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Job Opportunities with ACA

We currently have one open job opportunity.

Forest Monitoring UAV Operation, Data Interpretation, and Training Consultant

About the Organization
The Amazon Conservation Association (ACA), founded in 1999, is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting biodiversity by developing innovative conservation tools to protect Amazonian habitat while supporting the livelihoods of local communities. ACA works closely with its Peruvian sister organization, Conservación Amazónica-ACCA.

Project Description
The Andean Amazon maintains large tracts of intact forest, however, increasing deforestation is a critical problem and monitoring and responding to deforestation in a timely, accurate, and effective way is a core problem for forest users, policymakers and law enforcement.  ACA and ACCA’s innovative program focused on advancing the emerging field of near real-time deforestation monitoring in the Peruvian Amazon seeks to tackle these challenges through, 1) timely analysis of deforestation alerts and high-resolution imagery to identify current patterns and drivers of deforestation (, and 2) providing forest users, land managers, law enforcement and other actors on the ground in Madre de Dios, Peru with technical and legal tools to identify and act on illegal deforestation activity.

ACA is seeking a consultant (whether an institution or an individual) with deep expertise in cutting-edge Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV, or drone) technology and operation, together with remote sensing analysis, data interpretation, and training to support development and implementation of a field-based UAV training and forest monitoring program in the Peruvian Amazon.  This work will contribute to our programmatic goal of providing cutting-edge technical information to policy makers and forest users in an accessible format to facilitate effective action to protect Amazonian forests.

Applicant must have technical, legal, and logistical capacity to work in remote areas of Peru.

Duties and Deliverables

The consultant will provide expertise and on-the-ground support for ACA and ACCA’s use of both fixed wing and quadcopter drones for forest monitoring and training selected local stakeholders, including land managers, government officials, and conservation practitioners, to make use of this technology. The consultant will collaborate closely with ACA and ACCA staff, to carry out the following minimum duties and deliverables:

  • Develop a training plan and curriculum to instruct beginners in the operation of drones and interpretation of drone data to monitor forested areas appropriate to the lowland Amazon. ACA/ACCA owns custom-built Kestral Fixed Wing Drones and Phantom 3 and 4 Pro Quadcopters, so applicants should demonstrate ability to integrate these models into their teaching.
  • Develop flight plans and conduct flights to verify deforestation drivers in hotspots identified through ACA/ACCA’s existing remote sensing program in coordination with ACA and ACCA staff. This deliverable should include at least 25 flight paths.
  • Support ACA and ACCA in maintenance and, if needed, repair of fixed wing and quadcopter drones during the course of the project, including ongoing technical consultation throughout 2017.
  • Provide structure from motion-3D reconstructions for all drone flights included in this contract. ACA assumes the consultant maintains any software licenses necessary to fulfill this deliverable.  
  • Coordinate with ACA and ACCA staff to plan and lead implementation of two field-based drone training courses in Madre de Dios, Peru which will last at least 5 days each and have a minimum total of 10 participants. ACA/ACCA will identify and invite course participants; however, consultant may add value to this activity by extending the reach of the course in cooperation with ACA/ACCA. .
  • Communicate and coordinate effectively with ACA and ACCA staff as needed.
  • Provide ACA and ACCA staff with written or multimedia deliverables that verify or support the activities described above, including:
    • Completed, Spanish language drone training curriculum and full suite of support materials required to carry out and eventually reproduce the trainings (e.g., detailed syllabus, manuals, simulation videos, PowerPoint presentations and other materials as proposed by the consultant) that would allow ACA/ACCA to replicate the course in the future
    • Detailed syllabus for two drone training courses
    • Reports on training courses carried out through this consultancy, including list of participants and photo verification
    • Report including drone flight plans and 3D reconstructions
    • Report on drone maintenance activities

Required Qualifications

  • 5-8 years of experience operating drones (both top quality fixed wings and quadcopter models), with a particular experience in tropical forest regions. Preference for experience in the lowland Amazon.
  • Proven experience in drone aircraft assembly and maintenance including ability to manipulate drones as needed throughout the course.
  • Minimum of 10 years of experience with remote sensing and GIS with demonstrated ability to conduct the image and data analysis required by this project.
  • Experience communicating the basic concepts of drone operation, remote sensing and forest monitoring to beginning users.
  • Demonstrated ability to comply with Peruvian legal framework for drone operation
  • Fluency in both English and Spanish
  • Availability to travel to Madre de Dios, Peru and teach courses under remote field conditions

