Environmental Field School

The Environmental Field School is a combined academic and internship program. Selected participants enroll for academic credit, are placed to work full-time in National Parks and National Forest units for 8-10 weeks over the summer, and then complete a major research paper on an approved topic of their choice related to pressing social or natural science challenges faced by the unit.

Tasks and projects vary between placements, but have recently included:

  • back country ranger duties
  • developing citizen science platforms
  • alpine hydrology
  • wetlands restoration
  • prairie ecology
  • fire management
  • managing invasive species
  • facilitating dam removals
  • monitoring brown bear behavior
  • and more

Housing is typically provided on site, and start and end dates of the placements are coordinated with the student and National Park or Forest.

In recent years, sites included the following federal units:

  • Katmai NP in Alaska
  • Ashley NF in Utah
  • Mammoth Cave NP in Kentucky
  • Golden Gate NRA in California

Contact Dr. Trish Beddows, Director of the Environmental Field School for more information: patricia@earth.northwestern.edu.