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Invasive Species Specialist Individual Placement

Conservation Legacy

Conservation Legacy

Austwell, TX, USA
Posted on Saturday, June 1, 2024

Title: Invasive Species Specialist Intern (2 openings)

Start/End Date: September 9, 2024 to March 7, 2025 (anticipated)

Term Length: 26 Weeks

Living Stipend: $600/week

Housing: possible housing provided at no cost to intern, more details will be given during interview

Reports To: Wildlife Biologist

Location: Aransas National Wildlife Refuge – 1 Wildlife Circle, Austwell, TX 77950

Status: 900-hour AmeriCorps Service Term

Benefits: Relocation reimbursement $500, more details will be given during interview; $600 training funds; Public Lands Corps Certificate* (that allows for competitive hiring for USA jobs/government jobs) and AmeriCorps Education Award $3,447 - both with successful completion of the internship.

AmeriCorps is the federal agency for national service and volunteerism. AmeriCorps provides opportunities for Americans of all backgrounds to serve their country, address the nation’s most pressing challenges, and improve lives and communities. Environmental stewardship programs help conserve natural habitats, improve energy efficiency, protect clean air and water, and help to mitigate the effects of climate change among other environmental efforts.

Conservation Corps New Mexico (CCNM)

Conservation Corps New Mexico, a program of Conservation Legacy and AmeriCorps partner, aims to continue the legacy of the Civilian Conservation Corps of the 1930's. CCNM is focused on connecting youth, young adults, and recent era military veterans with conservation service work projects on public lands. CCNM operates programs across New Mexico and Texas that engage individuals and strengthen communities through service and conservation. The CCNM Las Cruces office manages the Individual Placement Program.

Mentorship

These Individual Placement Positions are unique development opportunities. Interns are paired with a local supervisor and gain technical, hands-on experience in the work of these organizations or agencies. Site supervisors commit to facilitate career development; provide an introduction to numerous pathways within the conservation field; and create accessible, meaningful, learning opportunities and experiences for interns.

Position Summary:

As part of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), the National Wildlife Refuge System’s mission is "...to administer a national network of lands and waters for the conservation, management and, where appropriate, restoration of the fish, wildlife, and plant resources and their habitats within the United States for the benefit of present and future generations of Americans".

Some of the goals of the Refuge System that relate directly to this project include: "Conserve those ecosystems, plant communities, wetlands of national or international significance, and landscapes and seascapes that are unique, rare, declining, or underrepresented in existing protection efforts" as well as "develop and maintain a network of habitats for migratory birds, anadromous and inter-jurisdictional fish, and marine mammal populations that is strategically distributed and carefully managed to meet important life history needs of those species across their ranges."

Aransas National Wildlife Refuge is seeking two interns to aid in restoring wetland habitats for the benefit of the endangered Whooping Crane as well as for the benefit of migratory birds and local wildlife. The wetland areas in question have been taken over by invasive plants that alter the ecosystem enough that whooping cranes and most migratory birds can no longer utilize these habitats. This effectively shrinks the area within the wildlife refuge where these animals can meet their needs for survival. Aransas NWR needs assistance with removing these invasive species and thus restoring these habitats for wildlife use.

This project will focus on invasive plant management: applying herbicide to treat invasive plants including Chinese tallow, Salt cedar, honey mesquite, bamboo, and other invasive species. Treatment will center around high priority areas as well as populations that were treated last year in order to further eradicate the species from the area. Areas that were previously treated will be surveyed and mapped by the interns in order to formulate the best re-treatment options.

The interns will have the opportunity to speak with and learn from a variety of staff within the conservation and land management fields. Interns will also be able to attend workshops and/or trainings if available during their term.

Essential Responsibilities and Functions:

  • Apply herbicide to treat invasive plant species
    • Mix herbicides in appropriate and safe manner, at correct percentage of active ingredient, for various plant species.
    • Apply herbicide per the label and supervisor instructions.
    • Map all areas treated using handheld iPad, GPS units, and utilizing Field Maps.
    • Keep meticulous herbicide application records.
    • Triple rinse and maintain/troubleshoot herbicide application equipment.
  • Invasive Plant Surveying/Monitoring
    • Navigating off trail to find previously unknown invasive plant populations or previously treated populations for follow-up monitoring
    • Identifying the plants and mapping the entire population using iPad and handheld GPS units.
    • Report back to supervisor regarding location, life stage, and accessibility of the population for treatment.
  • Survey herbicide trial plots
    • Navigate off trail to trial plots.
    • Locate each marked and tagged tree.
    • Note the tree’s growth stage and any defects/potential die-off caused by previous treatments. Collect this data using an iPad with Field Maps and data sheets.
  • Removal of standing dead biomass from previous herbicide treatments
    • Navigate off trail to previously treated invasive plant populations.
    • Utilize hand tools, brush cutters, or chainsaws** to remove dead standing biomass.
    • Pile or chip debris.

Trainings Provided:

  • Herbicide application training by a licensed applicator.
  • Training in mixing herbicide, application techniques, rinsing, and maintenance of equipment.
  • How to collect data in the field using FieldMaps and iPads.
  • How to fill out herbicide use records for the state of Texas.
  • Defensive Driving.
  • ORUV training and certification.
  • How to identify common invasive species in the region and their life stage characteristics.
  • How to us iPad and GPS units for navigation.
  • How to use aerial imagery to narrow down search areas.
  • Training in the specific monitoring protocol for different post-treatment monitoring with the Regional Inventory and Monitoring Biologist or staff Biologist.
  • How to safely use hand tools such as loppers, hand saws, and brush cutters.

**Chainsaw training will not likely be available but if intern already has sawyer certifications from an accredited training program, they will be allowed to use a chainsaw.

