Biological Science Technician (Plants) – Native Plant & Pollinator Program-Wisconsin

USDA Forest Service - Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest
Lakewood, WI
Job Category
Temporary/Seasonal Positions
GS-04 = $14.07/hour; GS-05 = $15.74/hour
Last Date to Apply
Up to two temporary summer positions will be offered on Lakewood's Native Plant and Pollinator Program (NP3) Crew in 2018, based on availability of funding: • Vacancy Announcement Number 18-TEMP-R9-PLNTS-4DT-RR is for a GS-0404-04 Biological Science Technician (Plants); and • Vacancy Announcement Number 18-TEMP-R9-PLNTS-5DT-RR is for a GS-0404-05 Biological Science Technician (Plants). WHERE - USDA Forest Service, Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest (CNNF), Lakewood-Laona Ranger District, WI. The Duty Station is Lakewood. Government housing is not available; we provide a list of potential short-term housing opportunities, and temporary employees secure their own housing. Work will be performed across the Forest's East Zone on Lakewood-Laona (LKLN) and Eagle River-Florence (ERFL) Ranger Districts. WHEN - May through August/September, 2018 (based on availability of funding, and with flexibility for start/end dates). Work schedule is primarily Monday through Thursday, 40 hours per week (e.g. 7:00am-5:30pm with a 30-minute lunch break), plus some evenings, weekends, and nights (scheduled in advance). DUTIES - 1) Survey for pollinators/plants/phenology The NP3 Crew’s main focus will be to continue last summer’s bee surveys (using pan traps and netting) at 10 East Zone field sites to help establish a consistent inventory for native bees across the 5 National Forests in the upper Great Lakes. The Crew will also be instrumental in helping with pollinator surveys for the large-scale Waupee Barrens Restoration Project in the Lakewood Southeast area. In addition, there could be opportunities to survey for pollinators at East Zone administrative sites, Catwillow Monarch Area, and wildlife openings, plus frost pockets (to monitor two State-Endangered species: Northern Blue Butterfly [Lycaeides idas] and its obligate host plant, Dwarf Bilberry [Vaccinium cespitosum]). In this way the NP3 has documented uncommon species, including the rare Yellow-banded Bumble Bee (Bombus terricola). 2) Propagate native plants and install and tend Demonstration Restoration Gardens (DRGs) The NP3 grows more than 45 species of local genotype herbaceous plants and the tiny shrub, Dwarf Bilberry, at the Oconto River Seed Orchard (ORSO), mostly for the DRGs at four District offices, ORSO, Boulder Lake Campground, and the Lost Lake Cabins. These gardens help build capacity to produce local-genotype native seeds while offering beauty, educational opportunities for students, inspiration for the public to landscape with native plants, and important pollinator habitat. The Crew will tend plants at ORSO and then augment gardens with more native plants and interpretive signs. All DRG’s will be tended and hand-weeded throughout summer. In September, Dwarf Bilberry will be out-planted to frost pockets. 3) Survey for bats at night Healthy bat populations need a wide diversity of native plant species to produce abundant insects for bats to eat, so bats can build up enough fat reserves to survive a winter with White Nose Syndrome (WNS). The NP3 Crew surveys for bats by driving acoustic transects and sometimes mist-netting. Acoustic surveys use an AnaBat Ultrasonic Bat Detector to survey from half hour after sunset until around 11 pm or so. Mist-netting involves working from the afternoon until shortly before dawn, helping with net set-up / take-down, data collection, and equipment decontamination afterwards (rabies vaccination is not required). These surveys are essential for documenting bat abundance now that WNS is in WI and MI. 4) Control non-native invasive plants (NNIP) and some native plants invading specific habitat While both the LKLN and ERFL Districts have dedicated crews to herbicide non-native, invasive terrestrial plants, the NP3 Crew’s assistance is essential to NNIP control. Back-pack sprayers are used for spot-application of herbicides at pollinator sites (ranging from small wildlife openings to former agricultural fields), often working with the “Weed Crews.” The NP3 DRGs also need hand-weeding, and there might be opportunities to work with local cooperative invasive species management areas (CISMAs). In addition, to maintain essential habitat for Dwarf Bilberry and the Northern Blue Butterfly, we control competing native vegetation in specific frost pockets each year. 