Website Rocky Mountain National Park

**The application period for this position has closed.**

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

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

**All Mosaics in Science interns are required to show proof of COVID-19 vaccination**

Stipend: $640/week + housing

Start Date: 05/30/2022

End Date: 08/22/2022

Project Description:

This position will serve as the field lead for Rocky Mountain National Park (RMNP)’s Community Led Impact Monitoring (CLIM) Program – a fledgling community science program that contributes to the park’s visitor use management strategy by monitoring visitor impacts to natural resources and visitor trail experience. The CLIM Program was developed and piloted in 2020 through the NPS Future Park Leaders of Emerging Change Internship Program and implemented in 2021 through the Mosaics In Science Diversity Internship Program. Both years proved highly successful in identifying visitor-related impacts (social trailing, vegetation loss, etc.) and laid the foundation for visitor use management in these areas.

In Summer 2022, the CLIM Program will focus on high visitation areas in the park where this research has not been conducted. Despite its resiliency, these high visitation areas are fragile. Human visitors can negatively impact alpine plant communities through vegetation trampling and social trailing which can hinder vegetation growth and lead to soil erosion. Non-native plant species can then take advantage of denuded areas and may outcompete native plants that wildlife depends on. It can take a long time for these areas to recover from seemingly minor impacts.

To better understand visitor-use impacts in these high visitation areas, the SIP Mosaics intern will conduct a research project using methods from an established monitoring protocol. Visitor-use impacts (social trails, vegetation loss/soil erosion, etc.) will be quantified via field mapping sessions and analysis will be performed using ArcGIS protocols and by other methods developed by the SIP intern.

To accomplish this, the SIP Mosaics intern will leverage community scientist volunteers to document and map visitor use impacts in these high visitation areas. As the field lead, the SIP Mosaics intern will be responsible for recruiting, training, and managing volunteers in the field. The intern will hone their leadership, communication, and organizational skills by leading backcountry and field training for volunteers, and coordinating field teams to map impacts and establish trail congestion metrics.

Specific Duties Include:
• Collaborate with RMNP staff about existing data and findings.
• Participate in RMNP backcountry and other safety trainings.
• Use established protocol to map social trailing and soil loss from erosion/trampling using GPS enabled tablets and GIS technology.

• Calculate social trailing density and estimated soil erosion loss or compaction from spatial data collected.
• Develop and test various resource condition classes to understand level of impacts.
• Design and lead volunteer-based community science campaigns to collect data and produce maps of visitor use impacts; recruit, train, and lead volunteers in the field.
• Contribute data to collaborative research effort within the Research Learning Center.
• Make management recommendations based on project results.


The most qualified applicants will have, or be pursuing, a degree in social sciences, human dimensions, recreation management and/or natural resource management. Applicants should have experience collecting data in the field using GPS units, mapping and analyzing spatial data using ArcCollector and ArcGIS, and have the ability to write a scientific report including basic data display and analysis. Additionally, applicants should: 1) have and demonstrate the ability to carry out research independently; 2) have good communication and basic leadership skills to organize and implement volunteer community scientist campaigns; 3) possess backcountry and off-trail hiking experience (preferably in mountainous terrain) and; 4) be attentive to safety while working in the field.

The most qualified applicant will possess:
• Coursework in ecology, GIS, recreation management, natural resources, and human dimensions
• Experience collecting data using GPS and mapping/analyzing spatial data in ArcGIS
• Ability to write a scientific report including basic data display and analysis
• Good communication/leadership skills to organize and implement volunteer community scientist campaigns • Backcountry/off-trail hiking skills and experience in mountainous terrain with adverse weather conditions
• A valid driver’s license

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