Avian: Marbled Murrelet Technician (Student)

Western Oregon

Salary Range:
$2400 to $2800 monthly

Dates of Employment:
April 01, 2022 to August 05, 2022

Job Description:

Turnstone is looking for hard-working, independent, reliable students (or graduates) to fill field-based technician positions conducting surveys for the marbled murrelet, a threatened species of seabird that nests primarily in coastal old growth forests for the 2022 season. Both undergraduates and graduates are eligible and welcome to apply. Students interested would be seeking to gain experience and knowledge working in the field, forest and office setting collecting data. These positions are considered full-time seasonal technicians working from April - July or August 2022, and can be used to fulfill internship credits as needed. Students will likely need to take spring term off from school in order to participate this position. Surveys will be on federal, state and private lands in beautiful western Oregon. Technician avian field biologists will gain valuable field experience in the pacific northwest. From these entry level positions technicians will be enabled with direct field experience vital to field and biologist positions post-college. Turnstone is a small, locally owned environmental consulting firm. Helping clients protect and manage shared natural resources with solutions that are practical, forward thinking, and built on a foundation of good science. We are passionate, motivated, and team-oriented professionals who all started as seasonal field technicians ourselves and now strive to be leaders in the wildlife field.

Job duties: Marbled murrelet surveys follow an exacting protocol, and surveyors will be required to work independently during pre-dawn (non-daylight) hours in remote areas. The work involves extensive solo travel, hiking off-trail in the dark (often long distances), navigating forest terrain, enduring regular periods of inclement weather and often working multiple days in a row (some part-time weekend work will be required). Daily duties include but are not limited to predawn surveys, setting new survey stations in the field, submitting collected survey data, QA/QC of peer’s survey forms, checking in with crew lead, crew meetings, maintaining a timesheet and vehicle mileage log.

Location: Surveyors will be stationed with their crew in one of several communities in western Oregon, to include but not limited to general areas around Astoria, Corvallis, Forest Grove, Nehalem, McMinnville, or Tillamook areas. Field housing at no cost to the employee is provided in the locations of Astoria (Seaside) and Tillamook areas for the duration of work. Occasional camping is expected and technicians will need to supply their own personal camping gear.

Safety: Turnstone crews have an excellent safety record. Technicians will receive two weeks of training with their crew prior to the start of surveys. Technicians will have the opportunity to check in with their crew members daily on site and remotely, and all technicians will have frequent communications with their supervisors including disclosing their daily field plans of survey and scouting for safety purposes. Technicians will have a field radio for emergency communications.

Workload: Full-season project commitment is necessary from April to early August 2022. Work schedules are Monday through Friday beginning April with training in CA (one week) and on assigned districts (one week) leading up to start of surveying in May, June and July. Keep in mind, the July schedule will also include part-time weekend work often with multiple days in a row without a day off. Mandatory marbled murrelet training and surveyor certification will be held in Northern California in late April prior to the start of surveys. Please note that opportunity to take leave for nonemergency reasons during the summer season is limited and should be discussed when interviewing for the position. Taking one online-only course during the season is possible but not recommended during the survey season with heavily variable and often long hours of the position. A work vehicle will be provided (carpooling may be necessary); surveyors that use an appropriate personal vehicle for work will be reimbursed via a monthly stipend of $800. Monthly stipend is $2400-2800/month ($13.85 – 16.15/hr), depending on experience, and degree.

Minimum Requirements:

Applicants should be working towards or recently graduated with a B.S. degree in wildlife biology or a closely-related field. A minimum of one year of field experience is desired but not required. Marbled murrelet experience is not required if the applicant has strong field skills, basic bird identification skills, and an interest in avian biology. A large portion of the daily work is pre-dawn and can be physically and mentally demanding. An ideal candidate will possess the following characteristics:

  • Be comfortable hiking and working solo in the dark out in the field on a daily basis.
  • Excellent time and data management/organization skills.
  • A consistent track record of working in a safe and efficient manner.
  • Proficiency using a compass, GPS and topographic map to navigate.
  • Excellent physical condition, with the ability to tackle the rigors of field work, comfortable hiking alone off-trail in steep and variable terrain and underbrush in the dark and/or in inclement weather.
  • Experience living and working in rural and remote field and office settings.
  • Working knowledge of western bird identification by sight and sound.
  • The ability and willingness to spend long hours in the field and work odd hours, including very early morning.
  • Integrity, quality, and accuracy in adhering to scientific protocols.
  • The ability to record accurate and reliable field data.
  • Ability to adapt to sudden changes in work schedules due to weather conditions, survey results, and other variables.
  • Basic computer skills: Microsoft suite (Access, Word, Excel), Garmin Basecamp software, manage digital data forms and cloud files, and general computer knowledge. Knowledge of the Avenza mobile app a plus.
  • Flexible, detail-oriented, resourceful, and comfortable working independently while living as part of a team.
  • A valid state-issued driver’s license with clean driving record and the ability to navigate forest roads of variable condition and operate and maintain a 4WD vehicle.
  • Applicants must have normal vision and hearing, with required proof (hearing screen results) to be submitted prior to the start of work.

When applying, please list details on any or all previous field experience including relevant coursework and personal experiences like backpacking/camping. For full consideration, students or graduates should submit their applications before December 15th, 2021, although earlier applications are preferred.

To Apply:
To apply, please complete an application and prepare a resume and cover letter with three references to be submitted through the job link below.