Rare Species Research Assistant

Website Grand Canyon National Park/Science and Resource Management/Vegetation Program

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. 

Car is required

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 Description:

Since the 1990s, the western population of monarch butterflies, which winters in California, have suffered grave declines as population size has plummeted from 1.2 million in the 1990s to fewer than 2,000 individuals in 2020. In 2014, these drastic declines prompted a petition to list monarch butterflies under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, & on 12/15/2020 the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) determined that adding the monarch butterfly to the list of threatened & endangered species is warranted but precluded due to work on higher-priority listing actions. 

Grand Canyon National Park (GRCA) and the Colorado River occur along a critical monarch butterfly (hereafter referred to as ‘monarchs’) migration flyway and offer host plants (i.e., milkweed) that are essential for monarch survival. Unfortunately, this once common and widespread butterfly species is suffering severe population declines, and immediate action is needed to prevent species extinction. 

This internship will advance monarch butterfly conservation through monarch habitat creation, community science, interpretation and education, and information sharing with decision-makers. 


Flora and Fauna Monitoring  

To improve park and public understanding of milkweed distribution, nectar plant distribution, and monarch use, the intern will utilize established protocols to evaluate 10 monitoring plots through the Monarch Joint Venture Integrated Monarch Mapping Project (https://www.monarchjointventure.org/mjvprograms/science/immp). 

The intern will utilize established physical capture and tagging protocols developed by the Southwest Monarch Study (https://www.swmonarchs.org/index.php) to further park and public understanding of monarch migration and breeding patterns.

Habitat Restoration 

The intern will develop and hone their ecological restoration skills through establishing milkweed and other nectar-rich plant species at two high visitor use locations. The intern will assist park staff with native seed collection, plant propagation, out-planting, and irrigation. 

Written and Oral Communication 

The intern will hone their oral presentation skills through sharing project findings with park decision-makers at a GRCA Science and Resource Management Program Managers meeting.    

Education and Outreach  

The intern will collaborate with Interpretation and Resource Education Staff to develop a public education program on monarch conservation intended for diverse youth. The intern will inspire the next generation of NPS ambassadors through presenting one or more programs at a K-12 school. The program will share information on how Mexican traditions are connected to the monarchs’ fall arrival in Mexico. 

The intern will work with Interpretation and Resource Education Staff to develop materials/resources/social media posts to encourage and connect park visitors to monarch butterfly conservation community science opportunities in their local neighborhood.  

To increase monarch conservation awareness amongst the public, the intern will collaborate with Interpretation and Resource Education staff to plan and implement a ½ day monarch butterfly festival. Festival activities will include demonstrating the monarch butterfly tagging process and explaining the purpose. In addition, information will be shared regarding the monarch butterfly life cycle, annual migration, threats, population status, and habitats and barriers to conservation success. This family friendly event will include arts and crafts.  

Additionally, the intern will work to support and cross train other youth interns working at Grand Canyon and other National Park sites to share their experiences, expertise, and program.  


The intern will learn formal scientific data collection skills through collecting field data on flora and fauna of the Colorado Plateau Ecoregion. The Coordinator of the Southwest Monarch Study will train the intern in butterfly capture and tagging.  

The intern will be exposed to multiple stakeholders including learning about Arizona Milkweeds for Monarchs (https://www.azmilkweedsformonarchs.org/) plant production, habitat creation, research, and internship opportunities.  The intern will tour the Northern Arizona University Research Greenhouse (https://in.nau.edu/greenhouse/), collaborate with a United States Fish and Wildlife Service Biologist who oversees regional monarch recovery actions, and participate in monthly informational calls hosted by the Arizona Monarch Collaborative (https://www.azmonarchcollaborative.org/home). The intern will attend the 2024 International Western Monarch Summit and make connections with other monarch enthusiasts, researchers, and conservation organizations. 


A weeklong intern exchange with another LHIP participating park (i.e., Dinosaur National Park) will promote knowledge and skill enhancement. 

A multi-day intern retreat with multiple interns from Grand Canyon National Park and Zion National Park will foster exchange of information and promote professional and/or social contacts.  

The intern will develop written and oral communication skills through presenting (oral) project findings to GRCA SRM Program Managers.  

The intern and mentor will work together to develop critical thinking skills based on Strategies to Increase Critical Thinking Skills in Students (https://www.teachbetter.com/blog/strategies-to-increase-critical-thinking-skills-in-students/). In DOI Talent, the intern will sharpen their critical thinking skills by completing Leadercamp on-demand: Critical Thinking for Relational Leadership.  

Applicant must be currently seeking an undergraduate or master’s degree in biological sciences, natural resources management, or related discipline appropriate to the position. Applicant must be physically fit and willing to conduct fieldwork in rugged terrain within Grand Canyon National Park.

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

Applicant must be currently seeking an undergraduate or master’s degree in biological sciences, natural resources management, or related discipline appropriate to the position.  Applicants must be physically fit and willing to conduct fieldwork in rugged terrain within Grand Canyon National Park.

Physical/Natural Environment: The South Rim of Grand Canyon National Park is in Northwest Arizona, approximately 60 miles north of Williams and 85 miles Northwest of Flagstaff at an elevation of 7,000 feet. Temperatures range from approximately 85 degrees in the summer to 17 degrees in the winter. Grand Canyon Village has K-12 schools, a daycare center, post office, general store, banking facilities, churches, a recreation center, a clinic with resident physicians and several restaurants. The park community consists of some 2,000 people, including employees of the NPS and concessionaires and their family members. There are often employment opportunities for family members in the park and surrounding areas. The park community is small enough that many employees choose to walk or bike from their homes to work. Complete shopping, educational, medical, and professional services are available in Williams and Flagstaff. Recreational opportunities include hiking, river rafting, fishing, cross-country and downhill skiing, and golfing in nearby communities. Flagstaff is home to Latino communities/neighborhoods.

Work Environment: This internship will provide a variety of field (75%) and office (25%) work. The intern may be required to travel to remote locations within GRCA and overnight back-country camp. GRCA will provide an office workspace with necessary equipment. Field based tasks will involve working in a desert environment in rugged terrain with exposure to extreme temperatures (100+⁰ F).  Field based tasks will involve hiking with a heavy pack for prolonged periods of time (up to 6 miles per day). GRCA will provide all the necessary safety training to ensure a safe work environment.

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

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