The Mosaics in Science Program is focused on persons that are under-represented in STEM fields. Students and recent graduates that are African American, Latino/Hispanic, Asian, Pacific Islander, and Native American are encouraged to apply for these internships. In order to be eligible for a MIS intern position, applicants must be a U.S. citizen or U.S. permanent legal resident ("green-card-holder”) between the ages of 18 and 35 years old.
Position Description: This internship provides opportunities to work with natural resource professionals from the Greater Yellowstone Network (GRYN: http://science.nature.nps.gov/im/units/gryn/) on a number of long-term monitoring programs in Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area, Grand Teton and Yellowstone national parks, the John D. Rockefeller Jr. Memorial Parkway, and the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem (GYE).
GRYN long-term monitoring programs estimate native and non-native plant cover in upland and sagebrush vegetation habitats and survey high elevation whitebark pine trees across the 20 million acres that comprise the GYE. The network is gathering data on each of these natural resource indicators or 'vital signs' to help inform managers of their current status and to summarize long-term trends. Further, our program examines how climate, fire, invasive species, and other factors may play a role in observed changes.
The Greater Yellowstone Network (GRYN) is one of 32 inventory and monitoring networks nationwide that were established by the National Park Service to help enhance the scientific basis for stewardship and management of natural resources. The primary purpose of the Inventory and Monitoring Program is to develop, organize and make available natural resource data to managers and the public by collecting, analyzing, synthesizing, and reporting on long-term monitoring data. You may learn more about the GRYN by visiting: http://science.nature.nps.gov/im/units/gryn/index.cfm.
The Mosaics in Science Intern will assist in field activities associated with one or all of our monitoring programs. Field crews are largely responsible for the network's annual data collection activities and consist of two to three field personnel. Field data collection is performed away from the duty station in remote backcountry locations throughout the aforementioned parks and the GYE. Work schedules vary from 10 to 12 hours per day over an 8day period with up to 6 days off at one time. Fieldwork requires long drives, front- and backcountry camping, hiking 8 to 20 miles per day carrying a heavy pack across rough, mountainous terrain, and working in grizzly bear country. It is imperative that the intern arrive in good physical condition so that they can meet the physical requirements of the position. The Network has a strong training and safety program and the intern will be required to attend and successfully complete all necessary trainings prior to entering the field. We will provide opportunities to take client (or equivalent) CPR and First Aid courses and provide discipline-specific training to ensure successful execution of all aspects of the position. Following training, the intern, as a member of a field crew, will be expected to hike and navigate using map, compass, and a handheld GPS to predetermined backcountry locations throughout the GYE. At these predetermined locations, the intern will be expected to follow data collection techniques outlined in established protocols.
The intern should anticipate working all summer through variable mountain weather conditions and in the presence of insects and wildlife. Temperatures in the field can range from below freezing and snowing to close to 100 degrees on some days. Field crews should expect working long hours with mosquitoes and other biting insects. Network supervisors work closely with all field crew members including interns to decide how to best complete fieldwork safely and most efficiently. This may include adjusting the intern's responsibilities if we are unable to meet those requirements. While interning with GRYN, the individual is expected to be inquisitive and engaged in the work being conducted, hands-on and an active participant in all levels of field work and frontcountry planning and logistics, proactive in their approach to learning new skills, self-motivated, self-sufficient in backcountry (especially camping situations) and front country environments, and supportive of other crew members. The intern is also expected to conduct themselves in a professional manner as a representative of the National Park Service.
This position is offered through the National Park Service's Mosaics in Science Internship Program in partnership with Environment for the Americas and Greening Youth Foundation.
Work Products: Data collected on all monitoring programs are used for annual and trend reports and to inform managers on the status of natural resources. In addition, the program leads have developed an independent project which will be further developed and implemented by the intern with assistance from the program leads. This independent project will involve background research on the topic, data collection in the field, sample preparation, laboratory analysis, and computer modeling. This project will be designed and written up following the scientific method and available to present during the final MIS closeout gathering.
Physical/Natural Environment: Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area is situated at the northern end of the Great Basin Desert and provides a unique natural environment with the convergence of the desert, the Rocky Mountains, and the northern Great Plains. Portions of the Pryor Mountain Wild Horse Range and Yellowtail Wildlife Habitat Management Area fall within the boundaries of the recreation area. Grand Teton and Yellowstone national parks and the John D. Rockefeller Jr. Memorial Parkway create the core of the 23 million acre GYE, one of the largest, relatively intact ecosystems in the contiguous United States which includes over 15 million acres of largely contiguous federal land.
