Great Plains Pollinator Internship (PO-00735649)

Have you heard the buzz? Pollinator communities are declining globally, with many of these declines resulting from changes in habitat quality and quantity, increased pesticide use, and climate change.  Loss of pollinators can have a number of far-reaching effects on both ecosystem function as well as local economies with as many as 85% of flowing plants requiring animal or insect pollination including a wide variety of important crops. As a result of these declines, pollinators have become a relatively high priority for research and management for many agencies and conservation groups. However, the effective conservation of these species is often limited by a lack of region-specific information about community composition and the factors that influence community dynamics. 

The Southern Great Plains Ecoregion, historically, likely hosted a diverse assemblage of pollinators as a result of the extensive grasslands in the region. However, widespread conversion of grasslands to row crop agriculture and degradation of remaining grasslands resulting from intensive grazing, fire suppression, and increased herbicide usage has likely resulted in substantial losses in pollinators abundance and richness. Preliminary analysis of online databases of bee observations and datasets revealed a stark lack of information on bee communities in the Southern Great Plains Ecoregion. This is notable as this lack of information limits our ability to assess these historic losses in pollinator communities as well as limits our ability to understand the potential effects of new and ongoing threats to pollinators in the region.    

In order to reduce some of these regional knowledge gaps we would like to establish a baseline for native bees at Maxwell National Wildlife Refuge (NWR), Salt Plains NWR, Wichita Mountains NWR, Hagerman NWR, Washita NWR, Capulin National Monument, and Rita Blanca/Kiowa National Grassland during summer 2024. Following specimen collection, specimens will be processed (dried/pinned), and identified to species in 2024-2025, and a final report will be prepared in 2025.

Objectives of Internship: 

  1. Learn about native bees and produce a baseline species list of species collected at each study site in summer 2024.
  2. Produce a georeferenced database of collected bees, with GPS coordinates and date of capture for each individual specimen, as well as host plant association, where applicable.
  3. Using the database described in Objective 2, produce a database of host plants and the pollinator species they support.
  4. Report all information collected in The Bee Tool ( so information can be shared broadly and publicly

Living allowance: $400 per week
Relocation Travel Allowance: $1,100 one-time

This position qualifies for an AmeriCorps Education Award.

*All allowances are subject to applicable federal, state, and local taxes.

It is SCA’s policy that all AmeriCorps-required background checks must return cleared results prior to the position’s start; this includes being fingerprinted for the FBI check. Otherwise, the AmeriCorps award will be removed or the position’s start date will be delayed due to non-compliance.

Conditions of Employment
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Position ID: PO-00735649

Expected Dates: March 4, 2024 - March 2, 2025

Co Rd A-2
Maxwell, NM 87728

Training Provided: Specimen collection, museum specimen drying and pinning, internship training, it is possible that interns may receive UTV/ATV training and 4-wheel drive vehicle operation training if necessary for field site access.

Educational/Recreational Opportunities: Interns will be able to attend week long FWS internship training summit at our Regional Office location in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Interns will also be able to transport bees to identification sites and tour facilities.

Handicap Accessible?: No

Main Area of Focus: Wildlife Mgmt

Further Details

AmeriCorps Eligible: Eligible

Driving Logistics: Required

Vehicle will be needed to travel to town for provisions, personal needs, and recreation.

Housing or Stipend Provided?
A. Partner will provide suitable housing for the member

Shared refuge housing or similar will be made available to team members. Generally this will be a private bedroom, but other shared living spaces such as living rooms, kitchen/meal preparation areas, bathrooms, etc. 

Indoor/Outdoor: Combination

US Citizenship: Yes

Student Conservation Association