Mountain goat and American pika field technician: Utah

Utah State University
La Sal Mountains, near Moab, UT
Job Category
Temporary/Seasonal Positions
Start Date
Last Date to Apply
We are hiring one field technician from July 1– September 1, 2021 to assist with a research project investigating the ecological and behavioral interactions between mountain goats and American pikas. This work is in collaboration with an ongoing pika monitoring project through Colorado Mesa University; thus, there may be an opportunity to assist with pika trapping and tagging efforts during the first week of August. Primary technician duties will include conducting behavioral observations on both mountain goats and American pikas, careful recording and organization of data on datasheets and/or tablets, care and maintenance of field equipment, assisting with grazing exclosure prototyping, and sample collection (scat, soil, and plants). Our camp and field site are located in the La Sal Mountains, near the town of Moab, UT. When we are working, we will be camped in the backcountry at approximately 10,700’ for 5+ days at a time. Housing in Moab is not provided. Although breathtakingly scenic, accessing camp and the field site is physically demanding. The hike into camp is about 2 miles in total, with 1.5 miles on an established trail and 0.5 mile of backcountry travel. The animals we will be observing are at the top of a ridge with an elevation of ~12,100’, about 1,400’ above our camp. We will hike to the ridge and back to camp 1-2 times almost every day. The majority of our work hours will be concentrated early in the morning and late afternoon and will involve strenuous hiking on rocky talus slopes. Scouting out potential grazing exclosure locations will involve up to 5 miles of hiking and up to 3,000’ of elevation gain. Weather conditions throughout the summer can be variable, including afternoon thunderstorms. When we are not working, there will be opportunities to explore Utah’s southeast desert, including Arches and Canyonlands National Parks, and surrounding areas. There are many climbing areas, hiking and mountain biking trails nearby, as well as the Colorado River.
Required: 1. Interest in wildlife ecology, conservation, or related field. 2. Enthusiasm for watching cool/cute animals for extended periods at a time. 3. Enthusiasm for and ability to hike long days at high elevations (9,000-12,000 ft) in steep, uneven terrain, both on and off trails. 4. Excellent physical fitness and ability to carry a heavy pack (50 lbs). 5. Familiar with navigation by maps, compass, and GPS. 6. Willingness to work long and irregular hours, sometimes in the summer heat and/or inclement weather. 7. Ability to work well in a small team in remote settings without reliable access to cell service. 8. Organized, detail-oriented, strong work ethic, and evidence of independent problem-solving/troubleshooting ability. 9. Ability to maintain a positive attitude and a growth mindset about project setbacks and/or physical exertion and discomfort. 10. Experience in outdoor leadership and/or backcountry travel, including leave-no-trace camping ethics. 11. Bear awareness and ability to keep a bear safe camp. Preferred: 1. Completed or near completion of a Bachelor’s degree in wildlife ecology or related field. 2. Hiking and backpacking experience. 3. Experience collecting behavioral data. 4. Experience identifying alpine plant species. 5. Knowledge of and experience with wilderness first aid techniques. To apply: Please email one PDF document containing, CV, cover letter detailing your interest in this position as well as your wildlife and outdoor (hiking, backpacking, etc.) experience, and contact information for three references to Please name the file YOURLASTNAME_LaSal2021.pdf and include “Mountain goat and American pikaTechnician” in the subject line of the email. We will start reviewing applications immediately and continue until the position is filled”
Contact Person
Mallory Sandoval Lambert
Contact eMail
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