Monarch Butterfly Habitat Monitoring Field Technician (CA)

Monarch Joint Venture
Job Category
Temporary/Seasonal Positions
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Last Date to Apply
Join the growing team of the Monarch Joint Venture, a nonprofit dedicated to conserving the monarch butterfly migration across North America. We are hiring two teams of field technicians (two persons each) to study monarch butterfly breeding and migratory habitat on California Bureau of Land Management land throughout the state. Position is full time, approximately 40 hours per week, with the possibility of paid overtime. Qualified candidates must be able to commit to the full term of the monitoring season, drive long distances with their partner, and live away from home during the project dates, including on weekends. Technicians will travel extensively throughout the state, collecting biological data on monarch butterflies and their habitat, including milkweed, and other floral resources using an established monitoring protocol. Surveys will also include establishing and documenting permanent, long-term monitoring plots, mapping observations of milkweed, and collecting milkweed seed. Opportunities to support education and outreach events are also expected. Field technicians will receive two weeks of paid training in February, prior to the start of the season. This will include a week of virtual training and a week of in-person training. Technicians will be expected to arrive at an in-person training location in south-central California. A field vehicle and necessary equipment, fuel, and lodging costs (7 days a week) are covered by the project grant. Travel to and from the training and work area at the beginning and end of the field season, food, and additional personal travel costs are the responsibility of the employee. Field season lodging will include a combination of camping and hotel or rental accommodations, to be determined by the field crew each week, with a given budget. Responsibilities (A) Conduct monarch and vegetation surveys throughout California (90%) Navigate to survey sites to perform monarch and vegetation surveys using a standardized protocol. Establish and document permanent monitoring plots. Document the topographic and biological features of each site, count monarch host plants (milkweeds), identify plant species and record their frequency, examine milkweeds for monarch eggs and caterpillars, and count adult monarchs. Specific duties include: Training and field season preparation (5%). General onboarding procedures including organizational operations and safety training. Learn standard operating procedures for site visits. Prepare travel schedules and site survey routes, and contact site managers/owners. Field data collection (65%). Conduct field surveys. Data collection involves walking a series of transects at each site and recording the information within 1-m2 quadrats, examining milkweed for monarch eggs and larvae within a 1-ha area, and recording adult monarchs observed along a transect or incidentally. Data and field logistics management (20%). Maintain, organize, and enter field data on tablets/computers (provided by MJV) throughout the season. Maintain a travel schedule and secure lodging as the season progresses with guidance and direction from the field supervisor. Conduct data proofing and correction to ensure data accuracy. Maintain regular contact with MJV staff and field site contacts. (B) Train others in Integrated Monarch Monitoring Program protocols and/or participate in education and outreach events (5%) Technicians may assist in training local conservation staff and volunteers to conduct monitoring and enter data following Integrated Monarch Monitoring Program (IMMP) protocols. Trainings include informal field excursions and connecting trainees to IMMP resources for further learning. Participate in public education and outreach events focused on conservation, monarch science, and public lands access. (C) Additional duties as assigned (5%) Conduct additional duties related to this field study as the need arises. Tasks may include, but are not limited to, contacting site managers for habitat management data, organizing or generating media content and training tools, or preparing data or data collection tools for future use. How to Apply Submit a single PDF document titled “LastName FirstName_Field Technician” that includes: 1) Your resume (1-2 pages max) 2) Responses to the following three prompts (NO COVER LETTERS will be accepted; responses should not exceed five sentences per prompt): Describe your previous experience identifying plant and/or insect species. Summarize your most relevant and significant field research experience, including your role in leading or organizing it if applicable. Tell us about an experience overcoming a challenge in a professional setting. 3) The names and contact information for 2 references. Send application materials by email to with the subject line “Field Technician Application” What to Expect Successful applications will be invited to a 45-minute interview via Zoom with 1-2 MJV staff members. References may be contacted after this interview. While unlikely, a potential short second interview may be requested as needed in final decision making. Ideally, positions will be filled by the end of 2022. All candidates will be notified via email if their application is no longer being considered.
Essential Skills: Field technicians must have experience in the fields of biology, botany, wildlife, or another related field. Technicians must be able to work both independently and in close collaboration with a teammate. Work will entail long days of driving and collecting plant and insect data in direct sunlight, high temperatures, and buggy or other harsh field conditions. Technicians must be comfortable interacting with private landowners, the public, and/or agency staff, and available to spend overnights in distant or remote locations (e.g., camping). The positions require excellent verbal communication skills, attention to detail, and the ability to enter data accurately onto a mobile device and computer. Valid driver’s license is also required. Desired Skills: Experience collecting plant and insect data or implementing other field monitoring protocols. Knowledge of California milkweed species and other flora. Experience with GIS and navigating with a GPS or compass. Coursework or experience identifying plants and insects.
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