The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), Florida Keys National Wildlife Refuges Complex is seeking two Biological Technicians to assist with the management of a island field station and a variety of native and non-native flora and fauna projects on Ballast Key and neighboring islands within Key West National Wildlife Refuge (NWR). This opportunity is intended for enthusiastic professionals interested in advancing their career goals in natural resources and/or wildlife management.
Key West NWR is one of four national wildlife refuges managed by USFWS within the Florida Keys NWR’s Complex. Key West NWR was established in 1908 as a preserve and breeding ground for native birds and other wildlife. The refuge consists of the Marquesas Keys and 14 other islands and encompasses more than 200,000 acres of islands and marine waters. The area is habitat for more than 250 species of birds and provides important habitat for green, loggerhead, and hawksbill sea turtles. Some of these islands are also home to the last wild populations of the endangered Miami blue butterfly.
Ballast Key is a 14-acre island located within Key West NWR. Lying 8 miles west of Key West, it is accessible only by boat. The island is being managed as a subtropical research station that supports marine and coastal scientific research and education. Interns selected will reside on Ballast Key to conduct their duties, there, and within other areas of Key West NWR during the duration of the internship.
Duties and Responsibilities:
Interns are expected to work 40+ hours/week. This may include nights, early mornings, and weekend work as needed. Volunteer work includes both biological (approximately 50%) and facility maintenance/ management (approximately 50%). Biological duties may include: manual invasive plant removal and animal control, native plant propagation and restoration, wildlife surveys, marine debris removal, data entry and report writing along with other tasks depending on refuge needs. Facility maintenance/ management duties may include: Welcoming researchers and other short-term volunteers to the island and giving those visitors an island orientation, infrastructure and grounds upkeep, generator use, solar system upkeep, catchment water purification and management, and other tasks depending on current projects and refuge needs.
Ballast Key is a remote site and receives supplies occasionally by boat. However, this may not be reliable, volunteers must be prepared to have all necessary amenities (i.e. toiletries and medications) with them upon arrival for a minimum of three months. Communication on island is limited and internet access can be unreliable at times. Transportation on island will primarily be by foot or golf cart. Weather conditions can be harsh with strong winds, tropical storms, and hot sun. Safety is of primary concern. Weather conditions are monitored and interns will be taken off island prior to an extreme weather event. Any medical concerns should be discussed prior to arrival to Ballast Key (i.e. adverse reactions to jelly fish or bee stings, food allergies, asthma, etc.). Due to current public health concerns, volunteers could be exposed to COVID-19 during their internship duties therefore must follow all protective measures implemented by the Service and the CDC.
Education- Applicants must have a Bachelor's degree (or be pursuing a Bachelor's degree) in wildlife biology, general biology, environmental science, marine science, natural resource management, parks and recreation, ecology or other related disciplines appropriate to the position or equivalent job experience in the realm of wildlife biology.
• Experience in field research and data collection.
• Plant and wildlife identification skills
• Ability to operate and repair equipment and perform operations in a safe manor.
• Excellent communication skills both verbal and written.
• Ability to manage time and priorities in an independent work environment.
• Working knowledge of common software applications (e.g.; Word, Excel, ArcGIS).
• Be in excellent physical and mental condition; able to walk miles a day over variable terrain, lift and carry 25 lbs., swim, and be able to perform repetitive stooping and bending motions
• Be able to perform all duties in inclement weather including high heat and humidity, strong winds, heavy rain and biting insects.
• Ability to kayak and paddleboard or willingness to learn
• Familiarity around water and comfortable on boats
• Must have a valid driver’s license.
• Knowledge of basic first aid and CPR.
To Apply: Please submit your resume, cover letter, and contact for three professional/academic references to email: Keydeer@fws.gov
For time periods 11/1/2021- 12/17/2021