Southern Sierra Research Station

...conserving biological diversity through research

2018 Research Opportunities

Backcountry Riparian Song Bird Survey Technician


Location: Los Padres National Forest and the South Fork Kern River, California near Weldon, CA.

Dates of Employment: Early April through June with possible extension depending on interest. Start and End dates somewhat flexible.

Application deadline: Applications should be submitted by 28 February 2017 for full consideration.

Number of Openings: 2

The Southern Sierra Research Station (SSRS) is looking for two seasonal full-time riparian songbird survey technicians to conduct backcountry point counts in remote sites in Los Padres National Forest with secondary duties involving several riparian avian projects on the South Fork Kern River, Kern County, CA, which is located in the foothills of the southern Sierra Nevada. Each technician will be responsible for conducting 6 point count transects/ survey period in 3 survey periods from mid-April to end of June to collect baseline data for assessing response to future restoration efforts. Technicians will also be responsible for conducting vegetation assessments in LPNF, and entry and proofing of all point count and vegetation data collected.

Work in Los Padres National Forest will be conducted in rugged mountainous terrain which can be hot in June. Transects are located in remote conditions where data has not been previously collected because of logistical difficulties. Technicians should be prepared for adventure, as the duties of this position will involve camping in a tent close to the start of the next day's transect, hiking up to 1 hour on hiking trails to the start of the transect possibly in the dark over rough terrain, early mornings in order to arrive at the start of the transect before sunrise, and traveling between point counts on unmaintained roads. Technicians should be prepared to think for themselves as this is the pilot year of the project. This is a position for someone who is independent, a self-starter, and a problem-solver.

Point count technicians will also have the opportunity to conduct field work on the South Fork Kern River when not in LPNF which could include point counts, Yellow-billed Cuckoo and Willow Flycatcher surveys, nest searching for Common Yellowthroats, Yellow Warblers, and Song Sparrows, MAPS banding, Brown-headed Cowbird target-netting, and vegetation sampling depending on experience and interest.

The applicant is expected to work well independently, accomplish project tasks on schedule, follow field survey and safety protocols, coordinate their own field activities, and communicate well with fellow technicians and project supervisors.

Required Qualifications: Must be able to identify western riparian songbirds by sight and sound, have familiarity with western flora, a valid driver's license, must possess camping equipment and backpacking gear, and be able to work closely with other technicians. Training for all survey protocols will be provided, but prior bird identification skills are required. Applicants with prior experience performing avian point count surveys and with backpacking experience will be given preference. Applicants must be in good physical condition.

Applicants should email a single file which includes 1) a one-page cover letter including an example of problem solving skills and a backcountry experience of note (feel free to get creative), 2) a CV with dates of availability in a header, and 3) names and contact information (email and phone) of most pertinent references to: Patti Wohner at the following email address: jobs.ssrs@gmail.com. Please include your name and position being applied for, e.g., "Darwin_C_backcountry_point_count_technician" in the file name of your attachment and the postion you are applying for in the email subject line. The Southern Sierra Research Station (www.southernsierraresearch.org) is an Equal Opportunity Employer.

Salary: $2,100-$2,400/month, depending on experience. Shared housing (while not at LPNF) is provided at the Research Station headquarters in Weldon, CA. Work vehicles are provided.

Contact Person: Patti Wohner

Contact Phone: 760-378-3345

Contact e-mail: jobs.ssrs@gmail.com


Southwestern Willow Flycatcher Crew Leader


Location: Weldon, CA. Our work is conducted along South Fork of the Kern River situated in the foothills of the southern Sierra Nevada

Dates of Employment: mid-April to late-August.

Application deadline: Applications should be submitted by 28 February 2017 for full consideration.

Number of Openings: 1

The Southern Sierra Research Station (SSRS) is looking for one seasonal full-time Willow Flycatcher crew leader in Weldon, California. The southwestern Willow Flycatcher project aims to document the occurrence of this endangered subspecies in the Kern River Valley. The crew leader will supervise field technicians and will be responsible for: 1) following field survey protocols, 2) making sure surveys and follow up are conducted accordingly and within the appropriate time frame, 3) checking entered data, 4) being able to coordinate activities of up to at least 4 people working on several projects, and 5) regularly communicating with both their crew and project supervisors.

Other primary duties include conducting Willow Flycatcher surveys, target mistnetting and trapping for Brown-headed Cowbirds, songbird nest monitoring, and vegetation sampling. Data entry and proofing will also be a main job duty. The applicant is expected to work well as a team member and independently. The crew leader will also have opportunities to work on other projects including western Yellow-billed Cuckoo surveys, Flammulated Owl nest box checking, and assistance on a MAPS bird banding station.

