Scientists in Parks Fellow - Muir Woods

Hiring Organization: National Park Service
Employment type: Internship
Job Location: Sausalito, CA
Application Deadline: January 24, 2021


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 internships 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.


Monitoring and managing Endangered Forest Species in Muir Woods and surrounding GGNRA parklands
(Apply by Sunday, January 24th)


Golden Gate National Recreation Area and Muir Woods National Monument
Sausalito, CA


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.


This project will provide the SIP Fellow with a strong basis in wildlife management, endangered species monitoring, and the Section 7 consultation process with USFWS. In 2018, MUWO and GOGA initiated several large construction projects under the Redwood Renewal Initiative. Under terms of a Biological Opinion with USFWS for the Redwood Renewal projects, the park must monitor the federally threatened northern spotted owl and inventory for the federally threatened marbled murrelet.  An additional requirement was to inventory for barred owls, which are one of the primary threats to the persistence of spotted owls. This position will provide support for and then lead elements of this required monitoring. The SIP Fellow will manage data into project databases and ArcGIS maps.  The SIP Fellow will develop a summary report that will be the basis of 2021 reporting to USFWS for the Redwood Renewal project.

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



In 2018, MUWO and GOGA initiated several large construction projects under the Redwood Renewal Initiative. Under terms of a Biological Opinion with USFWS for the Redwood Renewal projects, the park must monitor the federally threatened northern spotted owl and inventory for the federally threatened marbled murrelet.  An additional requirement was to inventory for barred owls, which are one of the primary threats to the persistence of spotted owls. Primary position objectives: Train a diverse candidate for a biologist or resource manager position with NPS; Provide support and ultimately lead required monitoring for spotted owls, marbled murrelets, and barred owls; Gain an understanding of California coastal forest ecosystems and protecting endangered species. Duties: Through training and reading documents become familiar with the Biological Opinion for the Redwood Renewal projects, as well as the Section 7 consultation process; Through training and reading protocols, become familiar with monitoring programs for spotted owls, marbled murrelets, and barred owls; Provide support and then lead spotted owl surveys. Manage and enter data; Provide support and then lead both shore-based surveys and acoustic monitoring for marbled murrelets.  Manage and enter data; Provide support and then lead barred owl surveys.  Manage and enter data; Through training learn how to enter data into databases and map detection locations in ArcGIS; Meet at least weekly with a mentor; Attend biweekly GOGA Natural Resource Division meetings; Develop a summary report of work performed, including monitoring conducted, including the previous three years; Develop a presentation for the Natural Resources Division on monitoring conducted, including the previous three years; Help develop project outreach materials, including at least one social media post; Some opportunities will be provided to learn techniques and support other projects including using remote wildlife cameras and coyote radio telemetry; Update resume and learn about the federal hiring process. Skills developed through this position: Learn how to be an NPS professional both in the office and in the field; Learn about Section 7 process with USFWS; Learn about how to monitor endangered birds; Field equipment training: songmeter acoustic monitoring, using GPS and Avenza maps, wildlife cameras, and wildlife telemetry; Report writing and developing outreach materials; Professional development and guidance including updating a resume, advice on federal hiring, and networking support.


Intern will enter and error check all data into a park database. Intern will update project species maps and monitoring locations in ArcGIS. Intern will develop a summary report on monitoring work in relation to the last three years, and will develop a presentation for our Natural Resources Division staff. Intern will support updating project and species outreach materials, and develop at least one social media post. Intern will update resume.


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:

  • Be in good academic standing, studying ecology, biology, wildlife, or a related field
  • Have a strong interest in wildlife monitoring and management
  • Possess the ability to communicate and write effectively
  • Possess the ability to work independently on multiple complex tasks
  • Possess the ability to work in remote and rugged terrain off established trails in a variety of weather conditions

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.


This position will work with me as a supervisor and two other terrestrial wildlife biologists.  We will have a robust orientation to the park and our work expectations.  We will provide training for monitoring protocols in the field, and once the SIP Fellow shows proficiency they will be given leadership of more tasks.  I will meet with the SIP Fellow at least weekly during the position.  This will likely be a lot more, as I am will be training them on some of the monitoring elements.  The SIP Fellow will spend a lot of time with the other biologists too.  In addition, we will have weekly wildlife team check-ins that the SIP Fellow will attend.  The SIP Fellow will attend biweekly Natural Resources Staff Division meetings.  We will introduce our SIP Fellow to other fellows to add to their “social network”.  There is the possibility that SIP Fellow will have a few work swap days, where groups of them attend other fellow’s projects.  We will also introduce the SIP Fellow to other partner agency resource managers at a few partnership meetings to add to networking opportunities – also many of our fellows go on to get jobs with our partners before hopefully returning to work for the NPS.  I will work on providing SIP fellows with background on NPS mission and management policies and making sure they know what we do in our Natural Resources Division.  There will be opportunities to read and discuss the Redwood Renewal Biological Opinion, monitoring protocols, and scientific papers. For report writing, I will work with SIP fellows on an outline, tables, and figures, and help them revise several drafts.  Then I will help the SIP Fellow develop and practice their presentation to the staff.  


Approximate start date of position: 5/2/2021
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 provides a travel stipend to all fellows to supplement the cost of student travel to the park site.

Due to Covid-19, the park is not letting fellows use dormitory spaces. This could change by next spring, but for right now, we cannot commit to having park housing for this position. Marin County and San Francisco is an expensive place to live in. The SIP Fellows program provides a housing subsidy to the intern, when necessary. There are options for shared housing that are more affordable.  There should be numerous opportunities for this. 


The Golden Gate National Recreation Area encompasses about 84,000 acres in the San Francisco Bay Area.  Most work for this position will be at the Marin Headlands, Muir Woods, and the Muir Beach Area in Marin County, just north of San Francisco. Office work will be at Fort Cronkhite, by Rodeo Beach, as the Marin Headlands. Parklands encompass a variety of ecosystems ranging from marine and intertidal, to sandy beaches, dunes, coastal scrub, hardwood and conifer forests, among others.  Elevations range from sea level to about 2,300 feet. The park has a Mediterranean climate with winters and dry summers. The Pacific Ocean and San Francisco Bay and associated fog moderate temperatures. Work will be about 30% office and 70% fieldwork. Field sites are close in and most can be reached in 15 to 20 minutes.  Towns are always close by and San Francisco is about 20 minutes over the Golden Gate Bridge.


Supervisor: Bill Merkle
Phone: (415)-755-3307

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