Battelle Memorial Institute Lead Temporary Field Technician - NEON Project - D06 - Kansas in Manhattan, Kansas

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Primary Function

Application Instructions: ONLY apply to the one (1) temporary position and location you would consider as your first choice. During the application process, you will provide additional domains/locations you would be willing to work at if your first choice is not available.

Battelle manages and operates the National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON) project, which is solely funded by the National Science Foundation. A 30+ year project dedicated to understanding how changes in climate, land use and invasive species impact ecology, the observatory’s scientists and engineers are collecting a comprehensive range of ecological data on a continental scale across 20 eco-climatic domains representing US ecosystems. Our teams use cutting-edge technology, including an airborne observation platform that captures images of regional landscapes and vegetation; mobile, relocatable, and fixed data collection sites with automated ground sensors to monitor soil and atmosphere; and trained field crews who observe and sample populations of diverse organisms and collect soil and water data. Once structures are completed, a leading edge cyberinfrastructure will calibrate, store and publish this information. The Observatory includes more than 500+ personnel and is the first of its kind designed to detect and enable forecasting of ecological change at continental scales.

We are currently seeking Lead Temporary Field Technicians . These positions are located in Manhattan, KS .


Start Date: March-May 2019

End Date: September-November 2019


NEON’s Domain 06 , Prairie Peninsula Domain’s core sampling site Konza Prairie Biological Station is located within one of the largest remaining areas of unplowed tallgrass prairie in North America, the Flint Hills. In addition to the highly-endangered tallgrass prairie ecosystem, forests, claypan, shrub, and riparian areas are also scattered throughout the preserve. Interestingly, Konza is topographically diverse compared to surrounding areas, with elevations ranging from 1050 to 1457 feet. It also supports a diverse mix of species including 576 vascular plants, 31 mammals, 208 bird species, 34 types of reptiles and amphibians, 20 kinds of fish, and over 700 types of invertebrates. A herd of bison roams freely through a large portion of the preserve and wild turkeys are abundant. A public hiking trail loops through a portion of the site, while the rest of Konza is closed to the public and managed for scientific research, including one of the longest running Long-Term Ecological Research (LTER) sites.

The active relocatable site is located at the University of Kansas Field Station situated in the grassland/forest transition zone of North America, where eastern deciduous forest and tallgrass prairie biomes meet. The core Field Station research area consists of more than 1,800 acres of protected research lands, public trails, and specialized facilities and offers opportunities not only

for scientific research, but also students in the arts and humanities and K-12 teaching disciplines.

The domain office is in Manhattan, KS, located at the junction of the Kansas and Big Blue Rivers. Manhattan lies in the transition between humid continental and humid subtropical climate zones, typically experiencing hot, humid summers, and cold, dry winters. The majority of precipitation occurs as rain between April to August, thus rain gear is a must have for field work.

Nicknamed “The Little Apple”, Manhattan is home to Kansas State University, and offers a broad spectrum of activities including, biking, disc golf, parks, swimming pools/water parks, zoo, discovery center, a large recreational lake (Tuttle Creek Reservoir), arts, concerts, and an active nightlife in Aggieville. Manhattan encompasses 18 sq. miles with a population of 56,000 people and offers all major amenities of larger cities. A city bus service is available and many Battelle Ecology employees commute to work and around town by bike. Manhattan has a newly renovated airport with daily flights to/from Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport and Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport. Kansas City International Airport is just over a 2-hour drive and offers reasonable flights to all major cities. Manhattan has ample housing options typical of a college town.

Major Responsibilities

Lead Temporary Field Technicians perform and supervise seasonal and periodic sampling of physical, chemical and biological data at one (1)-five (5) field sites, while exercising good judgement and decision-making abilities to interpret protocol requirements. Lead Temporary Field Technicians are assigned an area of primary responsibility within the scope of data collection: botany, entomology, mammalogy (except Puerto Rico and Hawaii), or limnology (except Hawaii).

Field observations and collection are conducted using approximately 30 different protocols and multiple Standard Operating Procedures with varying schedule requirements based on local ecosystem and current field conditions.

Daily and weekly work schedules will fluctuate. Workdays can be up to twelve hours long and may be split with both morning and evening work, with work, at times, beginning at dawn and going through to dusk. Workweeks can include weekends and occasionally may be up to 12 consecutive days.

Individuals are responsible for their own housing and transportation to primary work location.


  • Performs and supervises field assignments in a variety of conditions (e.g., weather, terrain, diverse assigned biomes, etc.).

  • Provides training to seasonal and temporary field personnel.

  • Follows established, standardized field procedures for sample collection; records data from sample collection; and processes samples.

  • Records activities and completed work according to Field Operations protocol.

  • Follows safety and Field Operations policy and procedures.

  • Reports issues with implementation of procedures and coordinates resolution with manager and technicians.

  • Assists with routine administrative duties, special projects and other duties as assigned.

  • Carries, moves and lifts field supplies (pack weighing up to 40 lbs.) to assigned field site (which involves diverse and uneven terrain).

Position Requirements

  • High School Diploma. May require an Associate's degree or experience as a fully qualified Temporary Field Technician with one (1) – two (2) years of related experience

  • Knowledge of best practices for accurate and repeatable field and laboratory measurements across multiple scientific disciplines. Complex and variable systems require judgment and independent decision-making abilities

  • Technical skills using best practices in field and ability to identify aquatic or terrestrial flora and fauna to genus and species.

  • Due to the limited number of positions in each domain, technicians must be willing and able to learn and perform procedures and methods outside of the primary responsibility.

  • Willingness to perform maintenance and field sampling outdoors in sparsely populated, remote locations, with distances ranging from 1/2 hour to 6 hours from the domain office. Overnight travel, hiking off trail, and wading in water are typical in most locations.

  • Ability and willingness to work varied field operations schedules (up to 12+ hours per day), including split-shift, part-time, pre-dawn early mornings, evenings and weekends.

  • Ability to hike off trail, long distances, on uneven terrain, at remote locations, in all types of weather, carrying packs weighing up to 40lbs.

  • Ability to work on instrument towers ranging in height from 26 feet to 240 feet and at altitudes of up to 11,000 feet (depending on assigned Domain), involving the ability to ascend and descend multiple flights of stairs.

  • Ability to withstand exposure to fumes, dust, and noise. Field work may require frequent exposure to toxicodendrons (e.g. poison ivy and poison oak), ticks, biting insects and other natural hazards.

  • Proficiency with MS Office Suite (e.g., Excel, Word).

  • Ability to follow written and verbal instructions.

  • High level of attention to detail and accuracy.

  • Ability to work independently and as part of a team.

  • Strong work ethic and enthusiasm.

Previous NEON Project field experience will be highly considered

US Citizen or permanent resident only

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