Position Title: Ecology Assistant
Park Unit: Great Lakes Network, Inventory and Monitoring Division
Location: Ashland, Wisconsin
Number of positions available: 1
Can this position be fully remote: YES

Duration: 52 Weeks (not flexible)
Start Date: 10/14/2024
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.)

The Great Lakes Inventory and Monitoring Network (GLKN) is a subunit of the National Park Service Inventory and Monitoring (I&M) Program---responsible for monitoring ecological ‘vital signs’ in nine National Parks located in Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, and Wisconsin. ‘Vital signs’ are environmental indicators that help us determine if the ecosystems within our National Parks are healthy.

GLKN has been monitoring vocalizing amphibians as a vital sign using acoustic monitoring devices since 2013. GLKN seeks to compile distinct but related amphibian monitoring data, validate our auto-identification results with bioacoustics analytical software, develop relevant metadata, and publish an integrated, long-term amphibian dataset following the best practices recently established by I&M (i.e., machine-readable data packages).

By hiring a “Scientist In Parks” (SIP) Intern, we hope to leverage the knowledge and skills of a data scientist to assist in the data validation and publication process, then aid in the development of data utilities, visualizers, or specific analyses related to the published data (see Deliverables and Work Products Section). This experience will help the successful candidate further develop their programming and project management skills, specifically as they relate to large and complex datasets. Day to day tasks will involve writing code to ‘wrangle,’ summarize, and analyze data; employing algorithms to validate species identified by their calls; and documenting the process via metadata. The SIP will work closely with GLKN scientists to accomplish these goals. Ultimately, this will serve as an opportunity to make a lasting and meaningful contribution to natural resource management in Great Lakes parks while also increasing access to data and creating digital utilities of broader scientific interest.

This position will contribute to the management and conservation of endemic fauna and other natural resources in the Great Lakes region. Special emphasis will be placed on the long-term monitoring of vocalizing amphibians---important indicators of changes in climate, hydrology, and aquatic chemistry. It’s expected that the SIP Intern will not only have the opportunity to collect data and develop analytical tools for our amphibian monitoring program, but also facilitate the use of these data by park managers, scientists, and the public.


The SIP Intern will be expected to work with Network scientists to produce a discoverable, well-documented, and accessible long-term dataset of acoustic amphibian data that is consistent with the Inventory and Monitoring Division’s commitment to open and interoperable data. An exceptional SIP will have additional opportunities that they will define in consultation with their supervisor. Opportunities for an ambitious SIP include: developing custom scripts and utilities (e.g., an R package) that make processing, analyzing, and visualizing these data both more efficient and reproducible; creating web-based visualization tools that allow park managers and the public to interact with the data directly; or working with Network ecologists to analyze the data and potentially co-author a scientific publication.


A successful candidate will have demonstrable evidence of an ability to write code and problem-solve in the R-Environment, or other equivalent programming language usable by the federal government. They must also possess excellent oral, electronic, and written communication skills commensurate with a scientific professional. A bachelor’s degree in physical, natural, or computer science is encouraged, but any candidate with the requisite coding background and communication skills will be considered. An interest and/or knowledge of amphibians is preferred but not required.

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.

The SIP Intern is expected to support a variety of monitoring and data science operations in the Great Lakes Network, particular those relating to our amphibian monitoring program. This will require working in both field and office conditions. Field work will include hiking to and servicing acoustic monitoring devices at nearby parks, as well as supporting other Network programs (e.g., water quality sampling) as needed. Most tasks, however, will take place in the office (e.g., coding, data documentation and visualization). Workspace will be provided at the Great Lakes Network offices, located in Ashland, Wisconsin. Ashland is a community of about 9,000 people located in rural northern Wisconsin, approximately 75 miles east of Duluth, Minnesota. Temperatures range from the mid 80’s in the summer to sub-zero in the winter. Recreation activities such as skiing, biking, and fishing abound in the nearby Apostle Islands National Lakeshore and the Chequamegon National Forest.


  • 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. Previous interns have indicated that they significantly benefited from the experience of working directly with the Network’s ecologists and participating in field activities. Doing so requires that the SIP find local housing and relocate to the area. The Network is located in a rural area of northern Wisconsin, which means that the SIP may have to spend more time finding acceptable lodging than in other parts of the country. That said, recent interns and temporary staff have all successfully done so. The average rental price for a one-bedroom apartment is around $750. If reasonable accommodations are unavailable, remote work from an approved telework space with a suitable internet connection is permissible.

Data Science, Computer Science, Programming, Coding, Acoustic Monitoring, Amphibians

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.)