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Biological Field Research Technician

The Oregon State University Human and Ecosystem Resiliency and Sustainability (HERS) Lab is a research institution co-led by OSU Cascades and the National Park Service that delivers expertise in ecological assessment and monitoring, restoration, and native plant materials to support evidence-based conservation for the 21st century. The HERS Lab hosts the Upper Columbia Basin Inventory and Monitoring Network of the National Park Service (UCBN), East Cascades Native Plant Hub (ECNPH), and the Northwestern Bat Hub on the OSU Cascades campus in Bend, OR.

The Lab is hiring one Biological Field Research Technician 2 (BSRT2) to assist UCBN with collecting long-term monitoring data on vegetation communities in park units and the East Cascades Native Plant Hub with seed collection, propagation, and restoration planting.

The technician hired for this position will primarily assist UCBN long-term monitoring (May-August) of camas lily, Lemhi penstemon, sagebrush steppe vegetation, pinyon pine, and limber pine. Park sites include Nez Perce National Historic Park, Craters of the Moon National Monument, City of Rocks National Reserve, and Big Hole National Battlefield. The technician will also assist ECNPH with seed increase and planting (April-May) and seed collection and planting (September-October) throughout Central Oregon. 

This position will be based in Bend, OR and will require regular travel and camping, frequently on field hitch schedule (8 days on/6 days off). Technicians will be part of a crew of 2-3 UCBN staff that frequently collaborates with HERS lab staff, individual park staff, and additional partners. 

50% Conduct Field Surveys (UCBN):

  • Assisting with vegetation monitoring protocols designed to address UCBN’s vegetation vital signs (training provided).
  • Confidently and consistently identifying grasses, forbs, shrubs, and trees by sight and using a dichotomous key.
  • Hiking long distances (up to 12 mi), on and off trail, over very rugged terrain.
  • Hiking with packs weighting 30+ pounds
  • Collecting vegetation data using tablets and hand-held GPS units.
  • Working independently and collaboratively with a team.

10% Data Management and Summary (UCBN):

  • Compiling, entering, and reviewing field data records, ensuring accuracy and completeness.
  • Inventorying and maintaining field gear.
  • Collaborating with UCBN staff to complete protocol reviews.

40% Native Plant Materials Projects (ECNPH):

  • Seed collection and seed cleaning.
  • Greenhouse maintenance including plant propagation, watering, and pest management.
  • Field activities including planting for seed increase and restoration projects.

Required Experience:

  • Experience with plant taxonomy, identifying plants by sight, and using dichotomous keys to identify unknown plants.
  • Enthusiasm for learning tree pests and pathogens identification
  • Interest in native plant propagation and restoration planting.
  • Experience with using hand-held GPS equipment for data collection and navigation, including Survey123 and Field Maps.
  • Proficiency with Microsoft Office products (Word, Excel, PowerPoint) and database programs (Microsoft Access).
  • Willingness and ability to hike off-trail on very rugged terrain with a heavy pack.
  • Willingness and ability to camp and work in variable weather conditions, while always prioritizing safety.
  • Demonstrated ability to work independently, self-direct, and collaborate effectively.
  • Strong organizational, interpersonal, and communication skills, both verbal and written.
  • Valid, state-issued driver’s license.
  • A demonstrable commitment to promoting and enhancing diversity

Preferred Experience:

  • Background in vegetation monitoring
  • Experience identifying rangeland and sagebrush steppe species (grasses, forbs, and shrubs) in addition to trees in forested habitats.
  • Experience implementing forest stand exam techniques, including measurement of tree diameter, heights, and health characteristics.
  • Experience in learning and applying tree pest and pathogen identification skills.
  • Experience with native plant propagation and planting.