4 day) virtual orientation)
First day in Field: August 16th, 2021
Estimated End Date: November 13th, 2021
Location: Quivira National Wildlife Refuge - Stafford, Kansas & Marais Des Cygnes National Wildlife Refuge - Linn County, Kansas
Schedule: All participants must be flexible and willing to be assigned to a variety of locations and for multiple agencies, wherever the community needs are the highest. Project schedules vary greatly, but typically habitat restoration Corps Members will be assigned to a long-term project. Long-term project assignments are necessary to extend advanced training to crew members, as well as invest your skills and commitment to see a project through to completion.
Crew Members' project schedule consists of multiple short-term "hitches" on average 4-5 days long. ACE provides a schedule to active members clearly detailing your service days, days off, location, and more.
Members will receive a Living Allowance Stipend of $200/week, paid bi-weekly.
Corps Members obtain an Education Award for the amount of $1,538.36 (450 hour) upon successful completion of service.
ACE provides Corps Members with food on project days; Corps Members are responsible for providing their own food on off-days.
ACE provides Corps members with housing on and off project.
Gear: ACE provides each member with their own tent. The member will provide his or her own sleeping bag, sleeping pad, rain gear, and hiking boots. Upon acceptance to the program, Corps Members will receive a more extensive packing list. Weather during this time of year can be highly variable, bring layers and adequate rain gear, but expect hot midwest summer heat.
Travel: ACE provides transportation to and from worksites; personal vehicles are not necessary throughout the member's term of service. ACE does not provide relocation assistance.
Position Description: Quivira National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) provides critical habitat for central flyway migratory birds, federally and state listed species such as whooping crane, least tern, and Western snowy plover. Several hundred acres of the 22,135 acre refuge are impacted by invasive plant species, affecting native plant communities and wildlife habitat by changing biological diversity and altering ecosystem function. Quivira NWR implements invasive species management on the refuge by partnering with American Conservation Experience (ACE) to restore native habitat associated with open grassland, and various wetland types. This project supports the Mission of the Service by working with others to conserve, protect and enhance wildlife habitat for the continuing benefit of the American People.
Marais de Cygnes NWR is 7,730 acres of bottomland hardwood forest surrounding the Marais des Cygnes river in southeast Kansas. This somewhat unique Kansas habitat includes native tallgrass prairie uplands and wetlands which surround the hardwood forests. These prairie and wetland habitats are used by waterfowl for spring and fall migration. The refuge is interspersed with private lands and also surrounded by roads. This combination creates a major source of invasive plant invasion to the ecosystem. In removing the vining invasive species on this refuge, the ecosystems of edges can return to the historical bottomland status. Native plant species will then thrive allowing migratory birds to feed, rest, and nest on the refuge.
They will receive training for complex invasive species removal, habitat restoration, and environmental restoration projects under the guidance of ACE's most highly skilled staff members and industry professionals.
Control techniques will be both by mechanical (using hand tools) and chemical means. One goal is to reduce cover of invasive plant species at Quivira National Wildlife Refuge, crews will aid in the restoration of the 22-miles of riparian habitat. Restoration, especially invasive species management, is a long-term, multi-faceted, multi-year endeavor. Crews will also aid in the restoration of refuge grasslands and wetlands by treating at least 600 acres of upland and wetland habitats of non-native trees and invasive grasses. Another crew goal is reducing cover of fuel loads and providing maintenance to public use trails. Lastly, crew will rehab/reduce barbed-wire and electric fence to improve grazing program. Crew Members are afforded opportunities to learn and train under the guidance of professional mentors within ACE, while gaining invaluable career perspectives working alongside staff for the duration of a project from the National Wildlife Refuges. Two thirds of the work will be done at Quivira NWR followed by one third of the work at Marais Des Cygnes National Wildlife Refuges.
AmeriCorps Members will also gain leadership skills while implementing field safety principles in a team environment. Leadership, responsibility, and professionalism are not only encouraged they are expected on off-days and at ACE housing. Each member is required to participate in at least one environmental volunteer event (Volunteer Service Project VSP). The goal is to represent AmeriCorps, inspire service, and complete environmental volunteer service alongside local residents for the common good.
All ACE field work is physically demanding, often requiring extended stays in the field. This position requires hiking, backpacking, camping and cooking outdoors while in the front country.
Field work and other duties might include but are not limited to:
Invasive species removal
Inventory and monitoring
Grid walk surveys
Common Activities, Tools and Gear that you will find on ACE restoration projects: Handsaws, Loppers, Backpack sprayers, Chainsaws, Dobber bottles, GPS units, Biltmore sticks, Hatchets, Brush cutters, Hand-weeding, Native Species Planting, Live Staking, Erosion control, Spill kit expertise, Hand wash station set up, Wind meter, Pesticide label literate.
Applicants must be capable of performing physically demanding labor on environmental and conservation projects for 10 hours a day. Applicants should expect to hike extended distances on rough terrain carrying 40 lbs, and be prepared to spend 8 consecutive days in the field, on one project. Corps Members will work in a variety of weather conditions such as temperatures ranging from below freezing to over 100 degrees Fahrenheit, high winds, intense sunshine, rain, and snow. AmeriCorps Members serving with ACE should have an interest in topics like biology, botany (both native and invasive), wildlife ecology, forestry, biodiversity, and habitat restoration are a must. The desire to constantly stay educated and informed about the pesticides and methods we use. We are looking for Corps Members that finish tasks thoroughly and will triple check areas for invasives.
ACE's Conservation Corps program is meant as a stepping stone to environmental careers and as a gateway to potential advancement within ACE, not only as an interesting and rewarding way to spend several weeks working in beautiful locations.
U.S. Citizen or permanent resident
Must be between the ages of 18 and 30 or up to 35 for veterans
Able and willing to work in a group
Positivity + Attention to detail + Unwavering work ethic and drive
Able and willing to work outdoors in varying weather conditions and capable of hiking moderate distances in somewhat rough terrain during inclement weather conditions
Ability and willingness to undergo a Federal criminal background check
The member must be willing to represent ACE and AmeriCorps in a professional, positive, and enthusiastic manner. ACE has a zero tolerance policy for illegal drugs (including recreational use of Marijuana) and underage drinking. ACE reserves the right to require drug testing.
Experience in hiking and navigation in steep terrain
Strong desire to enter the conservation field as a natural resource professional
Experience or interest in volunteering in local communities
Please submit a resume and cover letter along with 3 professional references using the APPLY NOW section located on the upper right hand corner of the position listing on our website here: https://usaconservationepic.applicantpool.com/jobs/