Volunteer field technicians are bad for wildlife ecology

Auriel M.V. Fournier, Alexander L. Bond

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)819-821
Number of pages3
JournalWildlife Society Bulletin
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • diversity
  • field technician
  • volunteer

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nature and Landscape Conservation


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