SAFS and COASST are Hiring!

The School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences has an outstanding opportunity for a Continuing Education Volunteer Coordinator to support the Coastal Observation and Seabird Survey Team (COASST).

The Coastal Observation and Seabird Survey Team (COASST) is a rigorous citizen science organization based in the School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences at the University of Washington. Now 15 years old, COASST recruits and trains coastal citizens from northern California north to Kotzebue, Alaska to survey their local beach in a systematic, standardized fashion, returning data on a monthly basis about the number, identity, and condition of beached marine birds and, separately, marine debris. Additional data on the conditions on the beach are also collected. COASST experts independently verify all participant data (i.e., species identification), making the data immediately useful in science and resource management. At present, almost 800 volunteers collect data as part of the COASST program. All participants are trained in a 5-6 hour session, and given a set of data collection materials, including the relevant COASST Field Guide and written protocol. Once data collection starts, COASST interns and professional staff keep in close contact with each volunteer, making sure (s)he has adequate supplies and is continuing the survey at least monthly. Additional enrichment activities, including refresher trainings and evening public lectures on coastal natural history and conservation are also available to volunteers and their communities.


The Volunteer Coordinator is the nexus point of volunteers, and of student interns, responsible for the coordination of and communication with all COASST volunteers, including, but not limited to training.

This position manages a corps of more than 800 citizen science participants (expected to more than double in the next 3 years) as well as an undergraduate internship program that supports 10-15 students on a quarterly basis. The volunteer coordinator must work across the beached bird and marine debris data collection modules, assuring communication flow from a complex network of scientists, staff, and students to the program’s participants. Citizen Science is a growing field, and the University of Washington has several well-recognized programs pairing scientists and professional staff with citizen data collectors and adult learners. This position could significantly advance the role of the university in terms of public interaction with science. At the same time, marine debris is an issue of high importance to state and federal management agencies with coastal oversight. This position will interface directly with key personnel at the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, the Washington Department of Natural Resources, the National Park Service, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration; and will represent the University of Washington and the College of the Environment in those interactions.

This position’s lead responsibility is to manage and improve the experience for COASST volunteers, from training to withdrawal, and assure COASST data collection sites are adequately covered. Additional responsibilities include:

  • Manage and improve the experience for COASST volunteers, from training to withdrawal, and assure COASST data collection sites are adequately covered;
  • Manage the student intern program: quarterly recruitment of undergraduate student interns and senior interns; assuring retention and leadership development for all students;
  • Off-site training and enrichment programs for COASST volunteers and COASST interns;
  • Contributing to grant proposals and reports, contribution to training materials, creation of materials and presentations for scientific and public audiences.


To review all requirements for this position and to apply online, please visit University of Washington Employment.

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