5) Clean native plant seeds, collect seeds, and maintain the seed cache The Forest has a native Seed Cache at ORSO. Seed collection starts in June, and a wide variety of species are targeted. During inclement weather, there are previously-collected seeds to clean, processed seeds to add to the cache, and updates to be made to the cache inventory. The NP3 Crew will manage the Seed Cache, including receiving seeds that have been cleaned by partners, and fulfilling orders for seeds on the CNNF. 6) Engage the public and students in conservation education (CE) The NP3 Crew works hard to highlight the importance of native plants and pollinators in everyone’s lives, and to spread the word that native plants support all species (even grouse, deer, and bats!). CE opportunities across the East Zone include school forest events, Moth Adventures at campgrounds, presentations, and roving interpretation. In addition, high school interns and community volunteers might work alongside the Crew. 7) Other duties as assigned Diverse work occurs across the East Zone, providing opportunities to assist with additional duties if you have interest and there is enough time. In the past, the NP3 Crew has helped with avian point counts at dawn, nocturnal wolf howl surveys, frog and toad surveys, canoe surveys for loons and terns, rare plant surveys, wood turtle nest site construction and maintenance, trail clearing, stream improvement, and opening maintenance.
QUALIFICATIONS FOR GS-04 VERSUS GS-05 INCLUDE EDUCATION OR EXPERIENCE ... General qualifications to qualify as a GS-04 Crew Member based on EDUCATION: • “Successful completion of 2 years of study that included at least 12 semester hours in any combination of scientific or technical courses (such as biology, chemistry, statistics, entomology, animal husbandry, botany, physics, agriculture, or mathematics), and at least 6 of those semester hours of courses must be directly related to this position.” General qualifications to qualify as a GS-05 Crew Member based on EDUCATION: • “Successful completion of a full 4-year course of study leading to a bachelor's degree with major study or at least 24 semester hours in any combination of scientific or technical courses (such as biology, chemistry, statistics, entomology, animal husbandry, botany, physics, agriculture, or mathematics), and at least 6 of those semester hours of courses must be directly related to this position.” OR General qualifications to qualify as a GS-04 or GS-05 Crew Member based on SPECIALIZED EXPERIENCE: • "Experience must have been related to the work of this position, and to count as specialized experience, it is normally work performed in a controlled environment (examples include research activity or control program work, nursery work that required the growing and maintenance of plants in a controlled environment, or work comparable to that of a large dairy farm where production records, animal environment, and sanitary conditions were kept in accordance with modern dairy practice). Farming experience that was not performed in a controlled environment, or experience as a laborer who was not responsible for planning and scheduling his/her own work, but only performed assigned tasks, would not qualify as specialized experience.” AND SPECIFIC QUALIFICATIONS FOR THESE NP3 POSITIONS ... Required qualifications for NP3 Crew: • Enthusiasm for native plants and pollinators; • Highly motivated self-starter; • Able to occasionally work night shift and odd hours/evenings/weekends; • Able to perform labor in less than ideal conditions (e.g. heat, humidity, rain, mosquitoes, ticks); • Comfortable working alone or with others, in town or in remote areas; • Willing to chemically control non-native invasive plants; and • Possess a valid driver’s license. Preferred qualifications for NP3 Crew: • Able to identify WI pollinators, other insects and native/non-native plants; • Familiar with pollinator survey techniques; • Familiar with WI bats and survey techniques; and • Possess a Commercial Pesticide Applicator license. TO APPLY: • The only way to apply is through the USAJobs website ( between December 1 and December 7, 2017. • Use Vacancy Announcement # 18-TEMP-R9-PLNTS-4DT-RR or 18-TEMP-R9-PLNTS-5DT-RR, and Select Lakewood for Location. • Specify in your cover letter that you are applying for a position on Lakewood’s Native Plant and Pollinator Program (NP3) Crew. • Follow the application instructions, and upload all necessary attachments.
Contact Person
Nicole Shutt ( or Todd Trapp (
Contact eMail
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