Position Title: Biology Assistant
Park Unit: Big Thicket National Preserve
Location: Kountze, Texas
Number of positions available: 1
Can this position be fully remote: NO

Duration: 20 Weeks (not flexible)
Start Date: 02/24/2025
Flexible Start Date: YES

Weekly Stipend: $565.00
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.)

This internship will collect data on populations of rare and imperiled plant species in the park through field surveys and literature review to develop tools that will aid the park in restoration, monitoring, and mitigating impacts of park operations on rare plants. Big Thicket is renowned for its fine-scale diversity in plant communities, ranging from tidal brackish marsh to hillside wetland seeps to xeric pine savanna, which support a myriad of rare and vulnerable plant species for which inventory and spatial data are often lacking.

Initial work (first several weeks) will involve developing an Excel database of priority at-risk species that have published records within counties occupied by or adjacent to the park, selected based on current federal or state listing, NatureServe conservation status, and other sources. The database will contain information pertinent to field identification including associated vegetation communities, soil types, and phenology derived from published literature.

The intern will also develop a geospatial database using ArcGIS Pro, AGOL, and ESRI Field Maps with complementary digital data form for recording standardized information during field surveys such as species, location, associated vegetation, and photographs. The intern will then spend the majority of their term conducting field surveys throughout the spring and summer seasons to populate the geodatabase. A final product will be a digital map that can be accessed in the field by park staff to monitor or avoid impacts to known rare plant populations.

Fieldwork will consist of targeted species surveys based in part on habitat, flowering phenology, and conservation priority, and involve hiking through survey areas while conducting visual searches with the assistance of park staff, other interns, or volunteers. The intern and park staff will work together to identify, prioritize, and determine access to survey areas. Field and lab equipment required for species identification will be provided, including botanical keys, loupes, dissecting microscope, camera, etc.

The intern will also have many opportunities to participate in other resource management work throughout their term, including herpetofauna monitoring, hydro-well monitoring, greenhouse work, park-partner meetings, and public outreach events. Based on their interests, cross-training with other park divisions can also be provided.

Protection of rare botanical resources was one of the principal motives behind the creation of Big Thicket National Preserve. This position will collect data on poorly documented rare plant populations and consolidate existing published data among scattered sources to create tools that will vastly improve the accessibility and usability of the data for resource management at the park.

The Excel database will allow staff to easily synthesize lists of at-risk species based on target characteristics such as location, time of year, and habitat, facilitating future species surveys. The geospatial database will allow qualified staff to view precise locations of known vulnerable populations, which will be used to minimize or prevent adverse impacts of park operations such as prescribed fire, trail maintenance, and visitor use, and facilitate the development of new research questions, prioritize restoration projects, and write funding proposals.


(1) An Excel spreadsheet database containing a list of at-risk species selected based on park proximity and conservation status, with associated data for each species including county/parish records, habitat associations (vegetation, soils, hydrology, fire, geologic formation, etc.), phenology, and identification notes.

(2) An ESRI geospatial database containing points and polygons of observed populations and metadata including species, time/date of observation, and photos, and an associated Field Maps form for adding new records.

(3) The intern will also give a presentation to park staff on their work near the end of their term.


Minimum qualifications for this position include some coursework or experience in field botany, plant ecology, plant identification, GIS, or vegetation surveys. Candidates with demonstrated skills in plant identification and an understanding of plant communities and drivers of plant distributions are highly desired.

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 20 Weeks in order to be considered and participate.

The internship will take place in both office and field settings. Office/Lab work will take place at the park headquarters offices where the intern will have their own desk and computer. Species identification may require the use of a dissecting microscope. Fieldwork will take place throughout the park and require driving, hiking, UTV operation, and potentially canoeing or riding in a powerboat. Fieldwork with have the potential for exposure to biting insects including mosquitoes and ticks, poison ivy, and hot-humid weather conditions.


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

Park housing is available and will be provided at no cost to the participant. Housing will be available on-site at no cost. Housing units will provide a bedroom (most likely single-occupied, but potentially shared), and shared kitchen and bathrooms. Though cookware and utensils are usually available, interns should be prepared to purchase their own cooking supplies and bring their own bedding. Housing units are located 30-35 minutes from the nearest amenities including grocery stores, gas stations, and medical care, and 25-40 minutes from the headquarters offices.

botany, plants, GIS, field survey, endangered species

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.)