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ACE: General Biological Member – Erie National Wildlife Refuge – AmeriCorps Eligible

ACE: General Biological Member – Erie National Wildlife Refuge – AmeriCorps Eligible 

ACE EPIC placements provide young adults with focused, hands-on opportunities to work alongside and under the guidance of agency mentors as they apply their knowledge of resource management on their path to becoming the next generation of resource and land managers. 

Funding for ACE positions is provided by a federal program designed specifically for the employment of youth and young adults. 

For more information about ACE, please visit:

Summary: American Conservation Experience, a nonprofit Conservation Corps, in partnership with the US Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), is seeking ONE Biological Member to contribute to a variety of projects alongside Erie National Wildlife Refuge Staff. During this term, the ACE member will work directly with the FWS staff in support of various conservation-based goals throughout the refuge. These opportunities are intended for enthusiastic young professionals with a background in wildlife biology, natural resource management, or a related field, and a deep interest in advancing their career in conservation and land stewardship.

Start Date: March 2022 (flexible start date in March)
End Date:  26-weeks after start date
**26-week commitment required**

Location: Erie National Wildlife Refuge in Guys Mills, PA (May travel to a nearby refuge to assist or work with another team)

Erie National Wildlife Refuge was established in 1959. The first lands for the refuge were purchased with funds provided from the sale of the Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamps (also known as Duck stamps). Erie refuge is a namesake of the Erie Indians, a Native American tribe that resided in the area. The refuge is not on the shores of Lake Erie, but lies in Crawford County, 35 miles south of the city of Erie and Lake Erie in northwestern Pennsylvania. 

Erie is the only refuge in the nation protecting endangered northern riffleshell and clubshell mussels. French Creek, the most biologically diverse stream in Pennsylvania, flows near the Refuge where over 80 species of native fish are found. The refuge is designated as an Important Bird Area by the National Audubon Society and attracts more than 230 species of birds. For more information about Erie National Wildlife Refuge, please visit:

Work Schedule: Work hours may vary. Some surveys will require work at dusk and dawn.  Bi-weekly totals should not exceed 80 hours. A flexible work schedule may be required, which could involve work performed outside of normal work hours including on weekends and/or holidays. Time off may be granted and requests should be directed to ACE and the FWS for approval.

Living Allowance: The ACE Member is expected to contribute approximately 40 hours/week and will receive a living allowance of $400/week to offset the costs of food and incidental expenses, dispersed bi-weekly.

Housing and Travel: ACE members will be accommodated in provided agency dormitory-style housing at no cost for the duration of the term. Some may travel to a nearby refuge to assist or work with another team. Travel costs such as gas, tolls, food during travel can be reimbursed.

AmeriCorps: This position may be eligible for a 900-hour AmeriCorps Education Award ($3,097.50) upon successful completion of service hours. Additional enrollment and volunteer service is required.

Public Land Corps (PLC) Non-competitive Hiring Authority: Members serving on this project may be eligible to receive a Department of the Interior (DOI) PLC non-competitive hiring authority certificate upon completion of their term of service. Eligible members must meet standard requirements of completing at least 640 hours (16 weeks at 40 hours/week) and utilize their certificate when applying for qualifying federal positions within 2 years of receipt. More information can be provided upon request.

Position Description:

This individual placement is meant to facilitate personal growth and professional development and promotes exposure to land management agencies and networking with agency professionals. This could include gaining experience in a variety of conservation fields and/or shadowing different work groups.

Primary Duties include:
  • Conduct various surveys on wildlife species, vegetation, and water monitoring.
  • Conduct vernal pool monitoring
  • Conduct bat acoustic monitoring
  • Ensure the quality of the data being collected. 
  • Collect biological data in digital format with handheld GPS unit.
  • Analyze field data and trends over time, to use for report writing 
  • Accept guidance and direction from supervisor and other permanent and temporary refuge staff as designated by supervisor. 
  • Invasives management assistance as needed.
  • Assist with other refuge projects as assigned, such as other biological surveys, visitor services, maintenance, refuge festivals, and other outreach events. 

Physical Requirements: This position requires physical exertion such as walking long distances over wet and rough surfaces while carrying up to 40 lbs.; bending, crouching, stooping, lifting or reaching. Hand and finger dexterity and physical coordination may involve fine and precise procedures, delicate adjustments or exact measurements. 

Environmental Conditions/Hazards: The Invasive Species Management and Mapping Technicians may encounter environmental conditions/hazards including extreme heat and humidity, rocky terrain, swamp or wetland conditions, biting insects, poison ivy, and potentially dangerous wildlife. The member is expected to conduct duties in a safe and orderly manner so as not to endanger self, fellow staff/members or resources. 

Vehicle and Equipment Use/Safety: A vehicle will be provided by the FWS for on station duties. Personal vehicles will be needed for personal use. Any tools required for the accomplishment of the duties will be provided by the FWS. Use of personal protective equipment (PPE), typically provided by the FWS, will be mandatory for any activity that requires it. Strict adherence to FWS and ACE equipment training, certification and safety protocols is required.  


Competitive applicants for this position can hold or be pursuing a bachelor's degree in wildlife biology, botany, natural resource management, or other related discipline appropriate to this position.


  • Willing and able to represent ACE and the USFWS in a professional, positive, and enthusiastic manner. 
  • Ability to be both self-directed/work alone, and be a positive, contributing member of a group.
  • U.S. Citizen or Permanent Resident
  • A valid driver's license and an insurable driving record (documentation to be provided upon request).
  • Personal vehicle for personal travel/ commuting.
  • Willing to undergo and must pass required criminal history checks.
  • Ability to perform the essential duties of the position with or without reasonable accommodation.
  • Work safely at all times and use appropriate PPE. 
  • Ability to work well in a team, which will usually consist of 2 ACE members but may also include other seasonal and refuge staff on occasion. 
  • Ability to work independently a majority of the time, maintaining a good work ethic and attention to detail for the entire length of the internship. 
  • Ability to work under adverse conditions, including rain, mosquitoes, deer flies, and ticks. 

Preferred (choose one):

  • Prior experience in biological field work. Training in activities and equipment will be provided.
  • Ability to maintain a positive attitude. 
  • Get along well with others in shared housing, including other ACE members, temporary staff, and visiting researchers. 

To Apply: Please submit your resume, unofficial academic transcripts, a cover letter demonstrating your interest and experience, and contact information for three professional/academic references to the online application page for this position by clicking the "Apply Externally" button.

NOTE: Early consideration will be given as applications are received. This position may close at any time. If you have any questions regarding this position please feel free to contact ACE EPIC USFWS Division Support Specialist, Claire Barnwell,, (585) 484-7626.

Vaccination Requirement: ACE Members must verify that they are fully vaccinated for Covid-19 or have requested and been granted a medical or religious exemption to vaccination by the time they start their term.

EEO: American Conservation Experience provides equal employment opportunities (EEO) to all employees and applicants for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability or genetics. In addition to federal law requirements, American Conservation Experience complies with applicable state and local laws governing non-discrimination in employment in every location in which the company has facilities.