Temporary Field Technicians

Battelle and its affiliate, Battelle Ecology, Inc. manages and operates the National Ecological Observatory Network (NEONTM) 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=92s 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.=20 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 Temporary Field Technicians. This position located in South Salt Lake City, Utah.


This position reports to the Manager Field Operations of the assigned domain. Temporary Field Technicians assist with field observation; sample collection and handling; sample processing and sample shipment of a variety of taxa.

The Temporary Field Technician will perform a variety of scientific and technical tasks. The Temporary Field Technician is a biological sampling technician performing seasonal and periodic sampling activities. Temporary field sampling is conducted with direction from and assistance of Field Technician I, II and III. The Temporary Field Technician will also perform field and laboratory activities. The Lead Temporary Field Technician may provide guidance to temporary field technician crews.

Daily and weekly work schedules will fluctuate. Work days may be up to twelve hours long. Work days may be split with morning and evening work. At times, work may begin at dawn and go through dusk. The work week may also include weekends, holidays and occasionally may be scheduled up to 12 consecutive days and could include weekends and holidays.


Follow established, standardized field procedures for sample collection; record data from sample collection; process samples in the domain lab; and prepare samples for shipment to external analytical labs.

Field sampling activities include the following observation and specimen collection activities:

Rodent live trapping

Invertebrate collections

Sediment, soil and water sample collection

Plant diversity observations

Plant biomass and primary productivity measurements

Lake/stream bathymetry and morphology

Riparian mapping

Operate laboratory equipment including Wiley Mill, drying oven, analytical balance, and muffle furnace.

Utilize GPS navigation system for locating, measuring and marking plots; and placing and setting traps.

Perform inspection and maintenance of laboratory and field equipment.

Assist with materials planning and ordering.

Record activities and completed work according to Field Operations protocol.

Perform field assignments in a variety of conditions (e.g., weather, terrain, diverse assigned biomes).

Carry, move and lift field supplies (pack weighing up to 40 lbs.) to assigned field site (diverse and uneven terrain).

Follow NEON safety and Field Operations policy and procedures.

Individuals are responsible for their own housing and transportation.

Overnight stays will be required depending on domain location.


Must be 18 years of age or older.

High School diploma or equivalent.

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

Ability to work safely in variable field conditions including:

Cold and wet weather and extreme heat

Hiking on difficult or hazardous terrain

Exposure to stinging insects and other animal and plant hazards

Ability to work independently and as part of a team.

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

Ability to follow written and verbal instructions.

Strong work ethic and enthusiasm.

Ability to withstand exposure to fumes, dust and noise.

Must possess a current and valid State issued driver=92s license with insurable Department of Motor vehicle record (parking violations, minor driving offenses excluded) as determined by Battelle Ecology Inc.=92s insurance provider.

Must have permanent authorization for US employment. Battelle Ecology, Inc. will not provide any kind of visa sponsorship.


Bachelor=92s degree in an associated scientific discipline (ecology, forestry or related field).

Experience conducting ecology related lab or field work.

Experience conducting field studies on rodents and collecting blood samples (small mammal techs).

Experience identifying plants through visual inspection and use of dichotomous key (botany techs).

Experience backcountry hiking and navigating (maps, compass, and GPS).

Backcountry safety training course or other safety training.

Experience leading field sampling activities, hikes, or assisting nature societies with seasonal nature observations.

Overnight stays will be required depending on domain location. All costs associated with business related travel are covered by the project.

Battelle Ecology, Inc. provides employment and opportunities for advancement, compensation, training, and growth according to individual merit, without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity, marital status, age, genetic information, or disability. Our goal is for each staff member to have the opportunity to grow to the limits of their abilities and to achieve personal and organizational objectives. We will support positive programs for equal treatment of all staff and full utilization of all qualified employees at all levels within Battelle Ecology, Inc.


The NEON Project=92s Domain 15 site consists of two beautiful field sites in Utah. Field sites are located SW of Salt Lake City in the West Desert (ONAQUI) and just South of the town of Moab (MOAB). These sites are characterized by expansive sagebrush/shrubland and pinyon-juniper habitats. Domain base locations are classically Western, with sweeping views of valleys, plains and local mountains that are fun and exciting to live and work in.

The field season will be from approximately mid-March through October, with staggered start and end times. The terrain is moderately rugged requiring regular 4WD driving, UTV use and challenging hiking. We work in all kinds of weather, across seasons: very hot and dry, heavy precipitation, and freezing windy days.  Crews spend >90% of the time focused on a wide variety of field activities, with one laboratory based technician. Expect highly variable schedules, including 10-12-hour days for many days in a row, as well as periods of less than 40 hours a week, as storms, wildfires and flash floods impede sampling.  Hazards are generally minimal, but include some chance of encountering stinging insects, rattlesnakes, thorny plants, and potentially dangerous encounters with large mammals.  Lastly, all of our sites involve moderate to long travel times with some overnight stay required when working at the MOAB site.

Most temporary technicians will be based out of Salt Lake City, but smaller crews may be based in Moab, UT. Technicians will be responsible for finding their own housing in the base location where they are hired, each of which provides unique outdoor experiences! Salt Lake is 20 minutes from world-class skiing, backpacking, and rock climbing, with all the cultural benefits of a large city. Although the remote base locations are smaller in size, Moab is an epicenter of outdoor adventurers interested in rafting, desert sandstone rock climbing, and mountain biking. Working in Domain 15 offers the best of the West, spanning the Great Basin and the Colorado Plateau.

For more information about our other openings, please visit: http://www.neonscience.org/about/careers