Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks: Phenology Intern: Engaging students through interactive webpages

NPS Unit: Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks
Location: Three Rivers, California
Project Title:   Phenology Intern:  Engaging students through interactive webpages
Pay: Interns will be paid $12/hour for a total of 480 hours.
Position Description: Sequoia National Park is one of seven pilot parks participating in the California Phenology Project –C.P.P 3-year pilot to create tools and infrastructure to support long-term phenological monitoring and public education activities.  Currently, park staff is monitoring a series of plants in the foothills and mountain areas of Sequoia National Park.  The education team presents a series of plant phenology programs to local fifth and sixth grade students called, Student Phenologists Researching Oaks to Understand Trees and Science, SPROUTS.  There are two web cameras or pheno-cams located in the foothills broadcasting current conditions and recording tree cycles.  This intern’s focus will be to develop a photo diary of webcam data to include temperature and precipitation as well as develop web-based education programs and interfaces to increase educational opportunities.

Plant phenology refers to the timing of events such as flowering and leaf-out and is closely linked to climate.  Phenology monitoring provides important information to managers on how ecosystems are responding to climate change.  In addition, phenology monitoring is easily accomplished by students and people from all walks of life.  Because of this, it provides an ideal venue to engage students in climate change challenges in our National Parks and the Central Valley of California.  Student phenologists use science based monitoring to contribute to the National Park Service priorities that engage students in outside activities that build on scientific literacy and advancing climate change science.

The intern will work with the division of Resource Management and Interpretation to gain an in-depth understanding of plant phenological monitoring, protocols and its connection to NPS Climate Change Response Program.  The intern will develop the photo timeline for the interactive phenology website.  This webpage will be an introduction to phenological monitoring, the CPP, Project Budburst and local climate change challenges that affect national parks and their local communities while serving as a test pilot for advancing phenology web based education.   Additional webpages may be created to link to climate change education and current resource strategies these parks are engaged in to further student and general public understanding and appreciation of climate change management strategies.

Learning goals: The intern will learn about plant phenology and how phenology is linked to broader issues of climate change and its ecological impacts.  At the park-level, the intern will learn about the local plant communities and how climate change affects specific plants.  He/she will learn how to monitor and record phenological data, assist in education programs and be exposed to various monitoring activities.  In addition he or she will gain experience creating and collaborating with other disciplines in these parks.  The intern will interact with interpreters, botanists, resource managers, educators and more to promote and engage audiences in phenology education.  This will allow him or her to understand how these different entities can work together to communicate climate change issues to students and communities.

Tasks that intern will be responsible for include:

  • Developing web-based framework for phenology education pages.
  • Field testing web-based pages with different education groups and situations (students, teachers, volunteers, and general public).
  • Intern will assist in the development of phenology education pages such as pre/post lesson plans for schools to be displayed on the website.
Mentoring: The intern will be supervised by the Sequoia South District Interpreter and work with the Plant Ecologist in specific phenological monitoring.  The intern will also work with the education and volunteer branches, supervised by the same district interpreter.  Mentoring will include participating in the NPS Interpretive Development Program, Eppley Interpretive training and shadowing educators in the classroom and field education programs.  Interns will be exposed to phenological monitoring and learn how to use those monitoring skills to teach others.  There may be other educational opportunities as they arise.
  • The intern should be enrolled in or have completed a four year degree program with a focus in web graphics and have a strong interest in environmental science, botany, parks and recreation management, or environmental education.
  • Adobe Flash, Adobe Illustrator, Adobe Image Styler, Adobe, PhotoShop, DreamWeaver, Animation, GIF animations, Graphic Designing Skills, HTML Coding,
  • Must have a clear understanding of  HTML coding with the ability to develop and update webpages.


Position Dates: The dates for the internship are flexible, but ideally the intern would start the beginning of March 2013 and work 12 weeks from then.  This will allow them to work for part of the school year and have students and teachers evaluate the webpages.
Housing Available: Shared seasonal housing is available free of cost for interns. Married housing is not available. Pets and smoking are not allowed in seasonal housing.
Vehicle/License Required: Vehicle is preferred since there is very little public transportation, though not required.
Work Environment: The work would be a mixture of office (80%) and field based (20%) and might include a variety of weather conditions including rain, heat and cold.  The intern is expected to work Monday-Friday 8:00am-4:30pm. Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks are affected by poor regional air quality in the summer and fall months.  This position is stationed in the foothills area of Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks where winters are mild and summers can regularly reach over one hundred degrees.