As described in the position description, work is performed outdoors in the high desert of Bighorn Canyon and mountainous terrain throughout the GYE. Work will take place at elevations ranging from 3,500 to 11,500 feet. Weather extremes are common with rain, lightning, cold, and extreme heat happening often all in one day. Mountainous weather conditions should be expected, wildlife is plentiful including grizzly and black bears and other animals found in the western U.S. Insects (mosquitos, biting flies, etc.) can also be a nuisance at times.
Work Environment: The Greater Yellowstone Network consists of 6 full-time employees and 2-4 summer seasonal employees and interns. The network works closely together to complete projects safely and efficiently. There is a mandatory, week-long orientation for all staff prior to the field season which includes safety scenario exercises. The intern would need to be available to participate in this team building week. The majority of work is performed outdoors with the exception of hours needed to implement and complete the independent intern project as described under the Work Products section. Crews typically work in groups of two or three. This is a very physical position and the intern must enjoy camping, hiking, and being out of doors for extended stretches of time. During wet years, snow can fall every month at high elevations. While on a work assignment, local conveniences are often not available including cell and internet service. Crews typically go prepared with all necessities to last through an 8-day work schedule. This includes all pertinent clothing, gear, and food. The network will provide field equipment such as backpacks, tents, sleeping bag, pepper spray (i.e., bear deterrent), cookware, and other safety equipment.
Mentoring: The intern works directly with the experienced professionals of the Greater Yellowstone Network. This will give them the opportunity to experience a diversity of habitats and learn a wide array of field techniques used to collect scientific data on a variety of natural resources (climate, plants, and possibly amphibians). As time allows, the intern will be provided opportunities to be exposed to park-based natural resource operations and activities being conducted by other partners such as the USFS, USGS, and MSU, so that they can gain a better understanding of natural resource science and monitoring, and more generally, how land management agencies work to study and conserve natural resources. Collectively, the Network scientists and managers have a depth of experience and diverse education and professional backgrounds ranging from developing and implementing physical, natural, and cultural resource projects; developing and utilizing relational and Geospatial databases and providing scientific data to be used in management decision making. With this wide range of experience we are able to offer the intern opportunities to gain knowledge and skills in many active areas of science and land management. In addition, the internship will be provided a unique opportunity to learn and practice outdoor and leadership skills and experience some of the most spectacular backcountry in the conterminous U.S. We can provide recommendations to interested individuals about how to prepare for the activities associate with a typical field season.
Learning Goals: Our goal of this internship is to offer hands on experience in gathering scientific information that is used to inform land managers and the public about the condition and trends of select natural resources. The intern will learn how to navigate and work safely in the backcountry of one of the most iconic areas of the United States, the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. They will become adept at identifying native and non-native vegetation. The intern will learn how to use a wide range of field equipment including but not limited to maps, compasses, GPS, hand-held electronic data loggers, tree coring equipment and paper data forms. All of these skills will contribute to a deeper understanding of a career in the sciences that support land management.
This position is a field-based position requiring individuals to spend much of their time in the outdoors and camping for several days at a time. In addition to having an interest in learning biological sciences, the incumbent should have demonstrated experience and a willingness to work in remote, rugged, and mountainous backcountry terrain typically above 7,000 feet in elevation for extended periods. The incumbent should possess the physical ability required to hike long distances, off-trail (up 20 miles/day) while carrying backpacks, tools, and supplies of at least 30-50 lbs. The incumbent should be able to backcountry camp with co-workers for several days at a time and the willingness to learn and practice good backcountry skills that enable the candidate to perform work safely and efficiently in extreme weather conditions and in grizzly bear country. If possible the intern should have basic first aid and CPR training, although the network will support this training if needed.
Prior to starting this position a government security background clearance will be required.
Applicant must have a valid driver's license and a good driving record. A personal vehicle is not required. There is a free bus system that operates throughout the town of Bozeman. In addition, we can provide a bicycle for short commutes. Government vehicles will be used to commute for business trips.
While there is no park housing available, we are able to provide housing through Montana State University—this is a dorm-type, single room arrangement where communal space is provided along with a communal kitchen with standard cooking appliances (i.e., refrigerator, stove, and microwave). Kitchen cookware and utensils are not provided and while we would encourage the participant to bring these, GRYN may be able to assist with provisioning basic cooking supplies. There are also university eateries and dining halls open during the summer months. There are numerous grocery stores, deli's, and restaurants within walking distance of the dorm. See the City of Bozeman and Montana State University websites for more information about resources available to students and residents.