Position Description: The Geoscientists-in-the-Parks - Guest Scientist Intern (GIP) will be a key component of the Natural Resource program at Bandelier National Monument (BAND). The GIP will work closely with the BAND Chief of Resource Management, Natural Resource Program Manager, and Biological Technician in all aspects of NPS resource projects.
While the GIP will be involved with a variety of resource management projects, he/she will mainly focus on a comprehensive survey effort for Mexican spotted owl (MSO) populations within BAND. MSO are federally listed as Threatened under the Endangered Species Act and their current population within BAND is poorly understood. In order to increase our knowledge of the status of MSO populations within BAND, we will be conducting active and passive surveys using both traditional and novel (digital audio recorders) techniques. After training and obtaining a Section 10 permit from the Fish and Wildlife Service, the GIP will serve as the field lead on this survey effort.
In addition to the MSO project, the GIP may also assist with trout surveys, vegetation restoration, invasive plant removal, bat surveys, peregrine falcon surveys, bird banding, water quality analysis, beaver reintroduction, and resource education.
For this 36 week position, the GIP will gain a broad range of skills and experience related to natural resource management, federal land management, and the management of Threatened and Endangered species.
The mission of the National Park Service (NPS) is to preserve unimpaired the natural and cultural resources and values of the national park system for the enjoyment, education, and inspiration of this and future generations. As the entire mission of the natural resource program, the intern will be integral in preserving the native flora and fauna in BAND.
In addition to providing critical staff support to the park, there is also great benefit to the intern, who will take part in both research and public education and support many of primary goals of A Call to Action (C2A), including:
1) Developing and nurturing life-long connections between the public and parks, especially for young people, through educational, volunteer, and work experiences. At BAND, the bird banding program has been highly successful in bringing groups of school children into the park and educating them about migratory birds and environmental issues facing migratory species. It is also a valuable opportunity for the interns to gain experience with both research and public education. The sheer excitement of seeing a child hold and release a bird will change anyone's life and create life-long connections between the interns, the students, and BAND. All previous interns have left BAND with more self-confidence in public speaking and their knowledge of bird biology and migration.
2) Collaborating with partners and educational institutions to expand NPS education programs and the use of parks as places of learning. The bird banding program is a partnership between BAND, the Pajarito Environmental Education Center, the Los Alamos National Laboratory, and community volunteers. This is one of the park's showcase programs for educating the public about natural resources and inviting them to experience the park as an outdoor laboratory and place of learning. Connecting students and interns with hands-on experience will help create the next generation of environmental stewards, and help both the interns and the students understand the importance of national parks and public lands, which will support a number of specific C2A goals, including:
#2 Step by Step
#7 Next Generation of Stewards
#16 Live and Learn
This position is offered through the National Park Service's Geoscientists-in-the-Parks (GIP) Internship Program in partnership with Stewards Individual Placement Program (Stewards) and The Geological Society of America (GSA).
Work Products: The intern will learn proper bird banding skills and identifiable traits such as how to age and sex a bird. He/she will learn or expand his/her skills pertaining to public speaking. The intern will develop his/her knowledge base relating to passerines. The intern will learn much about native versus non-native, invasive vegetation and how both affect other species. The intern will become very familiar with how water quality is integral to the reintroduction of native species, including cutthroat trout and beaver, back into the streams in the park. The intern will be properly trained in performing Mexican Spotted Owl surveys and identifying all local species of owls by sight and sound. The intern will leave this position with many skills that will make him/her competitive for any future job in natural resources.
Physical/Natural Environment: BAND is a unit of the NPS located near the town of Los Alamos, NM. Located on the Pajarito Plateau in northern New Mexico, BAND protects over 33,000 acres of rugged canyons, mesas, and forests ranging from just over 5,000 feet in elevation near the Rio Grande to over 10,000 feet in elevation at the park's northern boundary in the Jemez Mountains. The neighboring towns of Los Alamos and White Rock are located approximately 25 minutes away by car and are home to the Los Alamos National Laboratory, one of the largest science and technology institutions in the world. Groceries, a library, restaurants and bakeries, a movie theater, and medical services are available in Los Alamos/White Rock with additional amenities available in Santa Fe, located approximately one hour away.
The headquarters of BAND is over 6,000 feet in elevation and summers in the park are characterized by very warm days, cool nights, and frequent monsoonal thunderstorms in late summer. Warm clothes are a necessity for field work in the Spring and Fall.
