Battelle Memorial Institute Full-time Lead Field Technician - Botany - NEON Project - D11 - Texas in Denton, Texas
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Our 22,000 employees work at the forefront of scientific innovation to tackle critical challenges in security, human health, manufacturing, energy and environmental management. Battelle’s work is grounded in the belief that science, technology and a passion for excellence can make industries more competitive and the world a better place.
Battelle manages and operates the National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON) project, which is solely funded by the National Science Foundation. A 30+ year project dedicated to understanding how changes in climate, land use and invasive species impact ecology, the observatory’s scientists and engineers are collecting a comprehensive range of ecological data on a continental scale across 20 eco-climatic domains representing US ecosystems. Our teams use cutting-edge technology, including an airborne observation platform that captures images of regional landscapes and vegetation; mobile, relocatable, and fixed data collection sites with automated ground sensors to monitor soil and atmosphere; and trained field crews who observe and sample populations of diverse organisms and collect soil and water data. Once structures are completed, a leading edge cyberinfrastructure will calibrate, store and publish this information. The Observatory includes more than 500+ personnel and is the first of its kind designed to detect and enable forecasting of ecological change at continental scales.
We are currently seeking a Full-time Lead Field Technician . This position is located in Denton, TX.
Lead Field Technicians perform and supervise seasonal and periodic sampling of physical, chemical and biological data at one (1)-five (5) field sites, while exercising good judgement and decision-making abilities to interpret protocol requirements. Lead Field Technicians are assigned an area of primary responsibility within the scope of data collection: botany, entomology, mammalogy (except Puerto Rico and Hawaii), or limnology (except Hawaii).
Field observations and collection are conducted using approximately 30 different protocols and multiple Standard Operating Procedures with varying schedule requirements based on local ecosystem and current field conditions.
Daily and weekly work schedules will fluctuate. Workdays can be up to twelve hours long and may be split with both morning and evening work, with work, at times, beginning at dawn and going through to dusk.
Techs in the Southern Plains Domain 11 work across two terrestrial and two aquatic sites located in Oklahoma and Texas.
The Lyndon B. Johnson National Grassland is our core (unmanaged) terrestrial site, and forms part of the Caddo-LBJ National Grasslands (CLBJ) managed by the US Forest Service. The site is >20,250 acres and is located about 35 miles west of the Domain 11 Support Facility. CLBJ is primarily used for habitat for wildlife, cattle grazing, and recreation (including hunting, camping, horse riding, and hiking). The site has fairly flat terrain and consists of a mosaic of crosstimbers (oak-dominated) forest and grasslands. Many areas have a dense understory of vines with large thorns and other deciduous trees, which make walking around the site challenging. Green briar (thorny shrubs), poison ivy, ticks, mosquitoes, and snakes are the major non-weather environmental risks. The area is classified as a humid subtropical climate with hot and humid summers and winters mild to cool. The average summer high temperature is 96°F, so expect to work in high heat conditions during the summer peak sampling season. Additionally, because of its location in North Texas, this area is very susceptible to supercell thunderstorms, which can produce large hail, excessive rainfall/flooding, and tornadoes. Expect to work single days of up to 10 hours max with two hours driving and 8 hours outside.
The Marvin Klemme Range Research Station, an Oklahoma State University Agricultural Experiment Station is Domain 11’s managed terrestrial site. The station consists of 1,560 acres and is located 10 miles south and 5 miles west of Clinton, Oklahoma. The vegetation is central mixed grass prairie with primarily short grasses and forbs with the rest a mix of tallgrass and bare soil. The landscape is a rolling upland prairie composed of flat terrain interspersed with small hilltops, swales, and canyons. The average annual precipitation is 30.70 inches with an average summer high temperature of 93.6°F and average winter low temperature of 26.1°F. The sight is actively grazed by cattle with light to moderate intensity. Snakes, wasps, and cacti are the biggest non-weather environmental concerns. Travel is about 4.5hrs to the site from the Domain 11 Support Facility and overnight stays are necessary and frequent. Expect 4-5 hours of work outside on travel days and up to 10 hours on non-travel days. Field housing is available and comfortable!
