Avian population monitoring intern / natural resources management intern

Website Cuyahoga Valley National Park

Start Date: May 15th, 2023

End Date: August 4th, 2023

Compensation: $640 a week paid every two weeks. Travel costs to the site and back home are covered by the program. 

Application Due: February 6th, 2023

The Latino Heritage Internship Program seeks to engage ethnically and racially diverse young professionals in natural resource careers.

Must be a U.S. citizen or legal resident.

All interns must be fully vaccinated for covid-19 prior to the start of their internship.

Please Apply HERE

Position Details:

The LHIP Avian Population Monitoring Intern will assist park staff in a variety of avian monitoring projects, including the Park’s Focused Condition Assessment: Birds of Conservation Concern at CUVA (FY23-24). The LHIP intern will be supervised by park Biologists and will help park staff to collect a variety of avian-related data, assist with the management of volunteers and citizen scientists, communicate with park visitors, and deliver bird-themed programs to visitors. 

The intern’s primary responsibility will be to create a report using data collected by citizen scientists monitoring Great Blue Heron (GBHE) heronries since 1993. The data that have been collected include dates of nest construction, occupancy, incubation and hatching, number of active nests, and number of young fledged. These data allow us to determine the average number of nesting pairs, reproductive success, and geographic distribution of nests. Using spotting scopes and binoculars, citizen scientists survey the heronries on a weekly basis beginning in early January, when birds begin nest building, to the end of June when young fledge the nests. The intern will summarize data and report on population trends, recommend changes to the monitoring protocol, and interact with citizen scientists. In addition, the intern will have creative control for asking their own research question(s) regarding correlates of population size or fledgling success (e.g., the influence of weather, disturbance levels, phenological effects such as first arrival, hatch, or fledge dates). The intern will also create a blog post or social media content for the park’s pages about the heron monitoring efforts. There are four discrete deliverables from this primary duty: (1) a compiled, curated, quality-controlled database of the monitoring data in Excel; (2) a final report summarizing monitoring data since 1993 (population size, trends, fledgling success, effort), including the identification and analysis of a research question selected by the intern; (3) a revised and updated GBHE monitoring protocol for continued use by citizen scientists; and (4) content for webpage(s) about the heronry monitoring (photos, blog post, tweet, podcast, or other contribution open to the intern’s style and creativity). This primary project and its deliverables will provide the intern with experience in managing datasets, analyzing data, communicating science, working with scientific monitoring protocols, working with citizen scientists and volunteers, and designing research questions. 

The intern’s secondary responsibility will be to assist with two additional bird monitoring projects. (1) Focused condition assessment of birds of conservation concern: The intern will assist with bird point count surveys in wetlands and riparian areas across the park, assist with setup and download of autonomous recording units (ARUs), and data entry. (2) Monitoring Avian Productivity and Survivorship (MAPS) banding station: the intern will assist with the operation and setup of the pilot season of the Park’s MAPS station. This will include setting up, taking down, and checking nets, safely removing birds from nets, learning to safely handle, band, and process birds, and interacting with the public. Involvement in these secondary projects will provide the intern with field experience in avian monitoring techniques, including identification of species by sight and sound, setting up and taking down mist nets, safely handling and processing birds at a banding station (including determination of age and sex, and measuring and weighing birds), and use of various data platforms (e.g., breeding bird surveys, eBird).

If scheduling allows, the intern will have the opportunity to assist in additional natural resource management and data collection (e.g. side-scan sonar surveys and large woody debris monitoring on the river, mussel reintroduction study, fish surveys, tree planting, exotic plant management, rare plant surveys) and interpretation.

(1) Working toward a degree in biology, zoology, wildlife management, or other natural resource or related field. Coursework in ornithology, science communication, statistics, conservation, or population ecology. 

(2) Broad natural resource management interests (geology, ecology, botany, etc.), but interest in a career in avian conservation, management, and/or research is preferred. Training is provided, but some preference will be shown for those having experience with bird identification. Experience using binoculars and/or spotting scopes is strongly preferred. Some experience with mist-netting and/or bird handling preferred, but not required. 

(3) Candidates should have strong written and verbal communication skills. Interest and/or experience working with volunteers and/or citizen scientists, interest and/or experience communicating science to the public. 

(4) General knowledge of research and monitoring field methods, species identification, and data collection. Preference will be given to individuals with knowledge of flora and fauna of eastern US and/or those with bird identification experience. 

(5) Familiarity with data analysis and/or data management, such as use of excel and/or R. 

(6) Candidate must be comfortable working outdoors, in/near water, and hiking off trail in muddy, irregular terrain, and in hot, humid, or buggy conditions. Job hazards include exposure to heat and humidity, ticks, insects, and occasional incidental exposure to poison ivy. The intern will be required to use maps and GPS to navigate to monitoring locations and should be comfortable in field conditions including rain, insects, steep terrain, and streams. Point count and banding protocols require early morning (pre-dawn) starts. This position will be approximately 60% field work and 40% office work. 

