Battelle Memorial Institute Temporary Field Technician - NEON Project - D02 - Virginia in Front Royal, Virginia

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Primary Function

Application Instructions: ONLY apply to the one (1) temporary position and location you would consider as your first choice. During the application process, you will provide additional domains/locations you would be willing to work at if your first choice is not available.

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 Temporary Field Technicians . These positions are located in Front Royal, VA .

SAMPLING PERIOD –

Start Date: February-March 2019

End Date: October-November 2019

Location

NEON’s Domain 02 encompasses the mid-Atlantic region from Georgia to Pennsylvania and New Jersey. The core site, which is home to the domain’s support facility and laboratory, is located at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute in Front Royal VA, only 66 miles from Washington DC. The other two sites that comprise D02 are located in Annapolis, MD at the Smithsonian Ecological Research Center (SERC) and at Blandy Experimental Farm, in Boyce VA, a Part of University of Virginia.

Field technicians can expect to learn, practice and perfect their skills on dozens of terrestrial and aquatic based protocols while working in mature deciduous forests, agricultural fields, pastures and freshwater streams. The field season here begins in March and runs through to the beginning of November so you will experience the full spectrum of weather this area can offer. There are ticks that carry Lyme disease, among other zoonotics, and the vegetation can often be difficult to work in.

More than 70% of your time will be outdoors and the remainder will be working in the lab processing samples and preparing for upcoming field work. Because SERC is over two hours away, there will be overnight stays that can last up to a week depending on the sampling that is taking place. Techs will need to be flexible in the hours that they will be asked to work, with some days starting before dawn and some ending after dusk. Much of our work is conducted at plots that will remain active research sites for the length of the project. Access to the plots is typically off-trail and can require walking 100 to 400 meters on uneven ground through thick vegetation and elevation changes.

Opportunities for outdoor recreation are plentiful as we are surrounded by national parks and forests and within a short drive to everything that our nation’s capital city can offer. As a D02 employee, you receive a Smithsonian ID, after going through a background check, which can be used to access museums and discounts for parking and merchandise.

Major Responsibilities

Temporary Field Technicians perform 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. Temporary 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. Workweeks can include weekends and occasionally may be up to 12 consecutive days.

Individuals are responsible for their own housing and transportation to primary work location.

ESSENTIAL DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES

  • Performs field assignments in a variety of conditions (e.g., weather, terrain, diverse assigned biomes, etc.).

  • 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).

Position Requirements

  • High School Diploma. Some post high school, specialized training or technical certificate may be required.

  • 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

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BENEFITS

Battelle is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer and supports diversity in the workplace. Applicants will receive consideration for employment 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. For more information about our other openings, please visit www.battelle.org/careers