Biology Support Members - Southwest Florida Gulf Coast Refuge Complex

American Conservation Experience

Immokalee, Florida

Job Type Temporary
Salary Details $645/week

American Conservation Experience, a nonprofit Conservation Corps, in partnership with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), is seeking 2 Biology Support Members to contribute as Biological Support alongside Southwest Florida Gulf Coast Refuge Complex Staff. During this term, the ACE member will provide support and assistance under the guidance and direction of FWS staff to contribute to critically needed management activities on two National Wildlife Refuges in Southwest Florida: the Florida Panther National Wildlife Refuge and Ten Thousand Islands National Wildlife Refuge.

For more information about ACE, please visit: www.usaconservation.org.

Start Date: 01/22/2024
Estimated End Date: 10/04/2024
*a 37 week minimum commitment is required, approximately 1,480 hours*

Location Details/Description: Florida Panther NWR, Immokalee, FL., and Ten Thousand Islands NWR, Collier County, FL.

Florida Panther NWR is located within the heart of the Big Cypress Basin, encompassing the northern reach of the Fakahatchee Strand, the largest cypress strand in the Big Cypress swamp. This Refuge protects core habitat for the endangered Florida panther and all native wildlife who roam within the apex predator’s habitats.  

Ten Thousand Islands NWR is part of the largest expanse of mangrove forest in North America. Approximately two thirds of the refuge is mangrove forest, which dominates most tidal fringes and the numerous islands, or keys. The northern third of the refuge consists of brackish marsh and interspersed ponds, small coastal hammocks of oak, cabbage palms, and tropical hardwoods such as gumbo limbo.  Several threatened and endangered species utilize the refuge including the Florida manatee, peregrine falcon, wood stork, as well as green, Atlantic loggerhead, and Kemp's Ridley sea turtles. 

For more information about Florida Panther NWR, please visit https://www.fws.gov/refuge/florida-panther. For more information about Ten Thousand Islands NWR, please visit https://www.fws.gov/refuge/ten-thousand-islands.

Position Overview: The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) is working with others to conserve, protect, and enhance fish, wildlife, plants, and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. This position will help FWS realize that mission at the Southwest Florida Gulf Coast Refuge Complex.

During this term, the ACE Member will have the ability to gain a wide range of career building experiences, while contributing to the critically needed management activities on the Refuge Complex. 

The member will provide support and assistance under the guidance and direction of FWS staff in the accomplishment of:

  • Biological surveys, inventories and other monitoring projects
  • Inventory and treatment of invasive plants and animals
  • Public outreach, data collection and data entry
  • Refuge management activities such as equipment/facility maintenance and trail clearing

This individual placement is meant to facilitate professional development and promotes exposure to land management agencies and networking with professionals. This could include gaining experience in different conservation fields and shadowing different work groups.

Schedule: Duties will primarily be carried out Monday-Friday (8:00AM-4:30PM EST) for a total of 40 hours per week, with occasional weekend and nighttime work. Sea turtle activities from May to September may require beginning work as early as 5:30AM, two-three days per week.

Position Benefits

Living Allowance: The ACE Member is expected to contribute ~40 hours/week and will receive a living allowance of $645/week to offset the costs of food and incidental expenses, dispersed bi-weekly.

Public Land Corps Hiring Authority: Members serving under this agreement may be eligible for a federal hiring authority upon completion of their term of service and 640 hours of service. If the duration of a PLC-eligible term is not long enough for Members to accrue 640 hours of service (~16 weeks), the total hours served at the completion of the term may be eligible to be combined with hours accrued from another PLC-eligible term to meet the 640 hours requirement. PLC projects also include specific eligibility requirements such as age and citizenship. Please contact ACE staff with questions about eligibility, or view general information online: https://www.usaconservation.org/epic/#eligibility-requirements

Housing: ACE members will be accommodated in provided FWS housing in a shared bunkhouse setting on the Florida Panther National Wildlife Refuge at no cost for the duration of the term.

