Turtle Research AmeriCorps Member – Jekyll Island Georgia

Georgia Sea Turtle Center- Jekyll Island Authority

Jekyll Island Authority’s Georgia Sea Turtle Center (GSTC) opened on June 16, 2007. The GSTC is a state-of-the-art facility focused on sea turtle rehabilitation, research, and education. The GSTC is located on beautiful Jekyll Island – a barrier island along Georgia’s southeastern coast – and includes an interactive exhibit gallery, a viewing window into the veterinary care area, an elevated walkway through the rehabilitation pavilion, and a gift shop. Visitors take a self-guided tour through the Center, which is enhanced by daily educational programs. The GSTC offers in-house and outreach programs to schools, tour groups, and community organizations, while also participating in various environmental events in the region.

AmeriCorps is a network of national service programs, made up of three primary programs that each take a different approach to improving lives and fostering civic engagement. Members commit their time to address critical community needs like increasing academic achievement, mentoring youth, fighting poverty, sustaining national parks, preparing for disasters, and more. More than 75,000 Americans across the country participate in AmeriCorps each year. All of them tackle different community needs in different ways to make our people safer, stronger, and healthier; to strengthen our communities; and to Get Things Done for America. For information, please visit https://americorps.gov.

The Research Department at the GSTC works to better understand the ecology and conservation of turtles on Jekyll Island, and in the region, while collaborating with other individuals and organizations to study a wide variety of wildlife. Our flagship project is our sea turtle monitoring program, which for many years has generated important data about the Loggerhead Sea Turtles nesting on Jekyll Island. Our research also focuses on implementing Jekyll Island’s Conservation Plan. The strategy presented in the plan includes a mission to preserve, maintain, manage, and restore Jekyll Island’s natural communities and species diversity while providing nature-based educational and recreational opportunities for the public.

Position Description and Essential Functions

This is a six-month position focused on assisting with the Research Department’s long-term and field-based efforts to understand turtle ecology and conservation on Jekyll Island. In addition to office and field work associated with research, the Turtle Research AmeriCorps Member will participate in educational programs and events.

*Preference will be given to interested individuals continuing their service in GSTC AmeriCorps positions which commenced in March 2021.

Sea Turtle Nest Monitoring (September-October)

  • Conduct dawn surveys beginning at 06:00 a.m. to identify new turtle tracks and nests, locate egg chambers, search for hatchling tracks, and inventory nest contents post-emergence.
  • Operate, maintain, and routinely clean UTVs, GPS units, PIT tag scanners, and other expensive scientific equipment.
  • Enter and proof detailed data in Microsoft Excel and Access.
  • Complete end of season equipment organization and inventory.
  • Assist with sea turtle project reporting and end of season summary development.
  • Assist with additional sea turtle research collaborations.

Turtle Radio Telemetry

  • Use radio telemetry to locate box turtles on Jekyll Island, as well as freshwater turtles and terrapins that have been rehabilitated and released.
  • Characterize used and available habitat based on box turtle locations.
  • Capture, notch/drill ID codes, and collect morphometric data on all freshwater and box turtle species to assist with ongoing species abundance and distribution monitoring.
  • Enter and proof all associated data.

Public Education and Awareness

  • Conduct post-hatching excavations for morning Sunrise Walks educational programs, communicate efficiently with Sunrise
  • Walks tour guides, and assist with crowd control of tour guests (September).
  • Lead morning Ride with Dawn Patrol education programs with staff in conjunction with regular dawn patrols (September).
  • Deliver weekly Life’s a Beach educational program in the Learning Center, which helps people learn about the sea turtles that nest on Jekyll Island and our efforts to study them.
  • Assist in coordination of marine-debris collection surveys and service projects with GSTC volunteers, the general public, and collaborating agencies.
  • Educate the public about conservation and wildlife-related Jekyll Island Ordinances to promote good environmental stewardship behavior.

Additional Responsibilities

  • Remove and discard marine debris found on patrols and recycle or donate beach plastics.
  • Assist with island-wide wildlife response calls as needed (injured/sick/displaced birds, mammals, reptiles, etc.).
  • Interface with the GSTC Education Department, GSTC Rehabilitation Department, Jekyll Island Conservation Department,
  • Georgia Department of Natural Resources, and other local collaborators as assigned. Potential but not guaranteed tasks include assistance with sea turtle and marine mammal stranding events and necropsies, participation in community service with local partners, and learning about coastal ecology through participation in educational and team-building field trips.

General Requirements

  • Experience working in the field with wildlife.
  • Commitment to equity, diversity, and inclusion in all aspects of work.
  • Self-motivated and able to work both independently and with a team.
  • Positive attitude and a desire to learn.
  • Excellent interpersonal skills, team ethic, and cooperation for living and working in a group setting.
  • Excellent and honest communication with colleagues and supervisors.
  • Detail-oriented with high-level organizational skills.
  • A flexible schedule that can include working long shifts, holidays, evenings, and weekends.
  • Tolerance of extreme heat, high humidity, precarious weather and tides, and biting insects.
  • Strong public speaking skills for communicating with diverse audiences.
  • Proficient computer skills (e.g., Excel, Access, Publisher).

AmeriCorps Program Minimum Requirements/Qualifications

  • 18+ years of age.
  • U.S. Citizen or Lawful Permanent Resident Alien.
  • Ability to obtain a U.S. driver’s license.
  • Consent to criminal history, background, and fingerprint checks to be cleared for service.

Preferred

  • Bachelor’s Degree in Biology, or related degree program.
  • Radio telemetry experience.
  • Sea turtle nesting or tagging project experience.
  • Experience mentoring others (e.g., volunteers)
  • Willingness and ability to provide excellent customer service to accommodate a variety of island and program guests.
  • Advanced writing experience, including proper use of grammar and spelling.
  • Salary and Benefits: Living allowance ($5,500 for a minimum of 900 hours of service over six months), island amenity passes, Jekyll Island parking pass, education award ($3,172.50*), and student loan forbearance.

Housing

Optional and partially subsidized shared housing on Jekyll Island is available. If this option is selected, $200* per month rent surcharge (including utilities) will be automatically deducted from payroll, along with a $100* ($50* refundable) security deposit. Houses have limited-bandwidth internet and air-conditioning; they are also equipped with basic furniture and kitchen supplies. You must provide your own linens, towels, and food. Not provided but available: telephone and cable. Pets are not allowed.

 

This position is supported through the federally-funded AmeriCorps program and therefore is considered a term of service.

Duration of Program: September 1, 2021 to February 28, 2022 (2 position)

*Resume, Cover letter, and 3 References MUST be submitted with application, applications received without supporting documents will NOT be considered. The three References may be uploaded in “Other” or can be submitted as one package with Cover Letter.

To apply for this job please visit www.jekyllisland.com.