Wildlife Support Member - Mississippi Sandhill Crane National Wildlife Refuge
ACE EPIC placements provide young adults with focused, hands-on opportunities to work alongside and under the guidance of agency mentors as they apply their knowledge of resource management on their path to becoming the next generation of resource and land managers.
Funding for ACE positions is provided by a federal program designed specifically for the employment of youth and young adults.
For more information about ACE, please visit: www.usaconservation.org.
Summary: American Conservation Experience (ACE), a non-profit conservation corps, in partnership with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), is seeking 2 Wildlife Support Members to support biology projects alongside Mississippi Sandhill Crane National Wildlife Refuge Staff. During this term, the ACE member will provide support and assistance under the guidance and direction of FWS staff in support of refuge wildlife biology programs, particularly recovery of the endangered dusky gopher frog (DGF) and the Mississippi sandhill crane.
Start Date: October 2022
End Date: October 2023
**52-week commitment required, approximately 2080 hours**
Location: Mississippi Sandhill Crane National Wildlife Refuge, Gautier, MS
This Refuge is located in Jackson County in extreme southeast Mississippi, less than 10 miles from the Gulf Coast. It is part of the Gulf Coast Refuge Complex which includes Grand Bay and Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuges located on the coasts of Mississippi and Alabama.
The Mississippi Sandhill Crane National Wildlife Refuge was established in 1975 to protect and preserve the Mississippi sandhill crane and its critical wet pine savanna habitat. The refuge consists of approximately 19,300 acres in three main units that include savanna, coastal prairie, cypress swamp strands, pine flatwoods, and brackish marsh. The refuge is the only home of this endangered non-migratory subspecies of sandhill crane (crane) and provides valuable habitat for the endangered dusky gopher frog (DGF) and several declining grassland birds like the Henslow’s sparrow, yellow rail, sedge wren, and numerous species of unique and rare plants.
For more information about Mississippi Sandhill Crane National Wildlife Refuge, please visit: https://www.fws.gov/refuge/mississippi-sandhill-crane
Work Schedule: Duties will primarily be carried out Monday - Friday, 7:00 am to 3:30 pm with a half hour lunch. Bi-weekly totals should not exceed 80 hours. A flexible work schedule will be required, which could involve work performed outside of normal work hours including early mornings or late evenings, on weekends and/or holidays. Time off may be granted and requests should be directed to ACE and the FWS for approval.
Living Allowance: The ACE Member is expected to contribute approximately 40 hours/week and will receive a living allowance of $350/week to offset the costs of food and incidental expenses, dispersed bi-weekly.
Housing: ACE members will be accommodated in provided agency housing at no cost for the duration of the term.When residing in FWS provided-housing or on FWS lands, strict adherence to site specific policies and/or regulations is required. Housing will be at the Refuge owned Bunkhouse less than 200 yard from the HQ. The Bunkhouse is air-conditioned, has five bedrooms, two bathrooms, a full kitchen, laundry facilities, and a TV. A Refuge vehicle for refuge activities is provided. A personal vehicle is required for travel in the area. The towns of Gautier and Ocean Springs are a 7 to 15 minute drive.
AmeriCorps: This position may be eligible for a 1700-hour AmeriCorps Education Award ($6,345.00) upon successful completion of service hours. Additional enrollment is required.
Public Land Corps (PLC) Non-competitive Hiring Authority: Members serving on this project may be eligible to receive a Department of the Interior (DOI) PLC non-competitive hiring authority certificate upon completion of their term of service. Eligible members must meet standard requirements of completing at least 640 hours (16 weeks at 40 hours/week) and utilize their certificate when applying for qualifying federal positions within 2 years of receipt. PLC projects also include specific eligibility requirements such as age and citizenship. Please contact ACE staff with questions about eligibility.
This individual placement is meant to facilitate personal growth and professional development and promotes exposure to land management agencies and networking with agency professionals. This could include gaining experience in a variety of conservation fields and/or shadowing different work groups.
The member will provide support and assistance under the guidance and direction of FWS staff in the accomplishment of:
-Headstart and release DGF.
-Prepare metamorph rearing tanks.
-Head-start DGF tadpoles for release including daily tank checks
-Weigh, measure, and tag metamorphic frogs for release
-Release metamorphic DGF into pond
-Clean and store rearing tanks
-Monitor translocated DGF using drift fence
-Monitor DGF breeding by using egg mass observations, drift fence, and automated audio recorder
-Monitor recruitment by using drift fence and dip nets.
