How would you like the opportunity to observe, develop, and practice science communication strategies through a multidisciplinary project that combines interpretation/education with invertebrate research at Dinosaur National Monument (DNM)?
The interpretation/education component of the internship focuses on researching, developing and presenting interpretive programs that integrate citizen science into the visitor experience. Interpretation at DNM includes well-established programs to communicate topics of geology, paleontology, and dark skies to a variety of audiences, especially children. This internship will include participating in the established interpretive schedule of providing visitor services and public programs at the Quarry Visitor Center, Quarry Exhibit Hall, and Campgrounds alongside other interpretive staff. It will also include developing new interpretive programs or products that support a new natural resource study on two butterfly species that began in 2019.
The natural resource monitoring and research component of the internship focus on a status assessment of two butterfly species of concern: the monarch and Great Basin silverspot butterflies. The intern will be responsible for conducting field surveys to collect baseline data on milkweed presence and monarch and silverspot butterfly occurrence and habitat preference. Surveys will occur at both established/designated plots and in "opportunistic" plots at both DNM and the greater Uinta Basin. Standardized citizen science-based protocols will be used for milkweed and nectar plant surveys, egg and larvae, and adult surveys, and tracking parasitism and survival. The intern will also be made available to assist other local federal and state agencies with similar data collection as requested. There may also be an opportunity to conduct these same surveys across eastern Utah in partnership with the State of Utah.
The primary final product will be the submission of all project data to U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) to inform listing considerations under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) via the citizen science-driven Integrated Monarch Monitoring Program. Tagging and parasite data collected during the project are provided to Southwest Monarch Study and Project Monarch Health.
Other final products include a summary report of monarch and silverspot activity for DNM resource management archives and a presentation of findings to partners and staff. Additionally, an opportunity to co-author a peer-reviewed paper on the western monarch population may exist in cooperation with Southwest Monarch Study following the internship.
- Applicants should have a strong desire to work with a wide range of public audiences, especially children. Public speaking skills or a background in education or interpretation is not required. Candidates who are able to balance the careful following of protocols with creative thinking are encouraged to apply.
- Fieldwork will involve using a butterfly net, field guide, camera, Samsung tablet, GPS unit, and binoculars. Successful applicants do not need to be an invertebrate expert but will have basic fieldwork experience and a strong interest in applied species conservation. Applicants should be able to hike short to medium (up to 2 miles) distances over easy to moderate terrain and be comfortable moving about independently in front country environments. Limited backcountry fieldwork may occur but will always be with a companion.