About Ecology Project International:
EPI is an international non-profit organization dedicated to addressing critical conservation issues through field-based partnerships between local experts and high school students. We engage adolescent youth from local communities and visiting youth from other regions in applied hands-on science and conservation as they learn about and help protect threatened species and habitats. Through EPI’s programs in five countries throughout the U.S. and Latin America, teens are inspired and empowered to engage in conservation efforts at home and worldwide to become the next generation of conservation leaders. More information can be found at www.epiyellowstone.org.
Description of Program:
The Bitterroot Wildlife Internship (BWI) program is a partnership between Ecology Project International (EPI) and MPG Ranch to offer a unique experience for high school students that combines ecological education, conservation service, and hands-on field research at the MPG Ranch in Florence, Montana from June-August. Each month-long session will be comprised of six interns. Interns will be paired with MPG staff members or MPG-affiliated partners to engage in ongoing research, service, or outreach projects, and answer their own related research question. EPI has offered the Bitterroot Wildlife Internship program in conjunction with MPG Ranch since 2014.
MPG Ranch spans over 15,000 acres of conservation property in Montana’s Bitterroot Valley and stewards large, undeveloped landscapes for wildlife habitat and the enjoyment of future generations. MPG conducts research and collaborates with other local organizations and researchers that design and implement outreach and public education events. MPG researchers specialize in restoration and ecology and seek new ways to restore lands affected by invasive weeds, herbicide use, and other land management practices. From educational tours of the ranch to teaching college courses in genetics to mentoring interns, MPG seeks to inspire and train the next generation of scientists to protect landscapes.
Ecology Project International (EPI) is hiring two field instructors to mentor and deliver academic content for 12 Bitterroot Wildlife Internship program interns this summer. Interns and instructors will spend Sunday afternoon-Thursday of each week at the ranch completing conservation service projects (approximately 10hrs/week), conducting ecological research (approximately 16hrs/week), and learning about the Bitterroot Valley’s ecosystem (approximately 6 hrs/week). Instructors and interns will camp in a designated campsite on the ranch Sunday-Thursday. Conservation projects on the ranch might include fence repair or removal, invasive species mitigation, seed collection, native plantings, or similar work. Potential research involvement includes avian, soil, plant, ungulate, and insect projects. Instructors will also provide interns with the opportunity to build Leave No Trace awareness, develop wildlife observation skills, and hone their nature journaling abilities. The instructors are responsible for student supervision and rigorous risk management while delivering the field experience.
Because of the diversity of BWI participants (and of MPG and EPI staff), it is also important that field instructors have the skills to address implicit bias and be culturally responsive in interactions with participants and co-workers. Instructors are also empowered to identify ways in which we can enhance inclusivity in planning and implementing our program.
• Provide and lead a positive experience for BWI interns in the field.
• Promote and ensure an inclusive and high quality learning/living environment.
• Plan, lead, and instruct quality experiential environmental education lessons to a diverse group of interns.
• Be sensitive to the health and welfare of all participants and meet their developmental needs.
• Participate in all staff development sessions throughout the season including staff training, staff meetings, staff retreats, and feedback/evaluation forms.
• Provide feedback to and receive feedback from co-instructors and program staff, and effectively integrate feedback into work.
• Oversee and/or lead research activities in accordance with research protocols.
• Lead conservation service projects in accordance with risk management protocols.
• Establish and maintain clear communication with interns, partners, co-instructor, and EPI staff.
• Mentor interns’ planning and completion of independent research projects.
• Effectively manage logistical challenges and emergencies on course.
• Respond to medical emergencies and provide appropriate first aid following EPI’s medical protocols and according to your level of training.
• Conduct all intern activities with rigorous attention to risk management.
• Understand, model, monitor, and enforce EPI/MPG policies and protocols.
• Promptly and accurately complete and file required program paperwork.
• Drive EPI/MPG vehicles in accordance with policy to transport students and gear.
• Show and maintain a positive attitude.
• Keep internship gear and vehicles organized, clean, and in good working order.
• Other duties as assigned.
Schedule and Location:
• Instructors will attend an intern/researcher meeting at EPI’s Missoula office on the evening of May 6th.
• Instructors are required to attend 5 days of instructor training in late May/early June.
• Instructors will work approximately 53 days during the season:
o Instructors will lead two intern sessions (June 14th - July 9th and July 19th - August 13th) at MPG Ranch in the Bitterroot Valley. In addition, instructors will work at least four hours in EPI’s Missoula office each Friday during the intern sessions.
o There will be Missoula office work days between sessions and after the second session.
o Instructors will help deliver an end of season symposium in downtown Missoula on August 20th.
• Room and board while in the field with interns Sunday - Thursdays.
• $105/day for Monday-Thursday field days and $50 for Sunday field days. Instructors will be expected to work at least four hours in EPI’s Missoula office on Fridays, and this office-based work will be paid at $10.00/hour.
• Access to discounts with popular outdoor gear retailers.
• Bachelor's degree in biology, ecology, environmental education, natural resource management, or related field; OR equivalent experience
• Proven experience with field teaching and outdoor leadership with young adults;
• Enthusiasm for leading students in semi-remote areas;
• Field research experience in wildlife, botany, or hydrology;
• Experience and prior success working well on a small team in a dynamic and changing work environment;
• Experience and skill camping and ability to teach outdoor living skills;
• Must be physically fit and capable of participating in intense physical labor including, but not limited to: ability to lift 50 pounds, spend 8-10 hours a day in all weather conditions (e.g., sun, heat, wind, cold, snow, etc.) and hike up to 5 miles a day with a day pack and equipment, ability to conduct repetitive hand and arm motions, and able to maneuver in tight spaces, including bending and kneeling;
• Valid driver’s license with insurable driving record;
• Current Wilderness First Responder and CPR certifications;
• Minimum 21 years of age;
• Legally able to work in the US;
• English fluency.
• Field research experience within the Bitterroot Valley or surrounding areas;
• Knowledge and familiarity with the MPG Ranch;
• Curriculum development experience;
• Leave No Trace trainer or master educator certification;
• Master's degree in related field.