Western Arctic National Parklands: Climate Change Effects on Cultural Resources in Northwest Alaska

NPS Unit(s): Western Arctic National Parklands(Bering Land Bridge National Preserve, Cape Krusenstern National Monument, Noatak National Preserve and Kobuk Valley National Park): Cultural Resources Program
Location: Kotzebue, Alaska
Project Title:   Climate Change Effects on Cultural Resources in Northwest Alaska
Pay: Interns will be paid $12/hour for a total of 480 hours.
Position Description: Western Arctic National Parklands (WEAR) in northwest Alaska is seeking an adventurous and physically fit individual with a background in archaeology, who is interested in participating in archaeological investigations in some of the most remote locations in the world.  Project areas are most often reached with small aircraft (wheeled and floats) and a variety of watercraft.This position often includes long workdays, hiking over rugged terrain with a 30-35 lb. backpack.  Backcountry camping for long stretches of time (10 or more consecutive days), in highly variable weather and challenging terrain is common.

The purpose of this internship opportunity is to support the Western Arctic National Parklands’ cultural resources projects to be carried out during the summer of 2013.  These will include:  A 4-6 week archaeological investigation (survey and subsurface testing) of coastal areas (coastline, barrier islands and intertidal lagoons) within the Bering Land Bridge National Preserve; and a 2-3 week archaeological investigation of the Nigu River in the Noatak National Preserve.

At the conclusion of archaeological investigations, the successful applicant will develop various social media elaborating the park’s responses to the effects of climate change on cultural resources. 

Learning goals: The candidate will learn about impacts of climate change on cultural resources and the measures that will be taken to mitigate those effects.  Additionally, the candidate will learn about how climate change influenced human behaviors and land use throughout the Holocene (beginning ~5,500 years ago).The candidate will gain a working knowledge of the prehistoric and historic lifeways of the region and how the National Park Service works to preserve these important cultural resources.
Mentoring: The cultural resources staff will provide direct supervision and appropriate training for all aspects of this internship opportunity:  including backcountry and bear safety; special use aviation safety; motorboat safety; cultural resources regulations; camp management; gear/equipment management; current archaeological practices (fieldwork and analysis), and reporting and documentation standards. 
Qualifications: The candidate must currently possess a degree in anthropology or be enrolled in an anthropology program at an accredited academic institution and completed an archaeological field school.The candidate should be technically proficient with Microsoft Office (i.e., Word, Excel, Access and PowerPoint). 
Position Dates: June 24 – September 13, 2012.  Flexible
Housing Available: Housing will be provided by the Park at no cost to the intern.  Housing types vary from houses with multiple bedrooms and shared bathroom, kitchen, living room and laundry facilities to individual studio units. 
Vehicle/License Required: The intern is not required to have a personal vehicle or a valid state driver’s license.
Work Environment: The work is a combination of office (~50%) and fieldwork (~50%). WEAR encompasses over 11 million acres in northwest Alaska, comprised of four of the most remote Park units in the National Park Service system.  The regions terrain is varied and rugged, with broad coastal plains, rolling foothills, boreal forests, alpine lakes, wild and scenic rivers and sweeping expanses of tundra.Wildlife is equally diverse, consisting of marine mammals (seals, whales and porpoises), terrestrial species such as brown bears, muskoxen, caribou and wolves, as well as a myriad of birds.

Mosquitos can be quite intense in the summer months, particularly on windless days.

Weather in this part of the world is extremely variable and often shifts quickly and without notice.  Summer days can include warm temperatures with mostly sunny skies or high winds, rain and sleet.