The University of Minnesota is seeking interns to conduct wildlife surveys including birds, small mammals, insects, reptiles and amphibians on Minnesota tallgrass prairies. The research will be looking at how harvesting restored prairies for biofuel affects wildlife. The project is funded by the Legislature-Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation. The project is taking place in three areas in Western Minnesota; the Northwest site is near Crookston, the West Central site is near Morris, and the Southwest site is near Windom.
The starting date will be mid-March to mid-May with an estimated end date of September first.
Bird survey duties will include identifying prairie birds by sight and sound as well as familiarity with different survey methods including nest searches. Bird surveys will be conducted during the morning chorus hours (~5:30-10 am) from approximately mid May until mid July when breeding season is finishing up.
Small mammal survey duties will include identifying species, determining age (either adult or juvenile) and sex, taking measurements, and ear tagging while in the field. The project will use a capture-recapture method in a trapping grid using Sherman live traps. Small mammal surveys will be conducted early morning and traps reset in the evening.
Insect surveys may include methods such as sweep netting, pitfall trapping and transect walks identifying butterflies and bees. Some collected insects will need to be packaged and put on ice in the field, others will need to be collected and put into a preservative solution.
Reptile and amphibian surveys will entail using drift fences with pits and funnels. Species captured and size will be recorded.
The person(s) applying for these positions must work independently and as a team member. Applicants must be responsible, organized and able to keep accurate records in the field. Some of the surveys have a relatively short window of opportunity due in part to breeding seasons or temperature constraints. This will require the applicant to have a flexible schedule and be willing to work odd hours including some weekends and holidays. The position will entail extensive travel throughout the western Minnesota prairie region and requires a valid driver's license. Accommodations include a house that we have been allowed to use in the Windom area, and hotels/apartments in the Morris and Crookston areas. Camping may also be necessary in some cases. If you have experience in any of these wildlife groups or are willing to learn please apply. Starting pay is approximately $10.00/ hour.
To apply, please email the following materials together in one email by March 5th, 2012: **Letters of recommendation should be sent separately**
** The letters should be emailed in by your references. Please have them write your last name in the subject title for the email.
All materials should be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org. If you have any questions regarding the application process or the internship please email the above address or call 763-434-5131.
You will be considered for this internship if (a) you are a US citizen or (b) a foreign citizen attending a US college or university full-time.
The University of Minnesota is an equal opportunity employer and educator