Conservation Intern: Research
Now in its second century, Audubon is dedicated to protecting birds and other wildlife and the habitat that supports them. Audubon’s mission is engaging people in bird conservation on a hemispheric scale through science, policy, education and on-the-ground conservation action. By mobilizing and aligning its network of Chapters, Centers, State and Important Bird Area programs in the four major migratory flyways in the Americas, the organization will bring the full power of Audubon to bear on protecting common and threatened bird species and the critical habitat they need to survive. And as part of BirdLife International, Audubon will join people in over 100 in-country organizations all working to protect a network of Important Bird Areas around the world, leveraging the impact of actions they take at a local level. What defines Audubon’s unique value is a powerful grassroots network of nearly 500 local chapters, 23 state offices, 41 Audubon Centers, Important Bird Area Programs in 50 states, and 700 staff across the country. Audubon is a federal contractor and an Equal Opportunity Employer (EOE).
The Conservation Intern will gain valuable hands-on experience and professional skills in ecology and conservation. Working at the 13,000-acre Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary in southwestern Florida, the intern will assist with ecological monitoring and research at Audubon’s Western Everglades Research Center and land management activities throughout Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary. The position will be a combination of research (field research, sample processing and data entry; 90%), and land management (assisting with prescribed fire and non-native plant control; 10%).
This paid full-time six-month internship will run from September 2018 through February 2019 and will not exceed 40 hours per week, with occasional weekend work as needed.
On-site housing is required due to the relatively remote location of the Sanctuary and early field hours. Housing is a furnished one-level dormitory-style building with four bedrooms, two bathrooms, two joined kitchens, a living room and a screened porch. Wireless internet, water, electricity and local phone service are provided. Rooms may be shared (gender inclusive) with other interns and the dormitory may be shared by interns, visiting researchers, Americorps team members, or other special guests.
National Audubon Society is dedicated to building a culturally diverse organization and strongly encourages applications from people of color and women.
Under the guidance of Audubon research staff, the intern will develop skills in a variety of ecological research, monitoring, and land management activities, including:
Monitoring wetland hydrology using groundwater wells (fitted with digital data loggers) and staff gauges and collecting weather data;
Monitoring wetland wildlife to guide conservation and restoration. Wildlife monitoring will include a combination of fish and aquatic macroinvertebrate sampling, wading bird surveys, herpetofauna surveys, small-mammal trapping, and medium- and large-mammal monitoring using trail cameras;
Laboratory processing of aquatic fauna samples and trail camera images;
Data entry and data management associated with research and monitoring activities and ongoing citizen science programs;
Communicating science to technical and lay audiences, which may include assistance with preparation of technical publications, writing newsletter articles, using social media and/or giving on-site public presentations;
Managing non-native, invasive and native nuisance species using a wide variety of tools such as herbicide sprayers, chainsaws, and hand tools; and
Helping with planning, execution, and follow-up monitoring of prescribed fire operations in a variety of natural habitats.
Interns are expected to assist with additional Sanctuary events and activities, as needed.
Qualifications and Experience
The candidate must:
Be currently enrolled in or a recent graduate of an institution of higher learning, pursuing a degree in environmental science or related field (ecology coursework preferred);
Demonstrate strong attention to detail in field, laboratory, and office activities. Strong skills in MS Excel are required;
Excel in interpersonal communication and at working independently and as part of a team;
Demonstrate the ability to exercise sound judgment and adaptability to changing work conditions;
Possess a valid driver’s license (experience with ATVs and 4WD vehicles is preferred); and
Commit to the full duration of the internship (September 2018 - February 2019).
Physical requirements include:
Ability to work long hours in the field in sub-tropical wetland environments, exposed to harsh South Florida environment (sun, biting insects, severe summer storms), sometimes alone and carrying field gear (up to 40 lbs.) for extended periods; and
Ability and willingness to work in murky waters and thick vegetation that serve as home for potentially dangerous wildlife such as alligators and venomous snakes.