Other Desired Qualifications

  • Previous experience teaching a similar course, especially for audiences with varying levels of formal education
  • General background and experience in the Amazon and with forest conservation issues
Consultant may be an individual or organization, including a non-profit, private sector or university. Applicant must indicate their legal form and structure. The applicant must state their commitment to zero tolerance for corruption and financial irregularities, with clearly stated financial management practices to prevent this from occurring. In addition, applicants must affirm that none of the following situations apply:
a) they are bankrupt or being wound up, are having their affairs administered by the courts, have entered into an arrangement with creditors, have suspended business activities, are subject of proceedings concerning those matters, or are in any analogous situation arising from a similar procedure provided for in national legislation or regulations.
b) they or persons having powers of representation, decision-making or control over them have been convicted of an offence concerning their professional conduct by a final judgment;
c) they have been guilty of grave professional misconduct;
d) they have not fulfilled obligations relating to the payment of social security contributions or taxes in accordance with the legal provisions of the country in which they are established, or with those of the country where the contract is to be performed;
e) they or persons having powers of representation, decision-making or control over them have been convicted for fraud, corruption, involvement in a criminal organization or money laundering by a final judgment;
f) they make use of child labor or forced labor and/or practice discrimination, and/or do not respect the right to freedom of association and the right to organize and engage in collective bargaining pursuant to the core conventions of the International Labor Organization (ILO).

Please be advised that offers will be rejected if illegal or corrupt practices have taken place in connection with this award. Additionally, the contract resulting from this award may be terminated in the event of illegal or corrupt practices in connection with the contract award or execution.

Project duration and location
Fieldwork will be based in Madre de Dios, Peru, however, desk work may occur remotely. Consultancy will last through December 31, 2017. Scheduling of field courses may be proposed by the consultant to find a mutually agreeable time with ACA/ACCA staff, consultant, and other project stakeholders; however, they must be planned and executed by September 30, 2017.
Project has the possibility of renewal in future years following successful completion of the project deliverables.

Consultant may propose a budget up to a maximum of $53,000 for the deliverables described above, including implementation of all field activities and any desk/background work. The budget is inclusive of all personnel, travel, equipment, permitting, or other items required to implement the activities described here.
Note that ACCA facilities and drones at the Los Amigos Biological Station will be used for the field training courses. Teaching materials and equipment or materials required for drone operation and data interpretation are the responsibility of the consultant. However, all other course facilities (such as lodging and food for participants) are the responsibility of ACA/ACCA and should not be included in the proposed consulting budget.

Submission Information
Application Procedures
Applicants should submit a proposed workplan identifying a proposed timeline and methodology for the duties and deliverables identified. Applications must also describe qualifications of the organization or individual applying and, if an organization, the key qualifications of team members, including CVs. Additionally, applicants must provide written responses to each point in the “Eligibility” section of this call.
Applications should be submitted by email to with the subject line "UAV Expert." Applications will be accepted until April 7, 2017.
Questions may be submitted by email to until March 30, 2017 with the subject line “UAV Expert Questions.”

The selection process will occur during April 2017. Applicants will be scored on the following criteria:

  • Expertise in cutting-edge drone technology, with emphasis on its use in detecting deforestation and identifying drivers of deforestation in tropical forest regions and on-the-ground operation of UAVs in remote field settings (30%)
  • Capacity to develop and implement a field-based teaching curriculum for use of drones for forest monitoring (30%)
  • Overall expertise in GIS & Remote Sensing capabilities to monitor land cover (20%)
  • Capacity to comply with Peruvian legal framework for drone operation (10%)
  • Spanish language capabilities and ability to meet logistical requirements of this project, including travel as described (10%)
In addition to the quality criteria identified above, the selection process will take into account the applicant’s cost proposal.

Photo of Steve Panfil

Steven Panfil on an ACA expedition. Photo: Raechel Running

Photo of Steve Panfil

Working with the high-andean community of Quico. Photo: Steven Panfil

Los Amigos promotores

Guards or promotores of the Los Amigos Conservation Concession. Photo: Nigel Pitman

River crossing photo

Crossing the river on a raft to the Haramba Queros Wachiperi Ecological Reserve. Photo: Ronald Catpo

Staff and board members celebrate the fifth anniversary of the Los Amigos Conservation Concession. Photo: ACCA

red tapestry