2021 – 01

Application deadline is Sunday January 24th, 11:59 PM EST

The National Park Service (NPS) is pleased to support the Scientists in Parks Fellows Program as a pathway for exemplary students in higher education (advanced undergraduate students and graduate students) to apply their skills and ideas to park-based challenges and solutions. The program offers 12-week paid positions which allow students to gain valuable work experience, explore career options, and develop leadership skills through mentorship and guidance while helping to advance NPS efforts on emerging management issues. Successful students may be eligible for non-competitive hire into federal positions for which they qualify following completion of all academic requirements.

Organize, collect, and communicate geospatial data on priority wildlife and plant species in Dinosaur National Monument
(Apply by Sunday, January 24th)

Dinosaur National Monument
Dinosaur, CO

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to change and evolve, project timelines and structure remain flexible and it may be necessary to postpone start dates, begin work remotely, or reformulate the project’s description. Should any development in the COVID-19 outbreak impair a project’s timeline or results, the SIP Team will work with the park and project mentors to assess the situation and determine the best course of action at that time.

The National Park Service (NPS) preserves unimpaired the natural and cultural resources and values of the National Park System for the enjoyment, education, and inspiration of this and future generations. Many recent advances in technology, including enhanced/upgraded web-based mapping and data collection tools which allow for seamless sharing of information with our NPS partners and the public, are making it easier and more efficient to meet our NPS mission.  While the monument collects and retains extensive GIS and spatial data, the organization, management, modernization, and communication of these data are lacking due to limited staffing. The selected SIP Fellow’s organization of data and creation of improved data collection workflows will facilitate DINO’s ability to efficiently and effectively use that information to guide upcoming and highly visible, complex planning efforts (such as for domestic livestock grazing and river use and management) that results in improving outcomes for species of elevated management concern. Story Maps created about DINO’s efforts to document species occurrence and improve riparian habitat will enhance DINO’s ability to tell the story of these species to partners and outreach to the public in ways DINO is currently unable to employ.

This position is offered through the National Park Service’s Scientists in Parks Program in partnership with Ecological Society of America.



Dinosaur National Monument (DINO) is a spectacular 211,000-acre medium-sized park with mega-park values. The rugged landscape provides diverse habitats that support a surprisingly diverse assemblage of plants and animals and critical habitat for federally listed species. Yet is it the Green and Yampa Rivers with their 92 miles of deep, multi-colored canyons, entrenched meanders, sheer sandstone walls, and amazing whitewater that dominate the landscape. Importantly, the Yampa is the only remaining large tributary in the Colorado River system that retains its free-flowing character. Over 90% of DINO is recommended wilderness. Documenting and monitoring the health and function of these rivers is of utmost importance for both DINO and many regional interests. Several projects focusing on species of interest that inhabit these river canyons (Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep, leafy spurge, and Ute Ladies’-tress orchid) are in progress and have generated a lot of data in the last 4 years. However, this data collection pulse has surpassed the ability of limited staff to organize and communicate findings within NPS and external partners in a timely manner. The project will be a mix of office work (data organization, input, analysis, and communication) and field work (two river-based surveys for both invasive and federally-listed plant species) focused on processing a backlog of existing data and preparing DINO natural resource staff for data collection on several long-term projects.

Specifically, the SIP Fellow will be responsible for organizing and entering several years of existing data on Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep into ArcMap, performing basic analyses, and preparing that data for inclusion in a larger meta-analysis of DINO’s bighorn sheep population status. Data includes direct observations submitted by the public and DINO staff, as well as fecal pellet sample locations collected as part of an intensive 3-year herd population assessment along the Green and Yampa River corridors. The SIP Fellow will also help map and treat leafy spurge infestations and document the presence of associated biological control agents along the Yampa River using Survey 123. The information collected will be developed into a Story Map to communicate the monument’s challenges and successes with managing this high priority invasive species that is one of the greatest threats to riparian habitat throughout the Yampa River watershed. Finally, the SIP Fellow will integrate past survey protocols and current data standards to develop a new survey using Survey 123 to collect population information on the Ute Ladies’ Tress orchid, DINO’s only federally listed plant species, along the Green River. The survey will be used as part of an interagency rare plant mapping project, proposed to begin in 2021. The SIP Fellow will prepare results for submission to USFWS to fulfill required monitoring of federally listed species.

At the completion of this project, the SIP Fellow will have (listed by project):
Rocky Mountain Bighorn sheep: organized and input existing bighorn sheep observational and pellet data in ArcGIS Online (AGOL) and performed basic analysis on that data once entered.
Leafy Spurge: assisted natural resource specialist in completing an updated inventory of leafy spurge/biological control presence along the Yampa River using Survey 123, shared DINO leafy spurge data with watershed partners, and created an ArcGIS StoryMap using legacy and current leafy spurge infestation data.
Ute Ladies’-tress orchid: created a new survey in Survey 123 to collect population data on Ute Ladies’- tress orchid along the Green River (upstream and within DINO) and assisted agency resource managers with the 2021 survey.

