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Neon Program Overview
The National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON) is a continental-scale observation facility funded by the National Science Foundation and operated by Battelle. The NEON program is designed to collect long-term, open access ecological data to better understand how U.S. ecosystems are changing, from freshwater systems such as streams, rivers, and lakes to terrestrial systems spanning tropical forests to deserts to tundra (neonscience.org). We depend on our people to collect observational data and samples, to monitor automated instrumented systems that collect terrestrial and aquatic data, and to operate our airborne observation platform that captures remote sensing data of regional landscapes and vegetation.
We are currently seeking a Lead Field Technician-Temporary. This position is in Jamestown, ND.
Lead Field Technicians supervise and perform seasonal and periodic sampling of physical, chemical, and biological data at one (1) to five (5) field sites, while exercising good judgement and decision-making abilities to interpret protocol requirements. Lead Field Technicians are assigned an area(s) of primary responsibility within the scope of data collection: botany, soils, entomology, mammalogy (except Puerto Rico and Hawaii), limnology (except Hawaii), or instrumentation.
Field observations and collection are conducted using approximately 30 different protocols and multiple Standard Operating Procedures with varying schedule requirements based on local ecosystem and field conditions.
Individuals are responsible for their own housing and transportation to primary work location.
West of the Mississippi and east of the Rockies lies a northern landscape dominated by wide-open spaces, prairie grasslands and an abundance of agriculture. Welcome to the Northern Plains Domain, Domain 09. Located in the prairie pothole region in the northern prairie, our field sites are dominated by a mix of wetlands and grasslands. This region is known as the ‘duck factory’ of North America it is prime habitat for many migrating birds, as well as deer, coyote, and grazing cattle. NEON sites in the Northern Plains Domain are managed from our Jamestown, ND office.
Work Environment and Physical Demands
The work involves walking, hiking, prolonged standing, bending, and kneeling. Heavy items, equipment and packs up to 40 pounds, must be lifted and carried on a routine basis. Field work includes exposure to extreme temperatures, inclement weather, rough and variable terrain, toxic plants (e.g., poison ivy, hogweed), stinging and biting insects, and wildlife hazards. Instrument maintenance involves performing work on instrument towers ranging in height from 24 feet to 300 feet, which includes ascending and descending multiple flights of stairs. Driving off-road in 4WD vehicles is required for most field sites.
Work Schedule and Travel
Work schedules are typically 8-10 hours per day but can occasionally be 12+ hours per day, including split shifts (off in the middle of the day), starting before dawn and/or ending after dusk, and weekends depending on the work assignment. The ratio of field to lab work is about 75% field and 25% office and lab duties.
Frequent overnight travel (e.g., monthly for 3-4 nights) is required. Transportation to remote work locations and per diem allowance is provided while on overnight travel.
Start Dates: March-May 2023
End Dates: August-October 2023
Perform and supervise field assignments in a variety of conditions (e.g., weather, terrain, diverse assigned biomes, etc.).
Provide training to seasonal and temporary field personnel.
Follow established, standardized field procedures for sample collection; record data from sample collection in handheld tablets, computers, etc.; process and ship samples.
Perform Q/C checks on collected data.
Navigate to field sites and sampling locations.
Report activities and completed work according to protocol.
Follow safety policy and procedures.
Report issues with implementation of procedures and coordinate resolution.
Assist with routine administrative duties, special projects and other duties as assigned.
High School Diploma.
Undergraduate upper-level coursework in ecology, forestry, environmental or related scientific field.
One (1) – two (2) years of ecological field sampling or related experience.
Willingness to perform maintenance and field sampling outdoors in sparsely populated, remote locations, with distances ranging from 1/2 hour to 6 hours from the Domain office. Overnight travel, hiking off trail, and wading in water are typical in most locations.
Willingness and ability to work varied field operations schedules (up to 12+ hours per day), including split-shift, part-time, pre-dawn early mornings, evenings, and weekends.
Ability to hike off trail, long distances, on uneven terrain, at remote locations, in all types of weather, carrying packs weighing up to 40lbs. Ability to walk, hike, stand, bend, and kneel for prolonged periods.
Willingness and ability to learn and perform procedures and methods outside of the primary responsibility.
Ability to work on instrument towers ranging in height from 26 feet to 240 feet and at altitudes of up to 11,000 feet (depending on assigned Domain), involving the ability to ascend and descend multiple flights of stairs.
Ability to withstand exposure to fumes, dust, and noise. Field work may require frequent exposure to toxicodendrons (e.g., poison ivy and poison oak), ticks, biting insects and other natural hazards.
Excellent verbal and written communication and interpersonal skills. Ability to follow written and verbal instructions.