Working Conditions: Exposure to herbicide; uneven terrain; slippery/wet/remote conditions; hiking off-trail/unmarked paths; extreme heat/humidity/sun exposure; biting/stinging insects, ticks, venomous snakes, local wildlife (alligators, etc.) ** Use of a 4WD vehicle will be required for access to sites. **

Minimum Qualifications:

  • Per federal grant requirements, this internship is for young adults between the ages of 18-30 (35 for veterans), inclusive, at the time the individual begins term of service.
  • Valid U.S driver’s license - drivers must be over 21 or have had a license for at least 3 consecutive years; clean driving record and ability to provide documentation.
  • Some experience operating a 4WD vehicle.
  • Personal vehicle for off time and getting to and from internship site.
  • U.S Citizen, U.S National, or Lawful Permanent Resident.
  • Received or on track to receive high school diploma or GED.
  • Willing to undergo and must pass required criminal history checks.
  • High level of physical fitness.
  • Ability to hike in hot conditions on rough, uneven terrain. No history of heat stroke. Must be able to work outdoors daily.
  • Able and willing to perform duties outdoors in varying weather conditions, especially hot, humid outdoor conditions.
  • Must take all measures possible to ensure the safety of yourself and others and understand all safety precautions involved.
  • Ability to speak to the public.
  • Effective oral and written communication skills with all ages and diverse audiences.
  • Able and willing to work alone and in a group.
  • Ability to hike several miles at a time.
  • Capable of participating in sustained physical labor including ability to frequently push, pull, and lift 50 lbs.
  • Ability to operate independently and in remote areas that may contain venomous snakes, ticks, and other wildlife hazards.
  • Competent in Microsoft Word and Excel.
  • Knowledge of pesticide application methods, proper mixing, and required personal protective equipment.

Preferred Qualifications:

  • Ability to follow assigned protocols and perform tasks with many steps.
  • Chainsaw S-212.
  • FWS ATV/UTV operator certification.
  • Skills and ability to resolve a full range of problems or situations when performing a variety of tasks in the field or office setting.
  • Skill in maintaining and safely operating motorized vehicles and specialized equipment including highway vehicles, backpack sprayers, weed eaters, etc.
  • Experience and/or knowledge with GPS equipment.
  • Strong desire to enter the public service field as a natural resource professional.
  • Experience and/or knowledge in the mission of the FWS and other federal land management agencies.

Physical Requirements:

  • To successfully perform essential functions, the individual is required to sit, stand, walk, speak, hear, etc. May be required to stoop, kneel, crouch or crawl for significant periods of time and be able to safely lift 50 pounds on a routine basis. He/she must be able to operate office equipment, telephone, and computer and reach with hands and arms.
  • Ability to hike and navigate in rough terrain.
  • Reasonable accommodation may be made for qualified individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.

Participant Essential Eligibility Requirements/Participation and Expedition Behavior:

  • Work effectively as a member of a team despite potentially stressful and difficult conditions. This may require problem solving on an interpersonal or group level as well as a willingness to accept differences.
  • Contribute to a safe learning environment, no harassment of others for any reason.
  • Willingness and ability to complete all aspects of the program including conservation projects, education, training, and national service.
  • Effectively communicate ideas and concerns as they arise directly to supervisors, colleagues, and organization staff.
  • Appropriately represent Conservation Corps New Mexico, U.S Fish and Wildlife Service, and AmeriCorps to the public and partners at all times.
  • Flexibility, adaptability, and capacity to work in a fluid, changing work environment.

Safety and Judgment:

  • Effectively communicate danger to others in the form of either a warning of danger others may be encountering or a notification of personal distress, injury or need for assistance. Must be able to do so at a distance of up to 50 meters and in conditions with limited visibility or loud background noise such as darkness or high winds.
  • Effectively perceive and understand significant and apparent hazards and follow direction by others so that you will be able to successfully execute techniques to manage hazards. These directions may be given before the hazard is encountered or may need to be given during the exposure to the hazard. Ability to respond appropriately to stress or crises.
  • Stay alert and focused for several hours at a time while traveling and working in varied weather conditions.
  • If taking prescription medications, participants must be able to maintain proper dosage by self- medicating without assistance from others.

Substance Free:

· In accordance with a drug free workplace, alcohol and drugs are prohibited while participating in AmeriCorps and program activities and while on organization property.

Background Check:

A DOI background clearance must be completed before the selected candidate may report to duty. FWS will provide instructions for completion of the clearance after an intern has been selected and will notify them when they have been cleared to start the internship. This process will determine the internship’s exact start date.

Interns will have access to government facilities and systems, and will be supplied with access to gov’t vehicles, equipment, and materials needed to work on the projects and activities as outlined above. Interns must adhere to all government regulations and policies for operating equipment, vehicles, security awareness, and safety.

*To be eligible for a Public Lands Corps certificate, interns must be between the ages of 18-30 (35 for veterans), inclusive, at the time the individual begins the term of service.

Conservation Legacy is an equal opportunity employer. We are committed to hiring a breadth of diverse professionals and encourage members of diverse groups to apply. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, age, national origin, political affiliation, protected veteran status, disability status, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, marital status, genetic information, or any other characteristic protected by law. We also consider qualified applicants regardless of criminal histories, consistent with legal requirements. If you need assistance and/or a reasonable accommodation due to a disability during application or recruiting process, please send a request to the hiring manager.

To Apply: Please submit an updated resume and cover letter along with the online application at https://corpsnm.org/individual-placement-openings . Consideration will be given as resumes are received and this position may close at any time. If you have questions, contact CCNM’s Individual Placement Program Coordinator, SamJean Simmons at ssimmons@conservationlegacy.org.