(7) Successful candidates should be self-motivated, able to work independently and as part of a team and bring a positive attitude to work. Successful candidates should be comfortable exploring their creativity and problem-solving skills to address their project.

Intern Qualifications:

Interns selected for the NPSCF Program should possess:

  • Demonstrated leadership skills and experience
  • Strategic thinking ability
  • The ability to self-start/work independently
  • Flexibility/resourcefulness
  • The ability to adapt new skills and ideas to the public sector

(1)  Working toward a degree in biology, zoology, wildlife management, or other natural resource or related field. Coursework in ornithology, science communication, statistics, conservation, or population ecology. 

(2)  Broad natural resource management interests (geology, ecology, botany, etc.), but interest in a career in avian conservation, management, and/or research is preferred. Training is provided, but some preference will be shown for those having experience with bird identification. Experience using binoculars and/or spotting scopes is strongly preferred.

(3)  Candidates should have strong written and verbal communication skills. Interest and/or experience working with volunteers and/or citizen scientists, interest and/or experience communicating science to the public. 

(4)  General knowledge of research and monitoring field methods, species identification, and data collection. Preference will be given to individuals with knowledge of flora and fauna of eastern US and/or those with bird identification experience. 

(5)  Familiarity with data analysis and/or data management, such as use of excel and/or R. 

(6)  Candidate must be comfortable working outdoors, in/near water, and hiking off trail in muddy, irregular terrain, and in hot, humid, or buggy conditions. Job hazards include exposure to heat and humidity, ticks, insects, and occasional incidental exposure to poison ivy. The intern will be required to use maps and GPS to navigate to monitoring locations and should be comfortable in field conditions including rain, insects, steep terrain, and streams. Point count and banding protocols require early morning (pre-dawn) starts. This position will be approximately 60% field work and 40% office work.

(7) Successful candidates should be self-motivated, able to work independently and as part of a team and bring a positive attitude to work. Successful candidates should be comfortable exploring their creativity and problem-solving skills to address their project.

Physical/Natural Environment: Located in Northeastern Ohio, Cuyahoga Valley National Park is situated along 22 miles of the Cuyahoga River Valley in a suburban setting between the cities of Akron and Cleveland. The park is predominately natural forest and meadow with some areas of agriculture and excellent outdoor recreation opportunities. Winters are moderately cold with average temperatures in the 20 to 30 degree ranges. Heavy snowfall is not unusual. Summers are moderately warm, average temperatures in the high 70’s and 80’s with occasional warm spells in the 90’s. Rural, suburban, and urban communities are all within a reasonable commuting distance. Excellent K-12 schools, numerous colleges, universities, hospitals, and cultural attractions are available in the area. Northeast Ohio is a very diverse demographic with Latino communities’ present in the cities of Cleveland and Akron as well as spread out through the suburbs and more rural areas. The region thrives on and celebrates cultural diversity, this is clear through programs such as Cleveland Public Theaters diversity programs like Teatro Publico de Cleveland and diverse culinary opportunities (dinning and specialty grocery stores). Though there is no public transportation within the park boundaries, most of the area is bike-friendly and accessible through the Towpath Trail, a multi-purpose trail transecting the national park. Cuyahoga Valley National Park’s Web Site: http://www.nps.gov/cuva

Work Environment: The position requires working independently and in a team environment with shared workload and responsibilities. The Resource Management Division regularly hosts multiple summer interns and seasonals. Team meetings occur daily while meetings with the entire RM staff occur once a week. Work will be performed both indoors and out. This position will be heavily skewed towards field work, which can be weather dependent but should be at least 60% field work and 40% office work. At CUVA, late spring is generally cool and rainy, and summer is hot and humid. Fieldwork requires sturdy hiking shoes/boots. All field work will be conducted as part of a team (intern will not be expected to hike off trail alone). Terrain is hilly and some assignments may require candidates to hike off trail in muddy, hot, humid or buggy conditions. Job hazards include exposure to heat and humidity, ticks, insects, and occasional incidental exposure to poison ivy. LHIP intern will work closely with staff in the I&M division and a Scientist-in-Park intern to conduct point counts for the birds of conservation concern assessment. Points counts will be conducted up to 4-5 mornings per week during peak breeding season (mid-June). The LHIP intern will also assist in the operation of a MAPS banding station as part of a larger team of staff and volunteers. Banding will occur one morning in every 10-day period, for a total of 10 days throughout the summer. The intern will be required to conduct Great Blue Heron monitoring in early summer in collaboration with citizen scientists. The intern will work independently (with guidance from supervisors) on the GBHE data analysis and report. Office dress is casual (e.g. jeans).

To apply for this job email your details to internships@environmentamericas.org

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