The internet/Wi-Fi availability in the park is limited to Verizon within the headquarters area. The nearest public high speed internet is available at the White Rock Library, about 12 miles away.
Work Environment: The GIP is required to be able to work repeatedly in challenging field conditions, carrying a pack weighing up to 35 pounds on long hikes (10+ miles) with significant elevation change at high elevation while maintaining situational awareness and rigorous scientific quality.
The GIP will spend approximately 75% of his/her time in the field and 25% in the office. Field work hours will be highly variable and include both night and day work with variable start/finish times but not exceeding 40 hours per week. Field work will occur in remote locations commonly in steep and rough terrain calling for long hikes with occasional overnight trips requiring camping in the field. Hazards include the terrain, rattlesnakes, black bear, mountain lions, sun exposure, high elevation, and lack of perennial water sources in some locations. Office work will require skills in report writing and attention to detail as well as the ability to analyze acoustic data using both visual and auditory methods.
mentoring: The intern will be mentored every step of the way. Park Service staff will be available to the intern in terms of training, support, and any other way needed. The lead bird bander will train and educate the intern on all aspects of bird biology and migration. The Fish and Wildlife Service will conduct official training to survey MSOs in the park. The interns will also be fully integrated as members of the park resource management division, and will have the opportunity to participate in a broad range of resource management and planning discussions. The Natural Resource Manager, Chief of Resources, and Biological Technician will be available to the intern at all times.
Learning Goals: The intern will be well versed in all aspects of a Natural Resource program at a National Park. The intern will learn proper bird banding skills and identifiable traits such as how to age and sex a bird. He/she will learn or expand his/her skills pertaining to public speaking. The intern will develop his/her knowledge base relating to passerines. The intern will learn much about native versus invasive vegetation and how it affects other species. The intern will become very familiar with how water quality is the integral to the reintroduction of native trout and beaver back into the streams in the park. There are many other opportunities available to the intern depending on his/her interests.
Education: Bachelor of Science or higher in wildlife management, environmental science, biology, or closely related field.
This position will require someone highly motivated and willing to learn new skills in order to assist the Natural Resource Department with any and all kinds of work. The park will train the GIP to perform each task assigned.
The applicant must be a U.S. citizen or U.S. permanent legal resident (“green-card-holder”) between the ages of 18 and 35 years old. 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. The GIP will be operating a government owned vehicle for field work. All personal errands will require a personal vehicle as public transportation is limited and the nearest town/grocery store is 12 miles away.
If the GIP is required to drive a park vehicle for their position, Stewards will perform a driving records search, and the GIP’s ability to drive a park vehicle during work hours will be contingent upon the results. GIPs will have to have had their license for 3 years or be over the age of 21 to be insured as drivers under Stewards insurance policy. Examples of things that will preclude a GIP from driving a park vehicle include: GIP under the age of 21 years old that has been licensed less than three years, DUIs, multiple moving vehicle violations, suspended or revoked license, or three or more accidents (regardless of fault) in the last 3 years. If the driver’s search is favorable, Stewards will provide driver’s liability insurance while the intern is driving a NPS vehicle for their GIP position. If the GIP is denied coverage by Stewards, they will not be permitted to drive during work hours.
Park housing will be provided at no cost to the participant. Housing will be a room near Park Headquarters in a shared furnished house. Kitchen and restroom facilities may be shared. Ben linens and cooking gear are provided but you may need your own towels.
AmeriCorps is a program that engages individuals in intensive community service work with the goal of “helping others and meeting critical needs in the community”. The GIP Program is supported through AmeriCorps by providing a Segal Education Award in addition to the GIP’s living stipend and travel/housing allowance.
Upon successful completion of the GIP position, the GIPs (AmeriCorps members) are eligible for a $1,612 - $6,095 pre-tax education that can be used for paying back student loans or for continuing their education. The amount of the education award is based on the length of the position.
AmeriCorps limits the number of terms an individual can serve to 4 terms. If an applicant has previously completed 4 GIP or other AmeriCorps positions, he/she will not be eligible to apply for an additional GIP position.
The start date for this position is mid-March, but is subject to change based on funding availability. The position duration is 36 weeks from the actual start date. The GIP will be compensated $400/week and is eligible to receive a $250 travel allowance.
To apply, please send your CV with contact information (including email addresses) for three (3) references to firstname.lastname@example.org.