Required Qualifications:

  • Bachelor's degree in Natural Resources, Wildlife Management, Wildlife Biology, Environmental Science or a related field
  • Demonstrated leadership skills
  • Demonstrated time and data management/organizational skills
  • Must be in excellent physical condition and be able to traverse through rugged terrain, wet overgrown areas, and large amounts of dead and downed wood
  • Mistnetting experience
  • All applicants must be able to work independently and as part of a team
  • Must have a valid U.S. driver's license
  • Must be a U.S. citizen or possess a valid U.S. work visa
  • Must be available for employment from approximately 15 April 2018 through at least 20 August 2018. This time frame may be extended into September depending on funding and availability.


Desirable Qualifications:

  • Previous experience in a supervisory/crew leader role
  • At least 3 seasons of field experience
  • Previous experience conducting threatened/endangered species surveys
  • Previous experience in bird monitoring and/or identification of southwestern U.S. riparian bird species
  • Previous experience using GPS units and ArcGIS
  • Enthusiasm for fieldwork, persistence, a verifiable great work ethic, and ability to deal with difficult field conditions (extreme heat, rough, uneven terrain, dense vegetation)


Applicants should email a single file (word or pdf) which includes 1) cover letter stating their interest in the position, dates of availability, 2) a resume, and 3) names and contact information (email and phone) of three references to: Jenna Stanek at the following email address: jobs.ssrs@gmail.com. Please include your name in the file name of your attachment (e.g. Darwin_C_application.doc) and the postion you are applying for in the email subject line. The Southern Sierra Research Station (www.southernsierraresearch.org) is an Equal Opportunity Employer.

Salary: $2,200-2,500/month, depending on experience. Shared housing is provided at the Research Station headquarters in Weldon, CA. Work vehicles are provided.

Contact Person: Jenna Stanek

Contact Phone: 760-378-3345

Contact e-mail: jobs.ssrs@gmail.com


Southwestern Willow Flycatcher Field Assistants


Location: Weldon, CA. Our work is conducted along South Fork of the Kern River situated in the foothills of the southern Sierra Nevada

Dates of Employment: May to late-August. Start and end dates are somewhat flexible

Application deadline: 15 March 2018

Number of Openings: 3

Job Description: Three field assistants are needed to assist with research on a population of Southwestern Willow Flycatchers (WIFL) along the South Fork of the Kern River in southern California. The southwestern Willow Flycatcher project aims to document the occurrence of this endangered subspecies in the Kern River Valley. We also anticipate opportunities to assist in riparian songbird nest monitoring. The study site is situated in the gorgeous foothills of the southern Sierra Nevada.

Assistants will participate in WIFL population surveys, songbird nest searching and monitoring, target mistnetting, resighting color-banded birds, cowbird trapping, vegetation sampling, and data entry and proofing. The field assistants will also have opportunities to work on other projects and will be expected to take on responsibilities that are not directly related to the main research project depending on their qualifications. Some of these activities may include Flammulated Owl nest box checking, Yellow-billed Cuckoo surveys, and assistance on a MAPS bird banding station.

Required Qualifications:

  • Bachelor's degree in Natural Resources, Wildlife Management, Wildlife Biology, Environmental Science, or a related field
  • Demonstrated time management and organizational skills
  • Must be in excellent physical condition and be able to traverse through rugged terrain, wet overgrown areas, and large amounts of dead and downed wood
  • Mistnetting and/or bird banding experience preferred
  • All applicants must be able to work independently and as part of a team
  • Must have a valid U.S. driver's license
  • Must be a U.S. citizen or possess a valid U.S. work visa


Desirable Qualifications:

  • Previous experience in bird monitoring and/or identification of southwestern U.S. riparian bird species
  • Prior season(s) of field experience
  • Previous experience conducting threatened/endangered species surveys
  • Previous experience using GPS units and ArcGIS
  • Enthusiasm for fieldwork, persistence, a verifiable great work ethic, and ability to deal with difficult field conditions (extreme heat, rough, uneven terrain, dense vegetation) are as more important as past experience or specific knowledge.


Applicants should email a single file (word or pdf) which includes 1) cover letter stating their interest in the position, dates of availability, 2) a resume, and 3) names and contact information (email and phone) of three references to: Jenna Stanek at the following email address: jobs.ssrs@gmail.com. Please include your name in the file name of your attachment (e.g. Darwin_C_application.doc) and the postion you are applying for in the email subject line. The Southern Sierra Research Station (www.southernsierraresearch.org) is an Equal Opportunity Employer.

Salary: $1,800-$2,200/month, depending on experience. Shared housing is provided at the Research Station headquarters in Weldon, CA. Work vehicles are provided.

Contact Person: Jenna Stanek

Contact Phone: 760-378-3345

Contact e-mail: jobs.ssrs@gmail.com