Become part of Hawaii’s conservation story

Battelle manages and operates the National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON) 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’s 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.  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. These positions are located in Hilo, HI.



Domain 20 is based out of Hilo, on the Big Island of Hawai`i. The instrument tower, sensor arrays and all of our sampling locations are located within the Pu`u Maka`ala Natural Area Reserve (NAR), an 18,730 acre tract consisting largely of unique native rainforest.  Koa and `ohi`a forests within the reserve are home to three critically endangered bird species and many rare and culturally important plants. Because of the biological and cultural significance of the site, field technicians will be expected to follow rigorous decontamination protocols to minimize the risk of spreading disease such as rapid `ohi`a death (ROD) and introducing invasive and non-native species into the reserve. 


Field technicians can expect to learn, practice and perfect their skills on over a dozen plant and invertebrate based sampling protocols. The field season here is year-round but the most active time will be from April until October. The Hilo area receives, on average, over 126 inches of rainfall annually (Seattle, WA gets 38inches), making it one of the wettest places in the world and the fourth rainiest city in the US. Areas upslope of Hilo, including the study site, will receive nearly 220 inches of precipitation in a year.  More than 70% of your time will be outdoors and the remainder will be working in the lab processing samples and preparing for upcoming fieldwork. Techs will need to be flexible in the hours that they work, with some days starting at dawn and some ending after dusk.  Much of our work is conducted at plots that will remain active research sites for the length of the 30 year project. Access to the plots is typically off-trail and can require walking 100 to 500 meters on uneven ground, through dense vegetation, while watching for open lava tubes and drop-offs.  D20 field techs will also be expected to remain vigilant and respond appropriately when working near endangered bird species, their nests and other populations of rare plants and animals. 


Recreation and entertainment opportunities abound in and around Hilo (population 43,263 in 2010). With easy access to Volcano National Park, numerous state and county beaches, vibrant farmer’s markets, fishing, lava tubes, waterfalls and heritage sites, you won’t have any problem finding things to do on your time-off. 



Start Date: April 2019

End Date: October-November 2019



Temporary Field Technicians perform seasonal and periodic sampling of physical, chemical and biological data at one (1)-five (5) field sites, while exercising good judgement and decision-making abilities to interpret protocol requirements. Temporary Field Technicians are assigned an area of primary responsibility within the scope of data collection: botany, entomology, mammalogy (except Puerto Rico and Hawaii), or limnology (except Hawaii).


Field observations and collection are conducted using approximately 30 different protocols and multiple Standard Operating Procedures with varying schedule requirements based on local ecosystem and current field conditions.


Daily and weekly work schedules will fluctuate.  Workdays can be up to twelve hours long and may be split with both morning and evening work, with work, at times, beginning at dawn and going through to dusk.  Workweeks can include weekends and occasionally may be up to 12 consecutive days.


Individuals are responsible for their own housing and transportation to primary work location.



  • Performs field assignments in a variety of conditions (e.g., weather, terrain, diverse assigned biomes, etc.).
  • Follows established, standardized field procedures for sample collection; records data from sample collection; and processes samples.
  • Records activities and completed work according to Field Operations protocol.
  • Follows safety and Field Operations policy and procedures.
  • Reports issues with implementation of procedures and coordinates resolution with manager and technicians.
  • Assists with routine administrative duties, special projects and other duties as assigned.
  • Carries, moves and lifts field supplies (pack weighing up to 40 lbs.) to assigned field site (which involves diverse and uneven terrain).



  • High School Diploma.  Some post high school, specialized training or technical certificate may be required.
  • Knowledge of best practices for accurate and repeatable field and laboratory measurements across multiple scientific disciplines. Complex and variable systems require judgment and independent decision-making abilities
  • Technical skills using best practices in field and ability to identify aquatic or terrestrial flora and fauna to genus and species.
  • Due to the limited number of positions in each domain, technicians must be willing and able to learn and perform procedures and methods outside of the primary responsibility.
  • Willingness to perform maintenance and field sampling outdoors in sparsely populated, remote locations, with distances ranging from 1/2 hour to 6 hours from the domain office. Overnight travel, hiking off trail, and wading in water are typical in most locations.
  • Ability 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.
  • Ability to hike off trail, long distances, on uneven terrain, at remote locations, in all types of weather, carrying packs weighing up to 40lbs.
  • Ability to work on instrument towers ranging in height from 26 feet to 240 feet and at altitudes of up to 11,000 feet (depending on assigned Domain), involving the ability to ascend and descend multiple flights of stairs.
  • Ability to withstand exposure to fumes, dust, and noise. Field work may require frequent exposure to toxicodendrons (e.g. poison ivy and poison oak), ticks, biting insects and other natural hazards.
  • Proficiency with MS Office Suite (e.g., Excel, Word).
  • Ability to follow written and verbal instructions.
  • High level of attention to detail and accuracy.
  • Ability to work independently and as part of a team.
  • Strong work ethic and enthusiasm.


Previous NEON Project field experience will be highly considered

US Citizen or permanent resident only


Battelle provides employment and opportunities for advancement, compensation, training, and growth according to individual merit, without regard to race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy), national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity, marital status, age, genetic information, disability, veteran-status, or any other characteristic protected under applicable Federal, state, or local law. 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.

To apply, or view more positions, visit


  • Posted On

    December 7, 2018
  • Closing Date

    June 5, 2019
  • Organization

    Battelle - NEON Project
  • Location

    Hilo, HI
  • Position Type

    Full Time
For more information about Battelle - NEON Project and this opportunity please visit our website at, contact us at Contact Phone or via email at

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