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Bird Conservancy of the Rockies

  • Arapahoe-Roosevelt National Forest, Fort Collins, Colorado
  • https://www.birdconservancy.org/

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Seasonal Crew Leader — Mexican Spotted Owl Monitoring (1 position)

About the Organization: Bird Conservancy of the Rockies conserves birds and their habitats through an integrated approach of science, education and stewardship. Our work extends from the Rockies to the Great Plains, Mexico and beyond. Our mission is advanced through sound science, achieved through empowering people, realized through stewardship and sustained through cross-border collaborations. We monitor and identify population trends, research habitat needs, engage landowners and managers in wildlife and habitat stewardship, and inspire audiences of all ages to be better stewards of the land. Together, we are improving native bird populations, the land, and the lives of people. Learn more about our work and programs at our website: www.birdconservancy.org


min experience

salary range

$19 - $20 / hour

Additional Job Details

International Applicants Allowed?
Work Visa Sponsoring Available

Job Overview

Project/Position Overview:

Spend 2.5 months coordinating a monitoring project on the Arapahoe-Roosevelt National Forest in Colorado. Bird Conservancy of the Rockies is seeking 1 crew leader that will each steer a small team of three technicians to conduct Spotted Owl surveys. This position will build leadership, management and mentorship skills while working on a charismatic federally-threatened species on the edge of its range in Colorado. Successful candidates will have excellent inter-personal and organizational skills, will be passionate about working outdoors and comfortable working in the backcountry. Crew leaders are responsible for the logistical planning of the field season and will coordinate their crews’ schedule, gear use, and data collection. Crew leaders assist the Avian Ecologist in: overseeing the field safety of the crew, and ensuring data quality, and adherence to protocols. Crew leaders are also responsible for coordinating access with US Forest Service biologists and partners and landowners. The first week of the field season, you will participate in an intensive training session with the Avian Ecologist. It will cover protocols, avian identification, safety protocols, GPS navigation and data entry. The second week of the training, you will assist the Avian Ecologist by co-leading the same training for the technicians.


Work days can be long and strenuous, and the work schedule is highly variable with extensive driving time. Attendance to a week-long training during the beginning of the field season is mandatory. Technicians and leaders must be able to learn to identify all Colorado owls by sight and sound upon completion of the training. Review this blog post to hear about a similar position from a previous technician.


Fieldwork Responsibilities:

  • Work closely with Avian Ecologist to: manage a crew of three technicians, training new employees, assign equipment, coordinate work schedules, enforce twice-daily safety check ins
  • Coordinate with US Forest Service and landowners to confirm authorization and feasibility to access sites
  • Research best routes to access sites and guiding technicians, develop backup plans to accommodate changes in the field (weather, road-conditions etc).
  • Be on call to answer technician questions and help problem solve from mid-evening to very early morning (~4:00 am) 5 days a week.
  • Data-proof crew’s entries at the end of a work week, ensure timesheets are entered correctly
  • Work ~35-60 hours/week with highly variable hours (overtime pay provided); expect long hours in the field. Fieldwork conducted in hitch schedule: 10 days on/4 days off with limited flexibility for personal needs
  • Travel and work with a field partner, rotate partners within a small team of 4 people
  • Drive on remote, 4wd roads and hiking on and off trail in steep rugged terrain on a regular basis
  • Navigate to survey site using combination GPS, compass and map during the day and at night
  • Car camp daily, often without cell service or facilities, return to camp late at night from surveys
  • Occasionally overnight backpack in remote roadless/wilderness areas
  • Enter data, update timesheets and worklogs, and research how to access survey locations


Equipment and reimbursements:

You will need to provide your own smart phone (for data entry in the field) and computer (for timesheets after a hitch), as well as car and backpacking camping gear. You may drive your own 4WD/AWD vehicle (with reimbursement for work-related mileage at the federal rate) or we will provide a rental vehicle (and reimburse gas expenses, must be 21 and over). We will provide a satellite phone, GPS unit, and other work-related survey and safety equipment. You are responsible for your own food. Lodging will be car-camping or backpack camping during the week, and US Forest Service housing during off days.

Minimum Requirements

Required qualifications:

  • One full year of professional experience working outdoors/conducting ecological fieldwork
  • Demonstrated experience with long distance hiking, backpacking, and navigating off-trail; ability to hike up to 8+ miles/day while carrying a 30-lbs backpack in strenuous terrain
  • Ability to effectively supervise seasonal personnel and strong problem-solving skills
  • Excellent written, verbal and interpersonal communication skills
  • Enthusiastic, physically fit and able to work long hours in the field
  • Experience driving 4WD vehicles on unpaved roads, comfortable driving 1-4 hours a day
  • Willing to stay up late at night, and face hot/cold/rainy/windy weather in the outdoors
  • Comfortable with likely encounters with hazardous wildlife including bison, black bears, mountain lions, rattlesnakes, and venomous insects
  • Able to work independently with multiple days of solitude and enthusiasm for 2.5 months of fieldwork.
  • Ability to identify or learn to identify nocturnal avian species of Colorado by sight and sound
  • A valid driver's license, proof of auto insurance, and clean driving record
  • Must pass a background check and DMV screening


Desired additional experience:

  • Prior experience conducting Spotted Owl surveys is highly desirable but not required
  • At least one season managing a field crew and supervising multiple people
  • Experience using a GPS, topographic maps, compass, navigation apps (such as Avenza, GAIA, Caltopo)
  • A personal vehicle with 4WD/AWD and mid to high clearance is highly desirable but not required
  • Basic first aid & wilderness first aid training
  • Professional or life experience interacting with private landowners


Equal Opportunity Employer:

Bird Conservancy of the Rockies is an equal opportunity employer committed to creating a diverse work environment. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, gender, gender identify or expression, sexual orientation, national origin, genetics, disability, age or veteran status. Studies have shown that underrepresented groups, including women and people of color, are less likely to apply for jobs unless they believe they can perform every job description task. We are most interested in finding the best candidate for the job from diverse backgrounds and with attention to lived experience. Bird Conservancy of the Rockies will consider an equivalent combination of knowledge, skills, education, and experience to meet minimum qualifications. If you are interested in applying, we encourage you to think broadly about your background and skill set for the role.

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