Vegetation Monitoring Crew Member - Shenandoah National Park
American Conservation Experience
Location: Luray, Virginia
Type: Full Time
Area of Focus:
American Conservation Experience, a nonprofit Conservation Corps, in partnership with the National Park Service, is seeking ONE Vegetation Monitoring Crew Member to work alongside Shenandoah National Park staff collecting forest vegetation and rare plant monitoring data at sites throughout the park.
Estimated End Date: September 15, 2023 (or 18 weeks after start date)
*An 18-week commitment is required*
Location: Shenandoah National Park Headquarters, Luray, Virginia
Shenandoah National Park contains 196,000 forested acres along the crest of the Blue Ridge Mountains in northern Virginia. The Park's backcountry of steep rugged terrain contains 500 miles of trails, including 95 miles of the Appalachian National Scenic Trail, and nearly 80,000 acres of federally designated wilderness. Skyline Drive, the famous scenic tour road through the Park, follows the ridge crest for 105 miles and connects to the Blue Ridge Parkway.
Nearly two million people visit the Park each year to enjoy views from the Skyline Drive, hike trails, rock climb, enjoy nature study, camp, or stay overnight in one of the Park's rustic lodges or backcountry cabins. The Park supports approximately 1,400 vascular plant species, numerous state-rare plant species, and a variety of forest community types. The mountain streams are inhabited by 40 species of fish, over 230 taxa of aquatic invertebrates.
For more information regarding Shenandoah National Park, or the National Park Service, please visit: www.nps.gov/shen/
Position Overview: The ACE member will participate as part of a crew to monitor forest vegetation using standard sampling techniques; assist with rare plant monitoring and protection activities; perform data entry and management tasks, particularly on rainy days; participate in meadow monitoring; receive training for plant identification, sampling methods, and field safety; and cross-train with other natural resource management operations.
Physical Demands: An excellent level of physical fitness is required. The member must have the ability to carry a heavy 40-lb pack and carry longer equipment such as measuring poles in their hands while hiking on and off trails for several miles every day. The member must have the desire and ability to spend 10 or more hours per day outside away from bathrooms and the shelter of buildings in hot and humid weather. It is essential that they are able to hike in steep and rocky off trail terrain, and also have the ability to tolerate extended periods of standing, looking upward, bending, stooping and crawling.
The member must also have a strong willingness to be exposed to the daily hazards of the field environment including heights and cliff edges, stormy weather, deep mud, stream crossings, thick tall thorny vegetation, disease carrying ticks, stinging insects, bears, snakes, and spiders. Ground nesting hornets are abundant in summer, and stings are common. The member will be required to wear a helmet, gaiters, and safety glasses throughout the summer in accordance with program safety policies.
Educational and Training Opportunities: This individual placement is meant to facilitate professional development and promotes exposure to land management agencies and networking with professionals. Training opportunities include plant identification; use of GPS equipment; off-trail field navigation; photo documentation; vegetation sampling methods; field safety, first aid / CPR.
The staff at Shenandoah National Park will also coordinate with the Member to set up educational cross-training days. Topics may include plant restoration, invasive plant control, fisheries, wildlife, trail work, interpretation, or student education.
Schedule: Monday - Thursday 7:00 a.m. - 5:30 p.m.
Living Allowance: The ACE Member is expected to contribute ~40 hours/week and will receive a living allowance of $275/week to offset the costs of food and incidental expenses, disbursed bi-weekly.
Reimbursable Relocation Allowance: ACE members will have access to up to $400 to be used for eligible relocation expenses. Further details regarding distribution of these funds will be provided during the interview process.
Housing: ACE Members will be accommodated in housing provided by the park at no cost for the duration of the term.
Housing consists of several homes with double occupancy bedrooms. Housing will most likely be in Luray, VA or within 10 miles. If housing is located further than 10 miles from Luray, VA, a government vehicle is intended to be provided for transportation to and from the work site. If one is not available, there will be a travel allowance provided. Luray, VA is 5 miles from Park Headquarters and has all of the standard amenities (grocery stores, movie theater, shops, restaurants, library etc.). Laundry facilities are also available at park housing locations.
Cell phone reception is not always reliable. A personal vehicle is required for transportation related to personal needs (e.g., food shopping). The site is remote and there is no reliable public transportation. Members will have use of a government vehicle for work related travel.
AmeriCorps Education Award Program: This position may be eligible for a 675-hour AmeriCorps Education Award while serving under the EAP 2022/23 grant year program, valued up to $2,474.27 upon successful completion of a complete service term and 675 hours.
Loan Forbearance: AmeriCorps Members may also be eligible for federal loan forbearance. Additional enrollment steps are required.
Provided Training/Orientation: ACE members will receive position specific training and an orientation outlining ACE policies and procedures, clear guidance on prohibited activities, and networks for support.
Public Land Corps Hiring Authority: Members serving under this agreement may be eligible for a federal hiring authority upon completion of their term of service. PLC projects also include specific eligibility requirements such as age and citizenship. Please contact ACE staff with questions about eligibility, or view general information online here.
Members must be US citizen or Permanent Resident, as required to comply with U.S. government contracts
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.
A valid driver's license and an insurable driving record (documentation to be provided upon request).
Willing to undergo and must pass required three-part criminal history checks.
Ability to perform the essential duties of the position with or without reasonable accommodation.
This position is physically demanding. The member must be physically able to walk long distances off-trail in mountainous terrain and serve outdoors for much of the day while carrying a 40lb backpack.
Must be willing to use chemical tick bite protection measures (Permanone) on clothing and gear.
A personal vehicle is required for transportation related to personal needs.
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.
ACE Members will need to complete bi-weekly timesheets, beginning of term feedback forms, end of term evaluations and for longer terms, a mid-term evaluation.
Member may not participate in any prohibited activities as listed in the Member Service Agreement or as defined by AmeriCorps
To learn more about eligibility requirements, please visit our website here.
Competitive applicants for this position can hold or be pursuing a minimum of a bachelor's degree and/or have relevant experience in subject areas such as ecology, biology, forestry, botany, environmental science, natural resource management or a related discipline.
Ability to focus well and withstand repetitive tasks such as counting and measuring plants.
Deep interest in botany, biology, and strong desire to learn and serve outdoors is critical
Physical Demands, Work Environment and Working Conditions:
Physical Demands: See 'Position Overview' section above.
Vision Requirements: Requires close, distance, peripheral and depth perception vision as well as the ability to focus.
Weight Lifted or Force Exerted: Frequently moves up to 40 pounds, ability to move up to 50 pounds.
Environmental: See 'Position Overview' section above. This individual will serve in outdoor and indoor conditions. Work environment conditions can change frequently, working under adverse weather conditions and in various climates.
Noise Environment: Moderate noise such as in a business office with equipment and light traffic.
Travel: Ability to travel as a passenger in a vehicle driving on winding mountain roads without becoming ill.
Environmental Conditions/Hazards: The ACE Member(s) 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 NPS or ACE. Any tools required for the accomplishment of the duties will be provided by the NPS. Use of personal protective equipment (PPE), typically provided by the NPS, will be mandatory for any activity that requires it. Strict adherence to NPS and ACE equipment training, certification and safety protocols is required.
American Conservation Experience (ACE) is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing rewarding environmental service opportunities for youth of all backgrounds to explore and improve public lands while gaining practical professional experience.