Sierra Nevada Forest Ecologist

Point Blue Conservation Science

Point Blue Conservation Science

United States
Posted on Saturday, September 9, 2023

Location: Remote (must reside in United States)

Deadline to Apply: 10/1/2023

Position Type: Full-Time, Exempt

Compensation and Benefits: $75,000- $85,000 Annually, depending on experience and internal equity. Point Blue provides a comprehensive benefit package including employer paid medical and dental for staff and 75% for dependents. Other benefits include life insurance, long-term care, long and short-term disability, flexible spending accounts, and retirement plans as well as time off benefits.

About Point Blue:

Point Blue Conservation Science is a growing and internationally renowned non-profit with over 160 staff and scientists based in Petaluma, California. Founded in 1965 as Point Reyes Bird Observatory, our mission and programs have evolved over time to include a broad range of conservation activity, from restoration to environmental education to innovative work in the field of regenerative agriculture.  We have a proven track record of scientific excellence.

We recognize that increasing racial, gender, cultural, and other diversity, equity, and inclusion factors at Point Blue and in our partnerships is essential for the success of our mission, vision, and strategy. We are actively engaging in a process to create lasting organizational change. We seek applicants from all backgrounds to join our teams. We strongly encourage applications from people with backgrounds that are under-represented in the conservation community.

Job Summary:

The Sierra Forest Wildlife Ecologist will oversee and manage multiple research and monitoring projects on forest, fire, and wildlife ecology in the Sierra Nevada, including the long-term data sets such as the Sierra Nevada Broadscale Avian Monitoring (SNBAM) project. The project will lead efforts in the Sierra group to use machine learning to detect species from autonomous recording devices. This position provides scientific leadership inside and outside the organization, collaborating with others to develop and fund research and monitoring projects and develop new approaches to their fields of study. This position provides technical assistance and quantitative ecology expertise within the Sierra Nevada Group and the larger organization. This position oversees management of seasonal staff, including training, mentoring, delegation, and ensuring adherence to policies, protocols and regulations while providing a nurturing, fun and team-oriented work environment.

Essential Functions:

Conservation Science: 55%

  • Plans, designs, and oversees research and monitoring projects on forest, fire, and wildlife ecology from conception through application, including study design, data collection, storage, statistical analysis, modeling, reporting, publishing, and disseminating findings and working with managers to apply them.
  • Ensures consistent and reliable standardized data are gathered, entered, stored, and backed up.
  • Responsible for data management, proofing, validation, curation, delivery, and accessibility.
  • Develops, maintains and updates content for the Sierra Nevada Avian Monitoring Information Network (SNAMIN) website.
  • Leads and assists in publishing science in peer reviewed journals, popular articles, and scientific and general presentations.
  • Creates outreach and education tools and materials that interpret Point Blue science for the land management community, including white papers, public articles, public presentations, and workshops.
  • Interacts with the Sierra Nevada science community, including attending meetings, workshops, and symposia to disseminate Point Blue science.

Scientific Leadership: 20%

  • Represents Point Blue to the larger conservation community to ensure that Point Blue science is used to achieve conservation outcomes, especially Point Blue’s strategic plan outcomes.
  • Participates in intra- and inter-organizational studies, and identifies and provides commentary on new approaches, research opportunities, and conservation planning.
  • Communicates results to the science community, the public, partners, and environmental policy decision makers to support conservation.
  • Works with land managers to apply Point Blue’s science.
  • Collaborates with other inter-organization and intra-organization project leaders to continue existing monitoring, interpret data, provide management recommendations, and secure funding for new projects in the Sierra Nevada to advance Point Blue’s mission and strategic objectives.
  • Provides statistical and GIS assistance or expertise to all Sierra Group staff and inter-group staff at Point Blue.
  • Assists with Point Blue vision-setting efforts, including attending retreats and workshops that help deliver the strategic plan.
  • Leads development of new research ideas and grant development for new projects.
  • Represents Point Blue to the larger scientific community by 1) presenting research at scientific meetings, 2) publishing results in peer-reviewed journals and 3) participating in the peer-review process for related research, as invited and as time allows.
  • Collaborates internally and externally on research projects that address Point Blue strategic priorities.
  • Develop new remote-sensing methods for ecological monitoring using machine learning and AI.

