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Pollinator Field Biology Members - Attwater Prairie Chicken National Wildlife Refuge

Pollinator Field Biology Members - Attwater Prairie Chicken National Wildlife Refuge

ACE EPIC placements provide young adults with focused, hands-on opportunities to work alongside and under the guidance of agency mentors as they apply their knowledge of resource management on their path to becoming the next generation of resource and land managers.
Funding for ACE positions is provided by a federal program designed specifically for the employment of youth and young adults.

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Summary: American Conservation Experience (ACE), a non-profit conservation corps, in partnership with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), is seeking two Pollinator Field Biology Members to study lepidopterans and other arthropods alongside Attwater Prairie Chicken National Wildlife Refuge Staff. During this term, the ACE members will provide support and assistance under the guidance and direction of FWS staff in the accomplishment of monitoring reproductive success of monarch butterflies and abundances of other arthropods important to the diet of the endangered Attwater's Prairie-Chicken. Tasks will include field sampling, processing of samples, and data management.

Start Date: 2/6/2023
End Date: 12/15/2023
**45-week commitment required, approximately 1,800 hours**

Location: Attwater Prairie Chicken National Wildlife Refuge, Eagle Lake, TX

Attwater Prairie Chicken National Wildlife Refuge was established in 1972 to provide habitat for one of the last populations of the critically endangered Attwater's Prairie-Chicken, a ground-dwelling grouse of the coastal prairie ecosystem. This habitat once spanned over 6 million acres from Corpus Christi to southwest Louisiana, but now less than 1% of this fragmented coastal prairie remains. With so little of its home left, the Attwater's Prairie-Chicken has become one of the most endangered birds in North America. The 10,541-acre refuge offers one of the last hopes for survival of this charismatic bird. Located approximately 60 miles west of Houston, Texas, this refuge is home to one of the largest remnants of native coastal prairie remaining in southeast Texas.
Attwater Prairie Chicken National Wildlife Refuge is one of a handful of national wildlife refuges established specifically for an endangered species. The refuge is managed to maintain or improve native coastal prairie communities for Attwater's Prairie-Chicken's reintroduction and survival. Management of this bird's habitat benefits all native wildlife that inhabits this coastal prairie habitat. The refuge is one of the few places to get a glimpse into the past of what the Houston area used to look like before European settlement, where spring wildflowers bloomed, deer pranced, and prairie-chickens danced through the tall-grass prairie. 

Work Schedule: Duties will primarily be carried out Monday - Friday. Bi-weekly totals should not exceed 80 hours. A flexible work schedule may be required, which could involve work performed outside of normal work hours including on weekends and/or holidays. Time off may be granted and requests should be directed to ACE and the FWS for approval.

Living Allowance: The ACE Member is expected to contribute approximately 40 hours/week and will receive a living allowance of $450/week to offset the costs of food and incidental expenses, dispersed bi-weekly.

Housing: ACE members will be accommodated in provided agency housing at no cost for the duration of the term.When residing in FWS provided-housing or on FWS lands, strict adherence to site specific policies and/or regulations is required.

AmeriCorps: This position may be eligible for a 1700-hour AmeriCorps Education Award ($6,345.00) upon successful completion of service hours. Additional enrollment is required.

Public Land Corps (PLC) Non-competitive Hiring Authority: Members serving on this project may be eligible to receive a Department of the Interior (DOI) PLC non-competitive hiring authority certificate upon completion of their term of service. Eligible members must meet standard requirements of completing at least 640 hours (16 weeks at 40 hours/week) and utilize their certificate when applying for qualifying federal positions within 2 years of receipt. PLC projects also include specific eligibility requirements such as age and citizenship. Please contact ACE staff with questions about eligibility.

Position Description:
This individual placement is meant to facilitate personal growth and professional development and promotes exposure to land management agencies and networking with agency professionals. This could include gaining experience in a variety of conservation fields and/or shadowing different work groups.

The member will provide support and assistance under the guidance and direction of FWS staff in the accomplishment of:
  • Follow established protocols for surveying and monitoring lepidopteran and other arthropod populations in the field.
  • Record data accurately and completely.
  • Process samples by identifying, counting, and weighing collected arthropods.
  • Communicate daily with staff to determine day-to-day work plans.
  • Write brief summaries of accomplishments at a frequency to be determined based on discussions with staff.

Physical Requirements: This position requires physical exertion such as walking long distances under hot and humid conditions over wet and rough surfaces while carrying up to 40 lbs.; bending, crouching, stooping, lifting or reaching. Hand and finger dexterity and physical coordination may involve fine and precise procedures, delicate adjustments or exact measurements.

Environmental Conditions/Hazards: The ACE members may encounter environmental conditions/hazards including extreme heat or cold, rocky terrain, swamp or wetland conditions, biting insects, and potentially dangerous wildlife. The member is expected to conduct duties in a safe and orderly manner so as not to endanger self, fellow staff/members or resources.

Vehicle and Equipment Use/Safety: If a vehicle is required for the accomplishment of the duties, one will be provided by the FWS or ACE. Any tools required for the accomplishment of the duties will be provided by the FWS. Use of personal protective equipment (PPE), typically provided by the FWS, will be mandatory for any activity that requires it. Strict adherence to FWS and ACE equipment training, certification and safety protocols is required.

  • Willing and able to represent ACE and the partner organization in a professional, positive, and enthusiastic manner.
  • Ability to be both self-directed/work alone, and be a positive, contributing member of a group.
  • U.S. Citizen or Permanent Resident
  • A valid driver's license and an insurable driving record (documentation to be provided upon request).
  • Willing to undergo a criminal history check.
  • Ability to perform the essential duties of the position with or without reasonable accommodation.
  • Competitive applicants for this position must meet the following requirement(s) to be considered: Holding or pursuing a Bachelor's degree (education or experience in natural resources, biology, ecology or a related subject preferred)
  • Knowledge of taxonomic principles.
  • Experience using dichotomous keys.
  • Deep interest in ecology and understanding the natural world.

To Apply: Please submit your resume, a cover letter demonstrating your interest and experience, and contact information for three professional/academic references to the online application page for this position here:

NOTE: Early consideration will be given as applications are received. This position may close at any time. If you have any questions regarding this position please feel free to contact ACE EPIC USFWS Division Support Specialist, Andrew Garcia, or (928) 419-7035.

Vaccination Requirement: ACE Members must verify that they are fully vaccinated for Covid-19 or have requested and been granted a medical or religious exemption to vaccination by the time they start their term.

EEO: American Conservation Experience provides equal employment opportunities (EEO) to all employees and applicants for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability or genetics. In addition to federal law requirements, American Conservation Experience complies with applicable state and local laws governing non-discrimination in employment in every location in which the company has facilities.