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Stellwagen Sanctuary seabird stewards research program

Summary / Description


Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary, in collaboration with Mass Audubon, is expanding their study of seabirds in the sanctuary. Our goals are threefold:

  1. to systematically collect baseline data on seabirds within sanctuary boundaries to compare populations over time;
  2. to educate the public about seabirds and connect residents with their sanctuary; and
  3. to train a group of observers to join our scientists in this groundbreaking project.

The resulting data will be used to compare relative abundance of seabirds over time–to help us understand populations within the sanctuary and their possible impacts on local ecosystems and as a barometer for other changes in the environment.

You will join our team of Volunteer Steward, expert-level birder observers and other citizen scientists who are good data recorders.  As a member of the Stellwagen Sanctuary Seabird Stewards Program, you will have the rare chance to go to sea with sanctuary and Mass Audubon staff as part of a project with a professional research team. You will be trained to count birds on the Stellwagen Bank sanctuary research vessel, Auk, and on commercial whale watch boats.

The Auk takes at least six seabird stewards on each full-day cruise. Six to ten volunteers per week will have the opportunity to be bird observers on whale watch vessels during the season.  Trips run approximately four hours and leave from several ports.

Skills Required

A successful candidate will be able to
• Follow protocol and record data accurately at sea. (If able to id seabirds to species level, can be an observer).
• Travel comfortably on open water and in a variety of weather conditions.
• Stand on deck for prolonged periods of time.
• Use basic equipment, such as a GPS unit.
– On vessel or in office, Enter data into MS Access. Create graphs in Excel, and visuals in powerpoint. Help organize trainings or other events as needed.
• Help arrange weekly cruises – coordinate with volunteers and whale watch companies.
• Basic GIS skills desirable, but not required.

Other Information

Internship Location: NOAA/Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary
175 Edward Foster Rd.
Scituate, MA 02066

Intern Supervisor: Anne-Marie Runfola / Number of slots available: 1

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