Gear Reimbursement: ACE members will have up to $200  to spend on eligible gear purchases. Eligible gear for this position includes boots, pants, outerwear, etc., and must be approved by ACE staff prior to purchase. 

Provided Training/Orientation: The ACE members will receive position specific training and an orientation outlining ACE policies and procedures, clear guidance on prohibited activities, and networks for support. Specific training may include completion of the federal Motorboat Operator Certification Course (MOCC), and ATV/UTV Certification Course.

Grant Funding Opportunity:  The selected candidate(s) for this position will be eligible to apply for ACE’s Access and Inclusion Grant. This is a $500 grant which is intended to make participation in ACE positions more accessible to individuals who are underrepresented in the conservation field. Grant recipients will be able to allocate this funding to financial need(s) of their choosing. A limited number of grants are available. 



  • Members must be a U.S. citizen or Permanent Resident, as required by U.S. government contracts
  • Willing and able to represent ACE and the partner organization in a professional, positive, and enthusiastic manner. 
  • Ability to be both self-directed/work alone, and be a positive, contributing member of a group.
  • A valid driver's license and an insurable driving record (documentation to be provided upon request).
  • Willing to undergo and must pass the required two-part criminal history check.
  • Able to work independently in the field without direct supervision/assistance, as well as in a diverse team setting.
  • Ability to perform the essential duties of the position with or without reasonable accommodation.
  • ACE Members will need to complete bi-weekly timesheets, beginning of term feedback forms, end of term evaluations and for longer terms, a mid-term evaluation. 
  • To learn more about eligibility requirements, please visit our website: https://www.usaconservation.org/epic/#eligibility-requirements


  • Competitive applicants for this position can hold or be pursuing a Biological Sciences degree or related field of study and/or have relevant experience.
  • Knowledge of biological fieldwork such as wildlife telemetry, monitoring sea turtles, plant identification, and conducting various wildlife surveys.
  • Willing to assist with lethal wildlife control activities to minimize sea turtle nest depredation and control exotic invasive species.
  • Prior GPS and GIS experience is preferred.
  • Have personal transportation means. No public transportation is available due to remote living and working conditions. Work vehicle is provided by USFWS for official government use only.
  • Tolerant of heat, biting insects and the presence of venomous snakes and poisonous plants in the field.

Physical Demands, Work Environment and Working Conditions:

  • Physical Demands: Members must be able to hike one-way distances of up to 3 miles over rough terrain while carrying loads of up to 45 lbs., able to swim, and be in good physical condition. Requires physical exertion such as walking long distances over wet and rough surfaces while carrying up to 45 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.
  • Vision Requirements: Requires close, distance, peripheral and depth perception vision as well as the ability to focus.  
  • Weight Lifted or Force Exerted: Frequently moves up to 45 lbs., ability to move up to 45 pounds.
  • Environmental: The work performed involves regular and recurring exposure to extreme weather conditions (e.g., high heat and humidity), thick vegetative conditions, venomous snakes, poisonous plants (e.g., widespread poison ivy), biting insects, and wild animals. 
  • Noise Environment: Moderate to high noise such as gas-powered chainsaws and other hand and power tools.
  • Travel: This position does not require unique travel.

Environmental Conditions/Hazards:  The ACE members may encounter environmental conditions/hazards including extreme heat or cold, rocky terrain, swamp or wetland conditions, biting insects, 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: If a vehicle is required for the accomplishment of the duties, one will be provided by the FWS or ACE.  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.  


To Apply: Please submit your resume, a cover letter demonstrating your interest and experience, and contact information for three professional/academic references to the online application page for this position here: https://usaconservation.applicantpool.com/jobs/1038210. Early consideration will be given as resumes are received. This position may close at any time. If you have any questions regarding this position please feel free to contact ACE EPIC FWS Member Manager, Cait Dunne, at cdunne@usaconservation.org

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.

When you apply, please indicate that you are responding to the posting on Conservation Job Board.

Category General / Stewardship, Wildlife
Tags GIS