Interdisciplinary Natural Resources and Interpretive Intern
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 would be a shared position between the Division of Interpretation and Education and the Resource Management Division at Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve (CRMO). This position will provide a variety of job experiences and directly link field research, data compilation, and science communication to the public. The interdisciplinary intern would work five days per week and split their time between these two divisions.
Resource Management: The intern will be responsible for collecting and compiling data that will update CRMO's cave database. The park has a backlog of unexplored caves that have been discovered by visitors and staff. The locations of these caves are known but the contents of these caves are not. The intern will confirm locations of these caves and assess each cave for biological, cultural, hydrological and geological resources as well as suitability as bat habitat (hibernacula, maternity colony, or roosting sites). The intern will collect data on cave climate and size as well as produce cave maps that will fill gaps within the cave database. The intern may also be sent to cave-rich areas to search for unknown caves. The intern's work will be aimed at White-nose Syndrome (WNS) threat preparation. WNS is a disease that has killed millions of hibernating bats and is spreading across the United States. Studies suggest CRMO provides critical habitat for hibernating bats but it is estimated that only 15% of the caves that exist within the park have been discovered and explored. Gathering this information is an important step to help focus future bat surveys and WNS protection efforts.
Interpretation: In order to slow the potential introduction of WNS into park caves, interpretive staff requires visitors to obtain a permit prior to entering park caves. Permits are only issued to visitors who do not have caving equipment that has been in other caves or mines since the arrival of WNS in the United States.
The intern will call, e-mail, or visit caves within a one-day drive of CRMO to educate cave managers from both private and public lands on bats, WNS, and cave permit requirements at CRMO. At this time, CRMO does not provide on-site decontamination of cave equipment which could potentially allow visitors with "dirty” cave equipment cave access. The intern will contact other National Park Service (NPS) units to determine their WNS decontamination protocols and the feasibility of implementing on-site decontamination procedures at CRMO. Addressing the feasibility of decontaminating items may allow visitor access to park caves to be maintained while protecting bats and increasing awareness of WNS.
The intern will communicate with the visiting public on CRMO's significant geology, bats, and cave resources. The intern would staff the visitor center and provide visitors with orientation to CRMO and the NPS, recreational opportunities, park regulations, cave permits and their purpose in preventing WNS, and visitor requests. This will include leading guided cave walks and hikes, giving formal presentations, conducting demonstrations, and roving trails. The desired outcome would be for the intern to make many visitor contacts and help facilitate both intellectual and emotional connections to CRMO with the hopes that the visiting public will support the NPS mission.
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: This project will promote understanding of WNS and safeguard bats while providing the public a better understanding of science that is occurring at CRMO and other national parks. The educational outreach component of this project will target a variety of cave users: youth, general public, and commercial cave managers furthering communication about the importance of bats and the prevention of WNS. Knowledge and understanding of WNS, its screening, and decontamination protocols will facilitate compliance with permitting and modify behavior to reduce the risk of spreading WNS.
By locating unknown caves with bat populations, park staff can better target future hibernacula surveys and/or acoustic monitoring efforts to determine bat use, bat population, and prioritize bat protection efforts. The intern's research efforts and data collection will contribute directly to improving the park's cave database.
Physical/Natural Environment: Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve is a lava field composed of about 60 lava flows and 25 cones. It has nearly every type of feature associated with basaltic volcanism. High desert (~6,000 feet) — average summer temperature is between 50°F and 90°F. The Monument is located 18 miles from Arco, a small town of 1,000 which has one grocery store. Idaho Falls and Twin Falls are both about 90 miles away and accommodate all major shopping needs. Yellowstone and Grand Teton parks are less than 4 hours away. Sun Valley is about 65 miles away.
Work Environment: The intern would live and work in elevations around 6,000 ft., and may be required to hike long distances to get to work site locations. There can be inclement weather and intern must be willing to work outside for long periods of time, and be able to make judgments when the weather is not safe. Typical field conditions for this outside work could include very hot weather conditions, intense sunshine or rainy weather, lightning, uneven terrain, biting insects, and wild animals. There will be some time spent indoors as well, which may require both sitting and standing for long periods of time. Preparation and research for interpretive programs will be in the office, and desk space and computers will be available.
Project oversight: This would come in the form of two direct supervisors, one for interpretation and one for resources. The intern will be assigned to work with each division on specific days of the week and will be supervised according to the daily division placement. The supervisor's' role is to schedule, oversee and also mentor the intern at each workplace. If there are any issues or problems the intern would report directly to the supervisor, and always keep open lines of communication. The two supervisors will work closely together to ensure the success of this internship.
The mentor will be experienced returning staff, and will provide support to the intern as they start to familiarize themselves with their responsibilities. The mentor would also be someone to bounce program ideas off of, and help with the development of their programs. This person will consistently check in with the intern, show them around the park and town, answer any questions they have, and help supervisors make sure the intern's needs are met.
The intern will receive information about applying for federal jobs, the federal hiring process, and resume writing. Also, opportunities to recreate and explore the surrounding area with other staff members exist and weekly volleyball games are held in the employee housing area throughout the summer.
Learning Goals: This internship would be completely interdisciplinary, between Interpretation and Resource Management. At the beginning of the season there would be two-weeks of training. This would include training on interpretive methods as well as safety. The intern would also get an introduction to park resources including geology, current research, and plant identification. During the season they would also receive site safety briefings and training for job-specific projects. There will be a lot of hands-on experience and this intern would have to take on many different duties and responsibilities. Each day of work and new duties will help the intern to build their work experience especially if looking to get into research, policy, environmental compliance, environmental studies, communication, teaching or interpretation. Throughout the duration of the internship, the person will gain knowledge of both divisions and begin to see the connection of different types of work that support the overall mission of CRMO and the NPS.
Upper Level College student or graduates with an educational background (have taken courses) in ecology, biology, environmental studies, geology, speleology, resource management, park and recreational management, communication, teaching or interpretation.
Skills and/or previous experience required: General interest in the environment, science, resource management, environmental policy, and education. Entry level knowledge of caves and bats. Prior experience with public speaking. Strong writing and computer skills required.
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 driver's license is required to drive government vehicles. Park housing is located within a 5 minute walk of duty station. Personal transportation is required to buy groceries, explore the area, etc. because there is no public transportation.
Park housing is provided at no cost to the participant. Park housing will be provided at the Monument headquarters area at no charge. Housing offered is either a furnished studio apartment shared with one other person or furnished three-bedroom, two-bath house shared with up to five people. Intern must be flexible with co-ed dorm sharing if situation necessitates. All cooking and dining equipment provided. Laundry facility found on site. Interns need to bring their own towels and bedding. Personal transportation required to buy groceries, etc.