Seasonal Herpetological Technician (Hourly): Illinois

Illinois Natural History Survey
Northeastern Illinois
Job Category
Temporary/Seasonal Positions
$15 per hour - field housing provided
Start Date
Last Date to Apply
The Illinois Natural History Survey and the Population and Community Ecology Lab (PaCE Lab) is seeking 2 motivated and passionate individuals to aid in the conservation of Illinois amphibians and reptiles. Motivated Technicians will collect demographic data on the federally threatened Eastern Massasauga and state endangered Blanding’s Turtle. Eastern Massasauga research will consist of visual encounter surveys within a long-term population study framework and research associated with this project will end around April 30, 2023. Blanding’s Turtle research will begin around mid-to late-April in Northeastern Illinois. Blanding’s Turtle work will focus on capture-mark-recapture methods (CMR) telemetry with VHF and GPS transmitters. These are seasonal positions. One position will run from March 1, 2023, through April 30, 2023. The other position will run from March 1, 2023, through October 30, 2023, or until seasonal work is complete. Positions may be extended depending on funding and programmatic need. Technicians will work remotely, either independently or in a team, to collect population-level data (counts, morphometrics, and marking). Duties include data collection, recording, entry, proofing, and preparing summaries for quarterly reports. Technicians will be responsible for decontaminating sampling equipment, maintaining equipment, collecting tissue samples, and operating various hand tools, electronics, and mechanical equipment such as 4WD/UTV vehicles Work is performed in woodland, prairie, and wetland environments where there is exposure to extreme and inclement weather and temperature. The work requires moderate to strenuous physical exertion such as long periods of standing, walking over rough, uneven, steep, and/or muddy surfaces, bending, crouching, stretching, lifting, and carrying up to 50 lb., long hours in the field can be expected with potential work on the weekend and some holidays, pending crew scheduling. The duration of the season will be from early March through October 2023. Multi-day trips or long-term housing at study sites are necessary, with overnight travel required. We will provide fleet vehicles, kayaks, motorboats, and UTVs for all fieldwork during such travel. When conducting fieldwork, we will provide field housing at the Eastern Massasauga site. Housing for Blanding’s Turtle work will be on-site field housing. Depending on funding, work ethic, and productivity, at least one position may be extended into the following year.
Required: Must have bachelor’s degree in Zoology, Ecology, Wildlife, Natural Resources, or related field and have knowledge and experience in amphibian and reptile identification by sight (adults, juveniles). Must have some or a combination of experience with snake ecology, venomous snakes, freshwater turtles, or radio telemetry. Must have proven experience conducting data-intensive field research with meticulous data collection and working effectively and efficiently. Applicants must be able to work independently and as part of a team. The candidate must have a valid driver’s license. Working with computer and tablet applications, including Microsoft Office, is required. Candidate must be physically able to hike to sites and work outside under adverse field conditions including, but not limited to, biting insects, rain, sleet, snow, heat, humidity, and uneven terrain while carrying field equipment. Preferred: Preference will be given to candidates who can operate UTVs, 4-wheel drive trucks, kayaks, and tow trailers. Experience with File Maker Pro is preferred. Salary: $15 per hour; up to 40 hours per week. The Eastern Massasauga position will start on or before 1 March 2023 and end on 30 April 2023. The Eastern Massasauga/Blanding’s Turtle position will start on or before 1 March 2023 and end on October 30, 2023. To Apply: To ensure full consideration, applications must be received by February 10, 2023 (Electronic Applications are required). If interested, please submit via email a cover letter, resume/CV, and the names and contact information for three professional references in one PDF file to Ethan Kessler at . (Reference “PaCELab Seasonal HerpTech” in subject line). In the body of your email, please state your preference of project. (Eastern Massasauga or Eastern Massasauga/Blanding’s Turtle) Technical questions can be directed to Dr. Ethan Kessler at
Contact Person
Dr. Ethan Kessler
Contact eMail
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