To be eligible for this position, applicants must be:

  • U.S. citizen, 18 to 30 years of age (or a veteran up to age 35)
  • Enrolled as an upper-level undergraduate (junior or senior) or graduate (Masters or Ph.D.) student that will not graduate prior to finishing your SIP Fellow Project (check each project descriptions to determine the estimated dates of completion)


  • Applicant has already earned their undergraduate degree and is not currently enrolled, but has applied to attend graduate school beginning Fall 2021*

* In the event that you are selected as a SIP Fellow, proof of acceptance in the form of enrollment into a graduate program for Fall 2021 will be required before anything is awarded.

The successful candidate will be:

  • Upper-level undergraduate or graduate student with at least 9-12 credit hours of GIS
  • Strong organizational skills; ability to complete thorough work products
  • In-depth knowledge of and experience using ArcGIS/ArcGIS Online and Survey 123
  • Upper-level undergraduate or graduate student with at least 9-12 credit hours of GIS
  • Field study design and field data collection experience
  • Experience working individually/leading projects

The applicant must be a U.S. citizen or U.S. National between the ages of 18 and 30 years old inclusive, or veterans up to age 35. Prior to starting this position, a government security background clearance will be required.

The SIP Fellow will directly engage with natural and cultural resource management staff daily, including the park’s Chief of Resource Management, in the completion of her/his project tasks.  The SIP Fellow and mentor/supervisor will establish a project timeline and meet regularly to foster time/project management skills, troubleshoot issues, and ensure project deliverables are completed. The SIP Fellow will have the ability to make recommendations on how best to organize current and future data within established NPS data management protocols. The SIP Fellow will develop and practice leadership skills when explaining how to complete certain tasks on ArcGIS, Collector, and AGOL, and Survey 123 to other DINO resource management staff and project partners during project implementation and when sharing project data. Problem-solving skills will be used when determining how to best capture, represent, and manipulate resource data on GIS.

Park staff, regional geospatial specialists, and staff from project partners (Yampa River Leafy Spurge Project, USGS, USFWS, BLM, USFS) will be available to assist as needed throughout their position. Opportunities may exist to cross-train with other divisions, such as Interpretation and Visitor Services, and other resource staff/fellows on projects such as cultural resource inventory, grazing monitoring, invasive/native fish projects, pollinator surveys, and citizen science projects.

Approximate start date of position: 6/13/2021
Eleven weeks of the internship will be in the park. A mandatory Professional Development Workshop will be held in Washington, D.C. from August 1 – 5, 2021.

This initiative supports one student at full time work for $500/week for 11-12 weeks. In order to meet DHA requirements, students must work a minimum of 440 total hours to qualify.

Applicant must have a valid drivers license and a good driving record.
A personal vehicle is required for this position.

The SIP Fellows program provides a travel stipend to all fellows to supplement the cost of student travel to the park site.

Park housing is available and will be provided at no cost to the participant. The SIP Fellow will have a private room in a shared bunkhouse on the Dinosaur, CO side of the monument. The SIP Fellow will be able to walk to the office (a 10-minute walk) but will need a car to get to town. The bunkhouse has a full kitchen (cookware is provided) and is furnished with beds, couches, tables, TV, wifi, and washer/dryer. Bedding and towels can be provided upon request, but the SIP Fellow will need to bring all personal items including toiletries, laundry detergent, pillows. There is no public transportation in the area or to the monument from the nearest towns.

Dinosaur National Monument is a spectacular 211,000-acre medium-sized park with mega-park values. Dinosaur has the most complete geologic record of any national park area and an internationally renowned display of Jurassic era dinosaur bones. The rugged landscape provides diverse habitats that support a surprisingly diverse assemblage of plants and animals and critical habitat for endangered species. The whitewater rafting and magnificent scenery found in the canyons of the Green and Yampa rivers provide premier Western boating experiences. The Yampa is the only remaining large tributary in the Colorado River system that retains its free flowing character. Dinosaur is over 90% recommended wilderness. The area receives an average of 8-10 inches of precipitation annually. Temperatures range from -20 degrees to 105 degrees. The nearby communities of Rangely, CO and Vernal, UT offer all amenities (hospital, schools, grocery, etc.). Both towns are within commuting distance (20 miles) of headquarters located in Dinosaur, CO and the Quarry visitor center located in Jensen, UT. Please visit our website at www.nps.gov/dino for more information.

The work is split between the field (30%) and office (70%). Office is located at DINO headquarters in Dinosaur, CO. Field work for this position will include 2-3 multi-day river trips on the Yampa and Green Rivers in a backcountry setting. Hazards include extreme weather conditions (hot and cold), uneven terrain, biting insects, domestic livestock, wild animals, poison ivy, and class III-IV whitewater.

Supervisor: Emily Spencer
Email: emily_spencer@nullnps.gov
Phone: (970)-629-1137

Application deadline is Sunday January 24th, 11:59 PM EST