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Position Title: Keeper/Aquarist
Reports To: Curator of Fishes
Location: Audubon Aquarium of the Americas
An entry level- mid range- advanced keeper position responsible for all aspects of animal health, welfare, exhibit maintenance, recordkeeping. Has been employed in a zoo/ aquarium setting as an Aquarist or, if entry level, is actively pursuit of a professional career in the field of animal care and training. Demonstrated knowledge and experience will determine placement in the keeper level and hourly rate. Length of time at the keeper level is determined by progression of the individual.
• Provides a high standard of animal care. Understanding of professional animal care and welfare standards. Prioritizes preventative care and excellence in animal welfare.
• Prioritizes human and animal safety at all times.
• Ability to work with a team to accomplish established goals.
• Have a basic knowledge of water chemistry and the nitrogen cycle.
• Uses training (operant conditioning) and enrichment to accomplish behavior and welfare goals. Develops and evaluates animal enrichment based on behavioral goals.
• Works with veterinary staff to administer animal treatments and assist with procedures
• Ability to follow direction and act in accordance with all established protocols and procedures. Compliance with all AZA and USDA standards.
• Responsible for all aspects of exhibit maintenance. Able to accomplish daily tasks within acceptable/ established timeframe. This includes SCUBA certification for regular exhibit cleaning. Monitors exhibit functionality, air and water parameters, identifying and communicating anomalies/ concerns in a timely fashion.
• Accurate recordkeeping for short- and long-term monitoring of health, behavior, tracking trends and advancing animal practices. (i.e. ZIMS, TRACKS)
• Participation in professional development.
• Ability to communicate effectively and work with a team to provide consistency and advancement in animal care. Assists with oversight of volunteers and interns.
• Ability to engage guests in pursuit of education and conservation goals. This includes chats, tours, media appearances, ambassador animal programs, etc. Able to represent Audubon Nature Institute with professionalism and in support of mission-oriented efforts.
• SCUBA certification and the ability to pass in house skills assessment preferred. Completes CPR/AED/First Aid Certification.
In addition to the above, the Keeper- Aquarist will adhere to Audubon Nature Institute’s mission and service commitment.
To deliver on the Audubon mission, the Keeper- Aquarist will:
Provide a guest experience of outstanding quality
• Approach all encounters with employees and guests in a friendly, service-oriented manner.
• Maintain the highest standards related to the day-to-day operations of the Husbandry Department.
• Work evening, weekend, holiday hours - required.
• Return telephone messages and e-mails in a timely fashion.
• Handle problems in the workplace, including anticipating, preventing, identifying, and solving problems as necessary.
• Identify and correct minor or routine maintenance problems in a timely manner and report other maintenance needs.
• Interact positively with the public and co-workers.
• Make decisions consistent with Audubon Nature Institute policies and procedures.
• Assist with daily duties in all sections as required.
• Be required to perform facility and exhibit maintenance, including but not limited to, trash and debris removal, floor cleaning, painting, building repair, horticultural duties, etc.
• Establish and maintain effective, efficient and cooperative relationships with employees, senior administration, vendors and customers.
• Maintain high standards of personal appearance and grooming, including proper uniform standards.
• Comply at all times with Audubon Nature Institute standards and regulations to encourage safe and efficient operations.
Weave quality entertainment through the guest experience
• Work within the guidelines and mission of the Audubon Nature Institute.
• Convey information and ideas clearly.
• Conduct behind-the-scenes tours for VIP’s, donors, and Audubon Education programs as scheduled.
• Interact with the public to include on and off grounds educational and media presentations.
• Develop and present educational programs as required.
• Function as an interpreter and represent ANI as a spokesperson.
• Compose animal and exhibit information for publication in the following: Audubon’s website, AZA’s website and other publications.
Operate a financially self-sufficient collection of museums and parks
• Perform basic arithmetic functions and process financial information.
• Assist with the preparation of the departmental operating budget as needed.
• Strive to operate within budget limitations.
• Manage time effectively to eliminate unnecessary overtime.
Enhance the care and survival of wildlife through research and conservation
• Encourage and support Audubon programs.
• Promote, participate in and oversee departmental research and conservation programs
To deliver on the Audubon service promise, the Keeper- Aquarist will:
• Make eye contact with every customer encounter, smile at every person, offer friendly phrases and greetings.
