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Environmental Scientist (Wildlife, Land and Culture)

Position TitleEnvironmental Scientist
Alternate Title(s)Anthropologist, Archaeologist, Environmental Engineer, Geoscientist, Wildlife Biologist
Education & Training LevelAdvanced, Bachelors required, prefer graduate degree
Education & Training Level DescriptionEnvironmental scientists need at least a bachelor’s degree in a related field for most entry-level jobs. Employers also value practical experience. Therefore, cooperative programs, which provide college credit for structured job experience, are valuable as well. 
Brief job description Environmental scientists work with wind farm developers to help them comply with environmental regulations and policies and to ensure that physical and wildlife sensitivities as well as cultural impacts are mitigated. They use their knowledge of the natural sciences, understanding of human behavior and local cultural importance to minimize impacts to the health of the environment and the population. These scientists are heavily involved in the study and permitting phases of development.
Preferred Level of EducationAdvanced, graduate degree
Preferred Level of ExperienceSee the Bureau of Labor Statistics for more information.
Estimated/Expected SalarySee the Bureau of Labor Statistics for more information.
Job Profile

Environmental scientists work with wind farm developers to help them comply with environmental regulations and policies and to ensure that physical and wildlife sensitivities as well as cultural impacts are mitigated. They use their knowledge of the natural sciences, understanding of human behavior and local cultural importance to minimize impacts to the health of the environment and the population. These scientists are heavily involved in the research and permitting phases of development.

Environmental scientists conduct environmental impact studies and recommend mitigation strategies before work begins on a wind farm. Scientific research is often necessary to ensure that a site is suitable for erecting turbines and that the turbines are configured to maximize electricity in varying wind conditions.

Environmental scientists in the wind industry may be employed by a development company or contracted to conduct site research for a specific project. Some contractors work for companies that specialize in environmental consulting for wind power projects. Environmental scientists travel frequently, spend substantial amounts of time at proposed wind farm sites, and work with local, State, and Federal regulators throughout the permitting study process. Wind farm development requires the work of scientists in various specialties, including biologists, geologists, and environmental scientists. They work with engineers, technicians, and project managers to ensure that a proposed site is suitable for the development of a wind farm.

For more specific information on one of these job profiles, refer to the Bureau of Labor Statistics links in the Resources section below.

Job Skills
  • Analytical skills. Environmental scientists often use scientific methods and data analysis in their research. They base their conclusions on careful analysis of scientific data. They must consider all possible methods, interactions and solutions in their analyses.
  • Critical-thinking skills. Environmental scientists must draw logical conclusions from observations, laboratory experiments, and other methods of research. They base their findings on sound observation and careful evaluation of data. 
  • Interpersonal skills. Environmental scientists typically work on teams with scientists, engineers, and technicians. Team members must be able to work together effectively to achieve their goals.
  • Problem-solving skills. Environmental scientists try to find the best possible solution to problems that affect environment and cultures. They must be able to identify and anticipate problems to prevent losses for their employers, safeguard workers’ health, and mitigate environmental and cultural impacts.
  • Speaking skills. Environmental scientists must be able to explain their findings to clients, professionals, or community members who do not have expertise in their area. They often give presentations to colleagues, managers, policymakers, and the general public.
  • Writing skills. Environmental scientists write technical papers, reports and articles that explain their methods, findings, and recommendations.
Resources

Bureau of Labor Statistics:

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