About the Oregon Nature Conservancy Project
Ecology Field Assistants will help Conservancy staff members with a variety of vegetation inventory, monitoring, research and stewardship projects in support of The Nature Conservancy’s conservation efforts on the Zumwalt Prairie. Volunteers will learn a variety of field ecology skills and apply them in collecting and analysing data on the Zumwalt Prairie and will have the opportunity to learn about and contribute to on-the-ground conservation work. Volunteers need to commit to at least 8 weeks (up to weeks). Volunteers will be expected to work for around 35 hours per week, for the duration of the position. Volunteers will be working on rugged terrain and will be learning and applying botany and ecology skills throughout.
- Familiarise oneself with terrain, vegetation, and ecology and conservation issues of the Zumwalt Prairie
- Learn basic botany and field ecology skills, including use of maps, global positional systems and other equipment
- Work as part of a team conducting a variety research and monitoring projects in the field. These include plant inventory and collection, mapping weeds, monitoring of plant communities, rare plants and plant phenology
- Assist with data entry and quality control.
- Conduct yourself in a professional and timely manner as you learn foundational skills for future employment in natural resources.
- Willingness to commit to and complete a minimum of 8 weeks of volunteer service; 35 hours a week
- Must be in good physical condition and able to walk at least 8 miles (13 kms) per day over rough terrain
- Must be able to tolerate extreme weather conditions of cold, heat and wind while in the field
- Volunteers must be able to maintain concentration and data collection accuracy under fatigue and strain
- Must be willing to live in rustic, remote field housing and share housing with other people
- Previous botany experience is desirable but only a keen interest and solid work ethic is required
- This position requires a mature, responsible individual who can work independently and as part of team.
Benefits of the Project
- The chance to work closely with conservation professionals and learn about the ecology, conservation values and threats of the Zumwalt Prairie
- An opportunity to learn how field studies contribute to real-world conservation work
- Training and experience using field ecology techniques, especially those relating to vegetation in a biologically rich, beautiful and remote part of Oregon
“The volunteers that come to the Zumwalt Prairie from Working Abroad get real hands-on experience in field ecology, working alongside professionals in the field. This is a mutual benefit to both the volunteers, who get a chance to find out whether field ecology is their calling, and to The Nature Conservancy, whose ambitious conservation goals can always use a lift from young people interested in applied science. Several of the volunteers who got their start at the Zumwalt Prairie have become PhD science professionals themselves.” – quote from the Project Manager