POSITION DETAILS

Position Title: Ecology Assistant
Park Unit: Chihuahuan Desert Network, Sonoran Desert Network, Southern Plains Network
Location: Pecos, New Mexico
Number of positions available: 1
Can this position be fully remote: YES

INTERNSHIP DATES AND LENGTH
Duration: 52 Weeks
Start Date: 10/07/2024
Flexible Start Date: YES

LIVING AND RELOCATION ALLOWANCE:
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, June 16, whichever occurs first).

POSITION DESCRIPTION
This position will work for the Southern Plains Inventory and Monitoring Network (SOPN) scientists, data manager, field crew and parks staff. They will complete projects and support data management and GIS workflow. There will be opportunities to participate in fieldwork, predominantly long-term vegetation monitoring in grassland and desert ecosystems, if desired. SOPN is a part of the Southwest Network Collaboration (SWNC), with three Inventory & Monitoring networks representing 29 National Park units. We collect data on a wide variety of natural resource “vital signs” through field observation and will update and expand existing datasets to complement these data.

This position will gain experience working in a dynamic data environment and with professional data managers and scientists responsible for supporting natural resource monitoring in the Southern Plains and across the southwestern U.S. The team focuses on aspects of mobile data collection, database management, data certification and quality analysis, dataset production or data presentation through visualizations and reports. The candidate selected will be involved in projects such as cleaning, visualizing, and reporting data using R Markdown formats; developing and implementing procedures for automating data certification; analyzing datasets and preparing them for publication; data presentation in web reports and dashboards to improve natural resource managers’ access to information; organizing and maintaining spatial data in GIS; and providing general coding support to network scientists.

If desired, the candidate selected may spend up to a third of the internship participating in long-term ecological monitoring fieldwork at the National Park units represented by SWNC. SOPN conducts vegetation sampling in 11 park units across the grassland communities of Colorado, Kansas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas, and carries out water quality monitoring on two rivers in Colorado and New Mexico. Our partners, the Sonoran Desert and Chihuahuan Desert Networks, monitor vegetation, wildlife, and water quality in 18 park units in the deserts of Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas. Among the three networks, field work is conducted year-round. Data management and field support for long-term vegetation monitoring in grasslands would be prioritized and would include measuring plant cover and frequency, plant identification to species, and mapping invasive species.

POSITION IMPACT
The National Park Service invests heavily in monitoring the health of park natural resources including vegetation, water quality, and wildlife. As these datasets accumulate year after year, the need to synthesize and evaluate how and why NPS natural resources have changed over time intensifies. To that end, the SOPN is looking for a candidate with skills in the statistical methods used to summarize natural resource trends. We will leverage these skills to evaluate NPS datasets from parks across the Southern Plains and broader U.S. Southwest. Results from this project will be shared with park managers charged with protecting these park resources into the future.


DELIVERABLES

The candidate selected will be involved in authentic natural resource and data management projects that include, collecting, cleaning, visualizing, and reporting data using R Markdown formats; developing and implementing procedures for automating data certification; analyzing datasets and preparing them for publication; data presentation in web reports and dashboards to improve natural resource managers’ access to information; organizing and maintaining spatial data in GIS; and providing general coding support to network scientists.

DESIRED INTERN QUALIFICATIONS

General knowledge of data management concepts, principles, methods, and practices. Experience coding in R and using R Markdown file formats to present interactive data summaries. Familiarity with Esri software packages for GIS and cloud-based data services (e.g., ArcGIS Pro and AGOL). Solid written and oral communication skills and the ability to be detail oriented and well organized are a must.

Comfort and willingness to work in challenging field conditions (e.g., cold to hot and/or humid weather; rough terrain; biting insects; spiny plants; etc.). Strong commitment to safety and NPS operational leadership principles. Experience with botanical research, and/or vegetation monitoring would be beneficial. Skills related to successful teamwork (clear and regular communication, reliability, respectfulness) and building successful relationships with colleagues. Individuals who are collaborative, flexible, accountable, and who are positive and excited to work as part of a science team are encouraged to apply.

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.

WORK SETTING
Work setting will be 70-100% in the office and up to 30% in the field. The position will be located at Pecos, NHP near Santa Fe, NM, with an option to work remotely. Santa Fe boasts a vibrant culture and the amenities common to a large city. Climate in this area can range from 20-85 degrees F and can experience intermittent snow and rain conditions.

The incumbent may conduct field work throughout the Southwest Network Collaborative (SWNC), consisting of 29 National Park units in the Southern Great Plains and Sonoran and Chihuahuan deserts. Summer temperatures can exceed 100F, with mild fall and winter conditions, and off-trail hiking in rough (and very beautiful) terrain will be common. Fieldwork occurs in areas with hazards that include venomous snakes, poison ivy, and biting insects.

VEHICLE AND DRIVERS LICENSE REQUIREMENTS

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

HOUSING
Park housing is NOT available. The intern will be responsible for finding housing in the nearby area. Housing options are predominately available in nearby Santa Fe, NM (~38 miles) with potential rentals in Pecos or Glorieta, NM. Apartment rentals can range from $750-$1500+ a month in Santa Fe, NM. Opportunities to work from other duty stations in New Mexico or the broader Southwest are possible.

KEYWORDS
Ecology, Data Science, Field Work, New Mexico, Southwest, Texas, Arizona, R, GIS, vegetation surveys, inventory, monitoring,

IMPORTANT NOTICES
This posting will close after receiving 75 complete applications, or at 11:59 p.m. EDT on Sunday, 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.).

LEARN MORE
https://www.scientistsinparks.org/