Employer: Audubon Florida/National Audubon Society
Position: Field Technician, Northwest Florida Coast
Location: Franklin and Gulf County, FL
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The Northwest Florida Coast Field Technician is the coastal bird biologist responsible for nonbreeding migratory bird surveys, beach-nesting bird monitoring and protection at sites in Florida's Franklin and Gulf counties, including Little St. George Island, Flag Islands, Old St. George Island Causeway, and Dog Island sites, with occasional work on Lanark Reef, Cape San Blas, or other sites as assigned. At these sites, the field technician is responsible for:
· Posting symbolic fencing around beach-nesting bird sites and maintaining said posting;
· Monitoring nest sites weekly for evidence of disturbance or predation;
· Performing formal nesting bird surveys weekly including during seven, formal, one-week time windows (including color band resighting);
· Non-breeding season migratory shore/seabird surveys; and
· Helping protect sites from disturbance through stewardship activities, to include working closely with volunteers to chaperone beach-nesting bird colonies during busy warm-weather weekends, educating beachgoers about these species and encouraging compliance with posted areas, and engaging in outreach to user groups through presentations at organizational meetings.
From mid-July through April, this position performs winter coastal bird surveys and resights color-banded birds, especially snowy plovers, piping plovers and red knots, assists with volunteer recruitment and management, training and appreciation, assists with the creation of educational signage about coastal birds, and helps conduct outreach to key user groups impacting coastal birds in the Florida Panhandle.
This position is funded as full-time permanent through December 2020 with extension possible contingent on a secure funding source. The Field Technician will be based out of their home in coastal Franklin or Gulf counties. This is an exciting position for a professional biologist with shorebirds/seabird survey skills, as well as experience with solo operation of small vessels in nearshore and offshore marine waters and use of ATV/UTVs.
With direction from the Eastern Panhandle Stewardship Program Coordinator, the technician will ensure all sites are:
- Surveyed weekly during nesting season, including during the monthly state-prescribed beach-nesting bird survey windows;
- Posted with symbolic fencing and signage by posting deadlines or as new sites become active;
- Monitored weekly for signs of disturbance and changes in nesting status;
- Surveyed biweekly from mid-July through April for migratory shore/seabirds;
- Stewarded to the terms of Audubon’s contract.
Additional functions include the following:
- Entering survey data into the Florida Shorebird Database or Access database as directed by the supervisor within two weeks following the survey date;
- Contribute to report writing and submittal for program contract;
- Responsible for coordinating maintenance of program vehicles, trailers, boats, and ATV/UTVs;
- Mentor volunteers in monitoring, surveying, and stewardship activities;
- Engage the public around coastal bird conservation through outreach at beach sites and through presentations to key constituencies.
This position is required to work independently or with another full-time staff or volunteers and will be responsible for solo operation of boats to access large, remote offshore sites for survey work and posting.
Qualifications and Experience
- Bachelor's degree in biology, wildlife ecology or related field required; Master's degree preferred.
- 2-3 years' demonstrated expertise in shorebird and seabird identification and performing surveys a must.
- Strong communication skills and demonstrated ability to work independently.
- Experience working with agency and organization partners and volunteers.
- Demonstrated experience operating and maintaining motorboats with trailer launch in challenging nearshore marine conditions or equivalent experience in freshwater environments.
- Demonstrated experience operating and maintaining equipment including ATV/UTVs, trucks and trailers.
- Demonstrated experience with performing field work in challenging coastal weather conditions.
- Familiarity with coastal conservation lands of the Florida Panhandle a plus.
- Must be able to work long days and weekends, as needed, in Florida summer field conditions.
- Genuine passion for conservation and the mission of the National Audubon Society.