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Biological Support Member – Erie National Wildlife Refuge

Job Location

Guys Mills, PA


Type of Job




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Published Date

Jan 19, 2023

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Biological Support Member – Erie National Wildlife Refuge


American Conservation Experience (ACE), a non-profit conservation corps, in partnership with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), is seeking ONE Biological Support Member to contribute to the biology program alongside Erie National Wildlife Refuge Staff.

For more information about ACE, please visit:


Start Date: March 2023
Estimated End Date: September 2023
*29 week commitment is required - start date may have 1 to 2 week flexibility*


Location Details/Description: Erie National Wildlife Refuge; Guys Mills, PA


Erie National Wildlife Refuge was established in 1959. The first lands for the refuge were purchased with funds provided from the sale of the Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamps (also known as Duck stamps). Erie refuge is a namesake of the Erie Indians, a Native American tribe that resided in the area. The refuge is not on the shores of Lake Erie, but lies in Crawford County, 35 miles south of the city of Erie and Lake Erie in northwestern Pennsylvania.


Erie is the only refuge in the nation protecting endangered northern riffleshell and clubshell mussels. French Creek, the most biologically diverse stream in Pennsylvania, flows near the Refuge where over 80 species of native fish are found. The refuge is designated as an Important Bird Area by the National Audubon Society and attracts more than 230 species of birds.


For more information about Erie National Wildlife Refuge, please visit:


Position Overview: During this term, the ACE member will support a variety of projects and contribute to various conservation-based goals throughout the refuge. The member will provide support and assistance under the guidance and direction of FWS staff to:

  • Conduct various biological inventories/surveys of plant and wildlife species, including breeding landbirds, vernal pool amphibians, freshwater mussels, migratory waterbirds, and wetland plants
  • Monitoring of invasive terrestrial and aquatic plants
  • Monitoring of forest regeneration in old fields
  • Mechanical, chemical, and biological control of invasive plants
  • Conduct water quality monitoring in streams and creeks
  • Monitoring of managed wetland impoundments (including monitoring water levels, water control structures, culverts, and nuisance beaver issues)
  • Conduct bat acoustic monitoring
  • Ensure the quality of the data being collected.
  • Collect biological data in digital format with handheld GPS unit.
  • Analyze field data and trends over time, to use for report writing
  • Accept guidance and direction from supervisor and other permanent and temporary refuge staff as designated by supervisor.
  • Invasives management assistance as needed.
  • Assist with other refuge projects as assigned, such as other biological surveys, visitor services, maintenance, refuge festivals, and other outreach events.

This individual placement is meant to facilitate professional development and promotes exposure to land management agencies and networking with professionals. This could include gaining experience in different conservation fields and shadowing different work groups.


Schedule: Duties will often be carried out between 8 am - 4:30 pm, typically 5 days/week. (5-8s). Work hours may vary. Some surveys will require work at dusk and dawn. 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.


Position Benefits


Living Allowance: The ACE Member is expected to contribute approximately 40 hours/week and will receive a living allowance of $400/week to offset the costs of food and incidental expenses, dispersed bi-weekly.


AmeriCorps Education Award Program: This position may be eligible for an 900-hour AmeriCorps Education Award while serving under the EAP 2022/23 grant year program, valued up to $3,247.50 upon successful completion.


Loan Forbearance: AmeriCorps members may also be eligible for federal loan forbearance. Additional enrollment steps are required.


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:


Housing: ACE members will be accommodated in provided agency dormitory-style housing at no cost for the duration of the term. Some may travel to a nearby refuge to assist or work with another team. Travel costs such as gas, tolls, food during travel can be reimbursed.


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.




  • Members must be a U.S. citizen or Permanent Resident, as required byU.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 the required three-part criminal history check.
  • Ability to perform the essential duties of the position with or without reasonable accommodation.
  • 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.
  • Work safely at all times and use appropriate PPE.
  • Ability to work well in a team, which will usually consist of 2 ACE members but may also include other seasonal and refuge staff on occasion.
  • Ability to work independently a majority of the time, maintaining a good work ethic and attention to detail for the entire length of the internship.
  • Ability to work under adverse conditions, including rain, mosquitoes, deer flies, and ticks.
  • Members may not participate in any prohibited activities as listed in the Member Service Agreement.
  • To learn more about eligibility requirements, please visit our website:


  • Prior experience in biological field work. Training in activities and equipment will be provided.
  • Experience conducting bird point counts/breeding bird surveys in different environments, such as forests, wetlands, and shrublands, and experience identifying birds of the Northeast by sight and sound.
  • Ability and willingness to work with the public in a professional manner, work independently and as part of a team, work in challenging field conditions, learn new field techniques, and maintaining a positive attitude.
  • Ability and willingness to be flexible and adaptable to changing field conditions, schedules, and priorities.
  • Deep interest in applied conservation management and collaborative work with conservation partners.

Physical Demands, Work Environment and Working Conditions:

  • Physical Demands: Requires sitting, standing, walking, hiking, carrying, using hands to handle or feel, reaching with hands and arms, talking and hearing. Manual dexterity required for use of various tools, computer keyboard/mouse and other office equipment. Required to stoop, kneel, climb stairs, and/or crouch. Ability to hike over rough terrain, and camp overnight under field conditions.
  • 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 25 lbs., ability to move up to 50 pounds.
  • Environmental: Outdoor work environment conditions can change frequently; working under adverse weather conditions and in various climates. Indoor work includes office environment conditions; indoor air quality is good and temperature is controlled.
  • Noise Environment: Moderate noise is to be expected such as in a business office with equipment and light traffic, or outside such as wildlife and effects from weather.
  • Travel: This position may require domestic travel.

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 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 and/or ACE, will be mandatory for any activity that requires it. Strict adherence to FWS and ACE equipment training, certification and safety protocols is required.


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: Early consideration will be given as resumes 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 Member Manager, Claire Barnwell at or (585) 484-7626.

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.

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