Volunteers needed for pika research in the Northern Rockies and Cascade Mountains
The USGS Northern Rocky Mountain Science Center is seeking full-time volunteers for the summer to assist in research on American pikas, alpine ecosystems, and landscape climatology. Volunteers will work in teams traveling to remote locations across the West to survey pikas, deploy microclimatic sensors, and survey microtopography for validation of LiDAR-based talus maps. Work will involve frequent camping and strenuous hiking on rocky talus slopes throughout Montana, Wyoming, Idaho, Utah, Washington, and Oregon. Focused research will likely occur within the Sapphire Mountains near Missoula, MT for about half of the field season. Although breathtakingly scenic, accessing these locations is physically demanding, often requiring sustained hiking in remote, rocky, high-elevation locations. In particular, logistics involve navigating a 4WD vehicle on unmarked dirt roads, and then using map, compass, and GPS to day-hike or backpack off-trail to unmarked locations 1-12 miles from the vehicle. Some sites may require hikes that ascend upwards of 900 m in elevation. Vehicles, equipment, and instruction in field techniques and safety practices will be provided. Volunteers will receive per diem and reimbursement of eligible expenses. Per diem rates generally range from $23 to $60/day depending on travel status (i.e. camping or not) and location. Field work will likely start in late June and extend through September. Start and end dates may be negotiated to accommodate specific needs such as student volunteers resuming school in September. Because field-work will require extensive training in methods of data collection, we prefer that volunteers commit at least 2.5-3 months to the project. Students wishing to develop senior theses or earn academic credit for their volunteer efforts may make arrangements with their University.
If interested, please email a Word document or pdf that includes your resume, cover letter, and contact information for 3 or more references to Dr. Aaron Johnston (USGS Northern Rocky Mountain Science Center; email@example.com (406) 994-7158) by 15 May 2015. Please include your dates of availability in the cover letter. Applications may be accepted after this date if positions remain unfilled.
• Ability to hike on rockslides with a moderately heavy backpack in rugged, high-elevation areas. • Familiar with navigation by maps, compass, and GPS
• Comfortable working and camping in remote, backcountry locations • Critical-thinking skills, attention to detail, and positive attitude • Valid driver’s license with a good driving record.
– Experience in backcountry navigation, GPS, and collection of field data. – Interest in ecology, wildlife, climate, physical geography, and scientific research – Plant ID skills