Position Title: Ecology Assistant
Park Unit: Joshua Tree National Park
Location: Twentynine Palms, California
Number of positions available: 1
Can this position be fully remote: NO

Duration: 36 Weeks (not flexible)
Start Date: 10/06/2024
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.)

The SIP will provide project support to a Desert Stewardship and Resilience project designed to reduce visitor impacts and restore sensitive desert ecological resources in Joshua Tree NP (JOTR), working with Anza Borrego Desert State Park, and surrounding communities and landscapes. The SIP will perform tasks assigned by JOTR working with state and private partners on coordination, outreach and communications of landscape-scale research and monitoring, visitor stewardship education, and damage assessment. This Mojave and Colorado deserts ecoregion is an epicenter for plant and animal biodiversity, including the Joshua tree cactus and other threatened and endangered species such as the desert tortoise, Eureka dunegrass, and primrose. The MCDBR also has a wealth of human history and archeological and cultural resources. Visitor crowding, offroad incursions by vehicles, and unauthorized uses of areas within and outside the parks are causing damage to these resources. This internship offers an invaluable opportunity to gain experience working with desert parks, land trusts, and different levels of government, as well as universities, tourism programs, and nongovernmental organizations in a science-based context to evaluate and respond cooperatively to these threats. These partners have formed a collaborative working group under the Mojave Colorado Deserts Biosphere Region (MCDBR), a nearly 27-million acre landscape recognized for its international significance by UNESCO in 1984 as a site in the World Network of Biosphere Reserves. The SIP will have three main responsibilities: 1 – Developing an assessment and GIS-based visualization of visitor use trends and patterns causing impacts to JOTR. 2 – Providing information on resource damage in these areas to park staff and to external partners for potential restoration and visitor management actions. 3 - Assisting with outreach and communications in developing a destination stewardship strategy that creates awareness about responsible use and enjoyment of desert resources, including disseminating web-based and GIS-based media to partners and the public. This position will report directly to the JOTR Resource Management Lead and work closely with other parks and partners such as Anza Borrego Foundation. The SIP will be co-mentored remotely by the NPS US Biosphere Network Liaison.

Ensuring a large landscape, collaborative approach among partners is critical to mitigating resource damage and restoring desert resilience because of the dispersed nature of visitors coming from nearby Los Angeles County, and the need for cooperation among parks and surrounding areas to understand and address the factors driving peak visitation periods to these areas. This position will provide support to JOTR and other public land managers struggling with significant increases in visitation and damage from overwhelmed transportation corridors and scenic areas. The broader MCDBR includes Death Valley and Joshua Tree National Parks, Anza Borrego Desert State Park, military lands and Bureau of Land Management units. These managers need to collaborate at appropriate scales to address issues and impacts that cross the boundaries of public and private lands, including wildlife corridors, recreational uses, visitor crowding, and resource stewardship and restoration. The position provides direct support for achieving this goal by providing informational tools and coordination support on landscape scale conservation for JOTR and the partners.


Deliverables will include project assistance and coordination support to JOTR and the MCDBR partners. The Intern will develop maps and geospatial informational tools to support visualization and communication of various geographic information related to visitation patterns and observed resource damage to desert lands. These informational tools, web products and media will portray ecological and visitor-use connectivity among public lands and demonstrate shared management concerns. Work will include coordinating meetings, collecting and aggregating data and information, and assisting on a Desert Stewardship and Resilience strategy to direct visitation in ways that ensure people avoid damage to the resources they enjoy. The intern also will assist with and resource management and outreach and education projects at JOTR and other locations as assigned.


Skills and experience in using ArcGIS and ArcGIS online preferred. Experience in leadership and coordination in volunteer organizations, academic and/or professional settings helpful. Coursework in social and natural sciences preferred with communications and public affairs coursework or experience also helpful. Exposure to tourism management or traffic and transportation design also helpful.

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 36 Weeks in order to be considered and participate.

Balance of both office and fieldwork. May include travel to nearby national park units within the Mojave and Colorado Desert Biosphere Reserve. Intern will reside in Twentynine Palms, CA, in close proximity to Palm Springs and within a few hours of Los Angeles, San Diego, and Las Vegas. The local community is home to conservationists, artists, musicians, marines, government workers, and local business owners. The community is diverse and hosts many activities and events. The park is very undeveloped, 85% wilderness, has 270 miles of hiking trails, and nearly 200 miles of paved and dirt roads. Recreation includes hiking, rock climbing, backpacking, car camping, photography, and general touring by car.


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

Park housing is available and will be provided at no cost to the participant. Private room at the Dr. Luckie Research Study Center located within the park boundaries. Linens, cookware, and dishes are provided.

Tourism, restoration, ecology, education, geospatial

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.)