Position Title: Natural Resource Management Assistant
Park Unit: Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve
Location: Strong City, Kansas
Number of positions available: 1
Can this position be fully remote: NO

Duration: 52 Weeks (not flexible)
Start Date: 10/21/2024
Flexible Start Date: YES

Weekly Stipend: $665.00
Relocation Allowance: $400.00

CURRENT NUMBER OF APPLICANTS: Under 75 (This posting will close after receiving 75 complete applications or at 11:59 p.m. EDT on Sunday, 16 June, whichever occurs first.)

Bison and cattle reside at the preserve to support healthy ecosystems as well as to assist the park in telling the story of the ranching history of the area. To support grazing management decisions, the primary responsibility of the SIP is to develop a bison and cattle database to manage annual grazing data. The database will help track bison population information and assist with identifying cattle grazing prescriptions related to conservation of tallgrass prairie. Database design will involve collaboration with supporting data scientists, R coding, and analysis. GIS and map reading skills will be helpful as well. Field work will help put the data into context as the intern helps the natural resource team with problematic species control, butterfly/bird surveys, and other field activities designed to understand grazing and fire management on the preserve. Through hiring a ‘Scientist-in-Parks’ (SIP) intern, we hope to leverage the knowledge and skills of a developing scientist to manage the data describing our grazing management. As a SIP intern, you will work with NPS staff to apply your expertise in rangeland ecology, data analysis, and data processing using spreadsheets and databases. The main products will include designing databases to house cattle and bison grazing data. Analysis of grazing data with other rangeland data, such as fire, may occur depending on time available. The work will be an opportunity to make lasting and meaningful contributions to natural resource management at the preserve.

This position will support critical core monitoring projects both in the field and during data processing and analysis. The project outcomes will assist park managers with future cattle and bison management decisions.


Primary deliverables include databases for bison and cattle grazing. The databases will assist with bison herd management and cattle grazing prescriptions such as stocking rates, stocking duration, and cattle type (stockers, cow/calf). The intern will create Access databases to store the data for subsequent analysis. The intern will learn how to manage data for rangeland analysis with R or Python scripts for a variety of range management data such as prescriptive stocking data and observational data. The intern will get “hands-on” rangeland ecology experience in the prairie including identification and treatment of invasive plants, identification of grassland wildlife indicators, such as pollinators, and experience working with a variety of preserve partners including The Nature Conservancy, university researchers, and NPS Heartland Inventory & Monitoring Network. In addition, the intern may have the opportunity to develop an independent project to automate R, Python, and other data science processes to help park staff apply the prescriptive stocking data and provide initial exploratory data analysis of a 25-year fire and grazing management dataset.


As a candidate, you will have a demonstrated attention to detail, such as following standardized methods for data collection and processing. Experience with Microsoft Access would be preferred and use of GIS, such as ArcPro, and familiarity with R coding and Python would be very helpful as well. Excellent oral, electronic, and written communication skills are essential for success. A bachelor’s degree in physical, natural, rangeland, or computer science is encouraged. The internship will include outdoor work, including data collection, and ability to work in harsh conditions (such as hiking over rough terrain and hot temperatures).

The applicant must be a U.S. citizen or U.S. legal permanent resident (“Green Card holder”). Prior to starting this position, a government security background clearance will be required. The applicant must be available to participate for 52 Weeks in order to be considered and participate.

Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve is the duty station park and is a partnership between The Nature Conservancy and National Park Service. The preserve is nearly 11,000 acres of remnant and restored tallgrass prairie and riparian woodland habitats. The preserve includes both important natural habitat and cultural landscapes. The preserve is in the small rural community of Strong City, KS which is approximately 20 miles from the larger community (small state college town) of Emporia, KS. Both communities are within 2 hours of larger cities including Wichita, Manhattan, Topeka, and the Kansas City metro. The work will include both field and office work. The field conditions at the preserve include extreme temperatures, biting insects, cattle and bison, and steep/rough terrain. Field work may include working with other preserve staff or working alone. The applicant will need a personal vehicle as no mass transit accesses the duty station park. Vehicles are available for work on the preserve. We anticipate approximately 90-180 field days (growing season) over the course of the year. However, the main products will include designing databases to house cattle and bison grazing data. Analysis of grazing data with other rangeland data, such as fire, may occur depending on time available.


  • Applicant must have a valid driver's license to drive a government vehicle.
  • A personal vehicle is REQUIRED for this position.

Park housing is NOT available. The intern will be responsible for finding housing in the nearby area. Estimated costs for local rentals is near $700/month. Emporia, KS is located near the park (approx. 20 miles) and has many housing options.

grassland, database design, rangeland management, grazing systems, ungulates

This posting will close after receiving 75 complete applications, or at 11:59 p.m. EDT on Sunday, 16 June, whichever occurs first. Once you begin applying for a position, the application must be completed in one sitting. You cannot save and return later to complete it. Applicants can apply for up to five Scientists in Parks Intern positions per winter. You need to complete a separate application for each position in order to be considered. You should receive a confirmation email after successfully submitting an application. Sometimes institutional email filters/settings can redirect or block emails related to the application. We recommend watching spam, junk, and promotional email folders in case your service delivers messages there. Please visit How to Apply for additional resources and information about applying (i.e., learn what materials to have ready for applying, find a worksheet that previews application questions, etc.)