ESA wins Cooperative Agreement with NPS to manage the Future Park Leaders of Emerging Change (FPL) program

The Ecological Society of America (ESA) is proud to announce the launch of its new partnership with the National Park Service Future Park Leaders of Emerging Change (FPL) program. The FPL program supports paid internships to address resource management issues arising from global drivers of environmental change in national parks.

Future Park Leaders logoESA’s Director of Education and Diversity Programs Teresa Mourad, and Education Programs Coordinator Jessica Johnston, had the opportunity to attend the FPL’s annual student symposium this past August in Fort Collins, CO. During the meeting, Mourad and Johnston met with Melanie Wood, Project Manager, and Larry Perez, Communications Coordinator with the NPS Climate Change Response Program (CCRP) to solidify plans for the program.

Wood stated, “The goal of the FPL program is to provide rigorous internship opportunities for the next generation to make an impact on the management of park resources, while building professional experience and a life-long connection to national parks. We hope to make the program even better by increasing the diversity of our student participants and improving the support provided to our students and alumni through our partnership with the ESA.”

NPS Spearhead logoESA has proposed to further enrich the FPL internship program by providing supplemental activities and services that will facilitate strong peer and professional networking, enhance career development, and support best practices in mentoring relationships.

“I look forward to developing webinars, online workshops, and blogs to create stronger student cohorts and keep current students connected with program alumni,” said Johnston.

The FPL brings exciting new perspectives into ESA as well.  In addition to natural resource management challenges, internship projects also tackle cultural resources, facilities, and communication topics. “As the premier Society of professionals in the field of ecology, ESA is excited about the possibility of supporting a program that values diversity and the integration of disciplines, techniques and peoples across the natural, cultural and historical landscapes to support actionable science”, said Mourad.

More Information about the FPL’s Internship Program:

The FPL program supports paid internships to upper level undergraduate and graduate students to work in national parks across the U.S. During this 12-week internship, students are tasked to address park specific projects involving issues such as climate change and science, resource conservation, sustainable park operations, and policy development. Upon completion of the program, interns have the potential to be hired without competition into the National Park Service and other land management bureaus under the Department of the Interior’s Direct Hire Authority. Application to internship projects for Summer 2020 will open November 2019.{
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