Field Technician I – Botany Needed Oak Ridge, TN

Field Technician I – Botany

Location: Oak Ridge, TNWorker Category :Regular Full-Time


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 designed to detect and enable forecasting of ecological change at continental scales.


The Field Technician reports to the Field Operations Manager and will be hired as a Field Technician I level depending on skills, experience, and education.

=95Field Technician I – The Field Technician I is a biological sampling lead performing seasonal and periodic sampling activities and sample processing. Seasonal field sampling is conducted with the assistance of temporary field crews under the guidance of the Field Technician.


Based in the Appalachian-Cumberland Plateau, the research conducted at Domain 07 is primarily located within the Ridge-and-Valley Appalachians and Blue Ridge Mountain physiographic provinces. The domain is comprised of three research sites: 1] Core site (ORNL) at Oak Ridge, TN, 2] remote site (GRSM) at Great Smokey Mountains National Park, TN, and 3] remote site (MLBS) at Mountain Lake Biological Station near Pembroke, VA.

The terrain at all three sites ranges from ridge-and-valley medium-cover deciduous forest with elevations ranging from 800 to 1200 feet, to=20 heavily forested mountainous terrain with elevations ranging from 876=92 to 6643=92.

Domain 07 is host to one of the largest and most diverse stands of temperate old-growth forest in North America. Along with the splendor of the observation sites, Domain 07 also has trying aspects such as challenging off-trail hiking terrain, stinging insects, venomous snakes, and the occasional contact with a curious black bear or a territorial wild boar.

The climate of the domain ranges from the temperate in the spring and fall to the discordant in mid-summer and winter. While winters are cool, frequent snow events and ice storms can make travel problematic. Peak sampling in the summer can also be cumbersome with temperatures in the 90s and high humidity Nearby Knoxville is a regional destination for outdoor enthusiasts. If you love outdoors and crave a variety of outdoor activities, then D07 is the place to be.=20


Botany emphasis:

=95Lead, perform and coordinate plant phenology, diversity, biogeochemistry and productivity measurements.

=95Identify local flora to species using techniques including: general observation, field references, dichotomous key, comparison with identified specimens, or other identification methods. Local species identification skills are used to complete activities such as plant diversity observations, classification of phenological stages of local flora, and sorting of plants and debris into functional group or category.

=95Collect and process samples for activities such as clip harvest, biomass, canopy foliage and leaf area index measurements as well as vegetation structure measurements.

=95Map and measure structural metrics of free-standing woody stems.

General duties include:

=95Report activities, completed work, and sampling problems according to Field Operations protocols.

=95Inspect, maintain and operate field, safety and laboratory equipment.

=95Operate laboratory equipment (e.g. Wiley Mill, drying oven, analytical balance, centrifugal mill, pH meter, microscope, and muffle furnace).

=95Assist the Field Operations Manager with recruiting and training of seasonal field personnel.

=95Provide instruction and technical guidance to seasonal field personnel.

=95Perform plot establishment by locating plots with GPS navigation as well as measuring and marking plots.

=95Assist the Field Operations Manager with materials planning, inventory and ordering as well as day-to-day oversight of personnel and scheduling of activities coordinated from the field office.

=95Follow NEON safety and Field Operations policy and procedures.

Field activities may include:

=95Follow established, standardized field protocols for sample collection and handling; record and verify accuracy of data from sample collections; process samples in the laboratory; send samples to external analytical labs. Train and lead field crews performing the aforementioned items.

=95Perform other field sampling activities as assigned including: ground beetle collection (pitfall trapping), mosquito collection (CO2 light traps, tick collection (dragging and flagging) and soil core collection.

=95Test, troubleshoot and operate tower, soil and aquatic instruments, calibration equipment and test fixtures.

=95Inspect and maintain civil infrastructure including boom arms, sensor mounts, towers, boardwalks and instrument huts.

=95Monitor and sample aquatic sites for water quality, biological indicators and physical properties of site (e.g. gaging streams, geomorphic mapping).

Physical demands:

=95The work is physical and involves walking, hiking, prolonged standing, walking and bending. Heavy items (e.g. equipment and packs up to 40 pounds) must be lifted and carried on a routine basis.

=95Work environment:

=95Field work includes exposure to extreme weather conditions and terrain, pesticides, poisonous plants, biting insects, and wild animals. Tower work involves performing work on instrument towers ranging in height from 24 feet to 300 feet which will include ascending and descending multiple flights of stairs



=95Ability to work in a team environment.

=95Experience should include performing scientific data entry and data management.

=95Ability to hike off-trail to assigned field site for long distances carrying field equipment (pack weighing up to 40 lbs.) for extended periods of time.

=95Ability and willingness to travel overnight frequently (e.g. semi-monthly for 3-4 nights).

Battelle Ecology, Inc. will be selecting an individual for a Field Technician I level. Equivalent education and experience may be considered.

Field Technician I

=95Bachelor=92s Degree in ecology, environmental sciences or related scientific discipline.

=95One (1) or more years=92 of related experience.

Battelle Ecology, Inc. will take into consideration qualifications for specific and diverse experience in the following areas:


=95Effective leadership skills and the ability to motivate others.

=95Effective problem solving skills and the ability to determine and act on changing priorities in a fast paced dynamic environment.

=95Ability to organize and execute multiple activities and priorities.


=95Ability to perform minor troubleshooting, calibration, and repair of field equipment.

=95Ability to follow written and verbal instructions.

=95Ability and willingness to learn and adopt new technologies as needed.

=95Ability to work independently and as part of a team.

=95High level of attention to detail and accuracy.

=95Ability to make effective decisions that take into consideration safety and operational standards.

Working conditions:

=95Ability 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.

=95Ability and willingness to work on towers ranging in height from 24 feet to 300 feet including ascending and descending multiple flights of stairs on instrument towers.

=95Perform field assignments in a variety of terrain and of weather conditions including cold and wet winter weather and extreme heat.

=95Ability to withstand exposure to fumes, dust, and noise.

=95Ability and willingness to travel overnight frequently (e.g. semi-monthly for 3-4 nights) is required.

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.

This position offers competitive total rewards including 401(k), health, vision and dental insurance, paid time off and the opportunity to work at an organization with a great mission.

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.