Supervision and Personnel Management:  10%

  • Plans, designs and oversees the work of staff involved in performing research and monitoring projects.
  • Hires and oversees the work of staff; trains and mentors staff members, assigns duties, and monitors adherence to policies, protocols and regulations. Provides a nurturing, fun and team-oriented work environment.
  • Meets with staff to identify and resolve problems; performs personnel actions, such as approving timesheets and evaluates performance.
  • Provides leadership in strengthening internal communication within the team and staff at all levels of the organization; creates and promotes a positive and supportive work environment.
  • Manages and participates in the development of the budget; directs the forecast of additional funds needed for staffing equipment, materials, and supplies; approves and directs the monitoring of expenditures.
  • Continuously monitors and evaluates the efficiency and effectiveness of methods and procedures; identify opportunities for improvement and review with higher level staff; direct the implementation of improvements.

Technical Assistance for Research: 5%

  • Works directly with staff that need help with study design, research ideas and analysis.
  • Provides reviews of research proposals, study designs, manuscripts, and presentations.
  • Works closely with Point Blue’s Informatics Group and Quantitative Ecology Program to ensure sufficient capacity for data management and analysis for the Sierra Nevada group and other new types of data.
  • Facilitates research and publication.

Other Duties as Assigned: 10%

  • Perform special projects and research as assigned.
  • Perform other duties as assigned.

Supervisory Responsibility:

1 to 2 field crew leads who have up to 6 seasonal Technicians working for them

Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities:

  • Thorough knowledge of frequentist and Bayesian statistical analysis procedures and practices using R or other statistical software.
  • Thorough knowledge of forest and/or fire ecology and wildlife ecology.
  • Thorough knowledge of wildlife monitoring study design and sampling procedures and practices.
  • Working knowledge of data analysis with machine learning and artificial neural networks.
  • Working knowledge of Sierra Forest ecology.
  • Knowledge of other programming languages such as SQL or Python.
  • Knowledge of grant writing and/or fundraising techniques and best practices.
  • Knowledge of natural resource management methods and interactions with ecosystem function.
  • Demonstrated experience working with diverse stakeholders and developing partnerships to achieve strategic goals
  • Well-developed understanding of climate change impacts to ecological communities
  • Strong computing skills including statistical analysis using R and spatial data processing using ESRI and other geographical information systems.
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills, including demonstrated success in clearly and concisely translating science to diverse audiences via public speaking and written materials
  • Meeting facilitation skills
  • Ability to stay abreast of recent developments in relevant scientific research and provide peer review of internal and external manuscripts.
  • Experience applying machine learning and artificial intelligence to ecological monitoring data is a plus.

Certifications and/or Licenses:

  • Valid California driver’s license and favorable driving history, and proof of auto insurance.

Preferred Education and Experience:

This position requires a combination of education and experience equivalent to a master’s degree in ecology or related field; and at least 1 year of supervisory experience and 3 years of experience as a principal investigator leading studies in forest ecology or related field.  PhD preferred.

Work Environment & Physical Requirements:

  • This position operates in a hybrid environment between a home office and professional office setting. This position may also work from remote field locations with uneven terrain, limited vehicle access, limited cell phone reception, and sometimes in a solitary capacity.
  • Requires ability to work outdoors under variable weather. Requires mobility over various terrains.
  • Routinely uses standard office equipment such as computers, phones, photocopiers, scanners, and filing cabinets
  • Work environment is indoors with majority of time spent at a desk
  • Ability to stand, bend, stoop, sit, walk, twist and turn
  • Ability to move up to 25 pounds occasionally
  • Ability to move up to 40 pounds occasionally
  • Ability to use a computer keyboard and calculator
  • May require the ability to operate an all-terrain vehicle, motor vehicle, boat, or aircraft and to travel to different sites and locations.

Position Type, Expected Hours of Work, and Travel:

  • This is a full-time position.
  • Days and hours of work vary according to the season.
  • Evening and weekend work may be required as job duties demand.
  • Limited travel to study sites within the full Sierra geography is expected for this position. Requires the ability to travel overnight up to one week per month during the spring/summer.
  • Remote/hybrid employees should choose a work environment that is free from distractions, has a reliable internet connection, and supports the employee’s ability to dedicate their full attention to their job duties during work hours.

To Apply: Please click here. You will be asked to upload a resume/CV and cover letter. If you encounter difficulties with the application, please contact

Point Blue is an equal employment opportunity employer and does not discriminate against applicants or employees because of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, age, citizenship status, disability status of an otherwise qualified individual, membership or application for membership in an uniformed service, or membership in any other class protected by applicable law and will make reasonable accommodation for applicants with disabilities to complete the application and/or participate in the interview process.