-Monitor hydroperiod, temperature, and pH of DGF release ponds
-Acclimate and release captive-reared cranes
-prepare acclimation pens and blinds
-conduct daily checks, husbandry as needed, and conduct time budgets.
-Monitor endangered crane recovery
-Conduct visual monitoring, blind surveys, radio telemetry, camera traps, and nest surveys.
-Capture and attach bands/transmitters.
-Maintain accurate and detailed field records and enter data promptly and accurately into databases
-Maintain rearing tanks and audio recording equipment, drift fence, crane feeders, camera traps, bownet and other crane traps.
-Assist with other wildlife surveys which may include calling frogs, secretive marsh birds, and grassland birds, Audubon Climate Watch, Christmas Bird Count, & acoustical bat.
-Participate in habitat management and monitoring including invasive plant control and mapping, mechanical treatment of woody vegetation, and vegetation surveys
-Maintain accurate and detailed field records and enter data promptly and accurately
-Assist with Refuge public outreach including visitor contact and environmental education
-Other duties as assigned
Physical Requirements: This position requires physical exertion such as walking long distances over wet and rough surfaces while carrying up to 40 lbs.; bending, crouching, stooping, lifting or reaching. DGF work involves handling tadpoles and metamorphic and adult frogs, weighing, measuring, and injecting identification tags under the skin and in the body cavity of metamorphic and adult frogs, and running the drift fence between sunset and sunrise. Work will involve lifting items up to 50 pounds. Hand and finger dexterity and physical coordination may involve fine and precise work, delicate adjustments, or exact measurements.
Environmental Conditions/Hazards: The member is expected to conduct duties in a safe and orderly manner so as not to endanger self, fellow staff/members or resources. The duties require predominantly outdoor work (70%). This includes very hot and humid summer days and nights. Outside, the member will encounter variable weather conditions (including high heat, high humidity, and rain), smoke, biting and stinging insects, ticks, thorny and poisonous plants, and venomous snakes. Contact with herbicide may occur if treating invasive plant species.
Vehicle and Equipment Use/Safety: If a vehicle is required for the accomplishment of the duties, one will be provided by the FWS or ACE. Any tools required for the accomplishment of the duties will be provided by the FWS. Use of personal protective equipment (PPE), typically provided by the FWS, will be mandatory for any activity that requires it. Strict adherence to FWS and ACE equipment training, certification and safety protocols is required.
-Willing and able to represent ACE and the partner organization in a professional, positive, and enthusiastic manner.
-Ability to be both self-directed/work alone, and be a positive, contributing member of a group.
-U.S. Citizen or Permanent Resident
-A valid driver's license and an insurable driving record (documentation to be provided upon request).
-Willing to undergo and must pass required criminal history checks.
-Ability to perform the essential duties of the position with or without reasonable accommodation.
-Knowledge of natural sciences
-Writing skills with an understanding of basic grammar, punctuation, and spelling
-Attention to detail
-Ability to effectively communicate with supervisor and coworkers
-Ability to work in very hot, humid, and buggy conditions
-Ability to work in physically demanding conditions, involving walking over uneven terrain, wading through water, sitting in small blinds for large periods, capturing and handling large birds, amphibians, and reptiles
-Willing to work varying hours including before sunrise or at night
-Ability to record accurate field data
-Familiarity with Microsoft Office software
-Must take all measures possible to ensure the safety of yourself and others and understand all safety precautions involved
-Competitive applicants for this position must meet the following requirement(s) to be considered:
Holding or pursuing a Bachelor's degree (education or experience in natural resources, wildlife management, biology, ecology or a related subject preferred)
-Experience conducting biological surveys
-Experience in wildlife monitoring
-Experience capturing and handling animals
-Experience working with herptiles and large birds
-Experience conducting invasive plant management
-Basic GPS and GIS skills
To Apply: Please submit your resume, a cover letter demonstrating your interest and experience, and contact information for three professional/academic references to the online application page for this position here: https://usaconservation.applicantpool.com/jobs/826210.html
NOTE: Early consideration will be given as applications are received. This position may close at any time. If you have any questions regarding this position please feel free to contact ACE EPIC USFWS Division Support Specialist, Johannah McCollum, email@example.com, 701-389-2152.
Vaccination Requirement: ACE Members must verify that they are fully vaccinated for Covid-19 or have requested and been granted a medical or religious exemption to vaccination by the time they start their term.
EEO: American Conservation Experience provides equal employment opportunities (EEO) to all employees and applicants for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability or genetics. In addition to federal law requirements, American Conservation Experience complies with applicable state and local laws governing non-discrimination in employment in every location in which the company has facilities.