Learning In and From Our National Parks
National parks are magnificent living laboratories that show us our vast and dynamic natural world. Through our partnership with the National Park Service (NPS), Environment for the Americas, and park sites across the country, the National Park Foundation (NPF) is working to support authentic hands-on experiences in national parks through internships and career-building opportunities that highlight the participants' interests and passions, while providing parks crucial support in tackling high-priority needs.
In 2021, NPF and our partner Apple supported a group of interns from the Mosaics in Science Diversity Internship Program, administered by the NPS Geologic Resources Division in collaboration with the NPS Youth Programs Division and in partnership with Environment for the Americas. Meet and explore the work of these incredible interns who are giving back to national parks across the country through their internships.
Six years ago, I had my first adventure at the Boston Harbor Islands National Recreation Area supporting the cleanup of the Lovells Island shoreline. For years, I have been enthralled by the park and the community that calls the Boston Harbor Islands their home. Through this internship, I am helping to plant native species on the islands, remove invasive species, document invasive marine species, and educate local Boston youth about the history and natural beauty of the islands. This internship enables me to gain valuable skills to pursue a career with NPS and continue my role in protecting biodiversity.
I am a master's student at Northern Arizona University and my internship at the North Coast and Cascades Network is building my career as an environmental scientist with an emphasis on climate change mitigation and adaptation. The fields of conservation and environmental science are typically not dominated by Latinos, but as a child of two immigrants from South America with a passion for the outdoors, I had a longing to protect and conserve the natural world – including the protection of our national parks and their flora and fauna.
An undergraduate student pursuing a B.S. in Biology at the University of Guam, I draw my passion for the study and research of corals and algae from my childhood. Growing up surrounded by these ecosystems motivates me to help protect the natural resources my home island has to offer. I hope to work with organizations that play a role in protecting and understanding coral reefs, and to come back to my home island to do work that helps maintain and manage the marine systems that support the island’s communities, whether it be through social or environmental means. Through this internship at War in the Pacific National Historical Park, I am gaining new skills and solidifying previous skills gained through education.
A recent graduate from the University of Washington, my professional interests lie in natural resources. I consider myself a generalist and am drawn to a variety of topics within natural resources, including landscape scale climate change, wildlife interactions with a changing snowpack, climate education, and management and policy implications in a time of a changing climate. At Mount Rainier National Park, I am studying water resources, wildfire, and wolverines in the area. Growing up in the western Washington region, Mount Rainier has always loomed large in the skyline, giving it a special place in my heart. This research position has drawn me closer to the park, fostering new connections to places and people.
I am a second-year master’s student in the Environmental Science program at The University of Texas at El Paso. Interning at Saguaro National Park supports my background in the research of desert ecosystems and desert plant ecology. My work in community outreach helps create awareness about the environment and more opportunities to do interdisciplinary work. I enjoy the desert and genuinely admire its beauty. I am proud to represent women and the Hispanic community within STEM fields.
A recent graduate of Cornell University with a degree in Environmental Science, my internship as a Wildlife Habitat Survey Assistant at Wind Cave National Park, Mount Rushmore National Memorial, and Jewel Cave National Monument is providing me opportunities to study mammals and build upon my experience working with camera traps and Geographic Information Systems. After working a few years post-graduation, I plan to pursue a doctorate in wildlife conservation and eventually work for a conservation non-governmental organization or government agency. Mosaics in Science is helping create opportunities to pursue this goal.
My internship at North Cascades National Park is honing my skills in natural resource management. I like that this program mirrors the NPS mission of “preserving the National Park System for the enjoyment, education, and inspiration of this and future generations” by not only providing opportunities for students and recent graduates, but also by creating the opportunity for interns to inspire current and future generations from under-represented communities to venture into these areas that might seem intimidating or inaccessible to them. Working for NPS has been a lifelong dream. I see these parks as spiritual places that enable people to build a connection with nature and considers having the opportunity to work in these parks a great privilege. With this internship, I am developing skills in community outreach and contributing to making parks as accessible as possible.
Coming from Colorado, the national parks have been a cornerstone of my life and how I understand my community. As an undergraduate student pursuing degrees in journalism, economics, and ethnic studies, my long-term career goals focus on extracting information, developing multimedia communications, and finding new ways to engage public interest on issues of social importance, which all play into my passions and what drew me to apply for a science communication position. My role with the Urban Ecology Research Learning Alliance enables me to engage communities on critical topics like climate change, history, and environmental resources. My internship is helping develop my multimedia strategic communications skills and learn more about careers at NPS.
These dedicated students are providing parks with their unique skills and talents, giving back to the places that give so much to us. Through their internships, these students have also developed a lifelong connection to our national parks, helping us protect these places for generations to come. Check out our blog here to meet the interns in the HBCUI and GYF program!