Pringle Creek (also managed by USFS at CLBJ) is paired with our core terrestrial site, and work here involves a 1-hour (each way) drive, and 2-8 hours of field sampling in a creek depending on the protocol being conducted. Blue River is managed by The Nature Conservancy and is situated close to the town of Connerville, Oklahoma. Field work here involves a 2-hour drive to the site, and field sampling hours similar to Pringle Creek. On rare occasions, overnight stay might be required, and is usually provided by the Station Manager on the TNC property. Access to both sites are relatively easy, with field trucks being able to drive close to the creek banks.
The city of Denton is home to a number of well-known universities in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex, and temporary housing is relatively easy to find. The city has a ‘young’ vibe to it, and offers a lot of diverse activities such as a number of film and music festivals, sporting events, unique cafes, restaurants, bars, galleries, etc.
Performs and supervises field assignments in a variety of conditions (e.g., weather, terrain, diverse assigned biomes, etc.).
Provides training to seasonal and temporary field personnel.
Follows established, standardized field procedures for sample collection; records data from sample collection; and processes samples.
Records activities and completed work according to Field Operations protocol.
Follows safety and Field Operations policy and procedures.
Reports issues with implementation of procedures and coordinates resolution with manager and technicians.
Assists with routine administrative duties, special projects and other duties as assigned.
Carries, moves and lifts field supplies (pack weighing up to 40 lbs.) to assigned field site (which involves diverse and uneven terrain).
Lead, perform and coordinate plant phenology, diversity, biogeochemistry and productivity measurements.
Identify local flora to species using techniques including: general observation, field references, dichotomous key, comparison with identified specimens, or other identification methods. Local species identification skills are used to complete activities such as plant diversity observations, classification of phenological stages of local flora, and sorting of plants and debris into functional group or category.
Collect and process samples for activities such as clip harvest, biomass, canopy foliage and leaf area index measurements as well as vegetation structure measurements.
Map and measure structural metrics of free-standing woody stems.
High School Diploma. May require an Associate's degree or experience as a fully qualified Field Technician with one (1) – two (2) years of related experience
Knowledge of best practices for accurate and repeatable field and laboratory measurements across multiple scientific disciplines. Complex and variable systems require judgment and independent decision-making abilities
Technical skills using best practices in field and ability to identify aquatic or terrestrial flora and fauna to genus and species.
Due to the limited number of positions in each domain, technicians must be willing and able to learn and perform procedures and methods outside of the primary responsibility.
Willingness to perform maintenance and field sampling outdoors in sparsely populated, remote locations, with distances ranging from 1/2 hour to 6 hours from the domain office. Overnight travel, hiking off trail, and wading in water are typical in most locations.
Ability and willingness to work varied field operations schedules (up to 12+ hours per day), including split-shift, part-time, pre-dawn early mornings, evenings and weekends.
Ability to hike off trail, long distances, on uneven terrain, at remote locations, in all types of weather, carrying packs weighing up to 40lbs.
Ability to work on instrument towers ranging in height from 26 feet to 240 feet and at altitudes of up to 11,000 feet (depending on assigned Domain), involving the ability to ascend and descend multiple flights of stairs.
Ability to withstand exposure to fumes, dust, and noise. Field work may require frequent exposure to toxicodendrons (e.g. poison ivy and poison oak), ticks, biting insects and other natural hazards.
Proficiency with MS Office Suite (e.g., Excel, Word).
Ability to follow written and verbal instructions.
High level of attention to detail and accuracy.
Ability to work independently and as part of a team.
Strong work ethic and enthusiasm.
Previous NEON Project field experience will be highly considered
US Citizen or permanent resident only
Battelle’s competitive benefits program includes comprehensive medical and dental care, matching 401K, paid time off, flexible spending accounts, disability coverage, and other benefits that help provide financial protection for you and your family.
Battelle provides employment and opportunities for advancement, compensation, training, and growth according to individual merit, without regard to race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy), national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity, marital status, age, genetic information, disability, veteran-status, or any other characteristic protected under applicable Federal, state, or local law. Our goal is for each staff member to have the opportunity to grow to the limits of their abilities and to achieve personal and organizational objectives. We will support positive programs for equal treatment of all staff and full utilization of all qualified employees at all levels within Battelle.
For more information about our other openings, please visit www.battelle.org/careers