• Wear identification badge.
• Go above and beyond to offer assistance to guests in need.
• Assume ownership of potential safety hazards (wipe-up spill, pick up trash).
• Assume ownership of camera-ready standards in assigned exhibit spaces.
• Use proper professional phone etiquette when answering phones on behalf of Audubon.
• Refrain from cell phone use in the public space, maintaining a welcome, approachable appearance.
• Must meet the standards of guest engagement, positive attitude, pleasant tone of voice, willingness to go above and beyond.
• Coach coworkers, interns and volunteers on service expectations, leading by example
• Utilize the power of teamwork to give excellent service. Work with your department and others in pursuit of excellence in customer service.
• Share information vital to the team and ANI success freely and in a timely manner. Identify and correct poor communication situations and habits.
• Know when to involve management to correct problems in a timely fashion, ideally before they impact a guest.
• Acknowledge guests when working in the public space and seize every opportunity to actively engage guests in the wonders of nature.
• Know the answers to questions or seek out the answers in an attempt to exceed guest expectations.
• Ensure work area is free of food, drink, socialization, and personal business.
• Follow Dress Code Policy on clothing and grooming. Be an ambassador of Audubon at all times.
• Keep unpleasant concerns behind closed doors. Keep the guest space a positive environment.
New hire pay is based on previous experience and education. The following are the minimum requirements for entry level new hires.
• Minimum of one year of unpaid or paid experience in a zoological facility, public aquarium, or similar facility OR demonstrated and confirmed skill set.
• Understanding/ experience with care of aquatic animals/ systems in a professional setting with demonstrated success. Experience at AZA accredited public facility is preferred.
• Has understanding/ experience with the species under their care or has worked with similar taxa. Has a understanding of natural history, anatomy, behavior, and environmental parameters. Able to identify and recognize health concerns.
• High School diploma (or equivalent) and a degree from a recognized college or university are required. College course work in zoology, biology, animal science or related field is preferred; or an equivalent level of work experience and education as determined by the hiring authority.
• Must maintain a valid driver’s license.
• SCUBA certification is preferred.
• First Aid/ CPR is preferred.
• Proven competency in the application of Microsoft Office Word, PowerPoint, and Excel computer programs is required.
• Experience with Zoological Information Management System (ZIMS) is preferred.
• Plumbing, mechanical, and carpentry skills is a plus.
• Basic experience with the use and safety requirements of power tools.
• Must have the ability to use mobile devices to facilitate effective communication
• Performing strenuous, fast-paced work both indoors and outdoors.
• Sitting or standing, bending, and stooping per OSHA regulations.
• Heavy work involving lifting no more than 100 pounds at a time with frequent lifting or carrying of objects weighing up to 50 pounds.
• Must be able to swim.
If SCUBA certified, then the Keeper- Aquarist will need to demonstrate the ability to:
• swim efficiently at the surface,
• swim efficiently underwater,
• tow another diver while in full SCUBA gear,
• tread water/float on the surface,
• assemble, ditch and don SCUBA gear,
• control of buoyancy using SCUBA,
• clear SCUBA mask and swim without a mask underwater,
• regulator skills – recover and clear, and breathe through free-flowing regulator, and
• demonstrate comfort underwater in all conditions, stressful or otherwise.
• Maintain regular attendance in compliance with Audubon standards, as required by scheduling which may vary according to the needs of the organization.
• Willingness to work weekends, holidays, irregular hours and be available based on special needs/circumstances on a 24-hour basis.
• Willingness to work long hours between breaks or meals as required.
• Willingness to work outdoors, lift heavy objects, and risk periodic exposure to fairly predictable and controllable hazards associated with wild animals and zoonotic diseases.
• Maintain off-exhibit areas in a clean, organized and safe fashion.
• Willingness to work under and handle stress in an appropriate manner.
• May be exposed to high, medium, or low noise intensity.
• May be exposed to extreme fluctuations in temperatures.
• Willingness to work around and handle raw seafood, including shellfish.
• Oversee pest control efforts in section.
• Willingness to serve on the Aquarium’s Hurricane Team if necessary.
Audubon Nature Institute6500 Magazine streetNew Orleans, LA 70130
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