[MARMAM] Volunteer field technicians are bad for wildlife ecology

Gerry Ryan gezryan at gmail.com
Mon Nov 23 22:14:04 PST 2015

Dear Marmammologists,

The expectation of unpaid work harms the scientific community
systematically excluding participation by those unable to work for nothing.

Given the troublingly frequent postings of unpaid volunteer and internship
positions to this list, I highlight the below article from the *Wildlife
Society Bulletin*. It does not consider marine mammal jobs specifically,
but is undeniably apposite to the field.

Fournier, & Bond, 2015, Volunteer field technicians are bad for wildlife
ecology, *Wildlife Society Bulletin,* DOI: 10.1002/wsb.603

Abstract: Many advertised field-technician positions sound worthwhile, but
have no or very low pay. Although these can be valuable experiences, not
paying technicians for their work undermines their professionalism and the
professionalism of science as a whole. These unpaid technician positions
are available to only the privileged few; and the positions exclude
minorities, parents, and other groups who cannot afford to work unpaid. By
creating such positions, we prevent everyone, regardless of background,
from having a chance to get the field experience they need, and this limits
the diversity of voices in wildlife ecology and conservation. We recognize
finances are often tight, and there is a long tradition of unpaid work, but
these are not valid rationalizations for continuing this practice. Unpaid
technicians and internships are bad for science, and the conservation of
our natural world. We cannot afford to not pay our technicians.



Best wishes,

Gerry Ryan
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