What Do Conservation Scientists Do?
Protecting the environment is vital for our future. Conservation scientists work in parks and with farmers, ranchers, federal programs, and other companies and organizations to manage and preserve natural resources without causing environmental harm. You’ll educate people, or develop plans and give instruction in methods to prevent soil erosion, conserve water, manage livestock and other improvements to help both people and the natural world.The conservation field is fairly stable, with a predicted growth of between 1-3%. An estimated 660 jobs will be opening annually.
Conservation Scientists Skills and Abilities
Conservation scientists require extensive knowledge of ecology and biology, both wildlife and domestic, as well as geology, geography, and legal codes for certain positions. You must have strong communication and education skills; significant abilities in reading, writing and speaking are required in order to train and inform others in best environmental practices. You’ll also need a good grasp of customer service to work productively with clients.
Conservation Scientists Duties
Conversation scientists can be employed in a number of different positions, with varying responsibilities. Park naturalists edify visitors in national, state and local parks, preparing and providing educational programs such as tours, brochures and pamphlets, and displays. You will research and give lectures and field trips about local natural history, direct seasonal activities, and may help with maintenance and emergency situations in the park.Range managers work with ranchers to promote effective land usage and livestock management. You will assess the land and develop plans for livestock grazing that will preserve soil stability and vegetation, collaborating with landowners to most effectively utilize their ranges. You’ll help maintain the land and vegetation, investigating methods to protect from pests and damage, while advising on water management, brush control, and other techniques to get a sustainable yield.Soil and water conservationists also work with landowners and land users, advising specifically on questions related to soil and water sustainability. You will study trouble areas and wetlands, researching with land surveys, computer simulations and other environmental studies to identify problems with soil erosion, groundwater purity and other concerns; and find short- and long-term solutions to these issues. You may help negotiate between government agencies and landowners and businesses, and design or make recommendations for conservation programs.
Conservation Scientists Tools and Technology
Depending on the position, you may use a variety of tools. As a park naturalist, you will use all-terrain vehicles, vans, and kayaks to get around, and cutters and fire extinguishers to maintain the park. Range managers and soil and water conservationists use survey equipment in evaluating land, including survey-grade GPS devices, digital cameras, laser measuring systems, and instruments for testing earth, water, and vegetation. You’ll also employ computer software to process data and make calculations to model the effectiveness of your conservation plans.
Education and Training for Conservation Scientists
Unlike some scientific disciplines, many conservation scientist positions do not require an advanced graduate degree. However, you will need at least a bachelor degree in conservation, ecology, forestry or a related field, in addition to training in the particular position you’re seeking.
Conservation Scientists Salary
As a specialized research field, conservation scientist positions pay quite well, with the top earners in the field making over $100,000 a year, depending on experience, type of position and location. While the lowest-paid positions are around $38,000, the median salary nationwide is almost $62,000 a year.
Conservation Scientists Jobs by Geography
Conservation scientists are employed across the country, not only in parks and on ranches and farms but in any communities with environmental concerns. The most jobs are found in the Northwest and the West coast as well as Texas, while the highest average salaries are in Alaska, New England and California. Depending on which type of conservation scientist position you seek, you may need to look for work in locations with parks or extensive rangeland.