2020 NARA project matches announced

By Jamila Blake

Buffalo Gap National Grassland. ©Jimmy Emerson, DVM

The Native American Research Assistantship (NARA) Program, made possible by the Premier Partner relationship between the U.S. Forest Service and The Wildlife Society, has selected Elizabeth Hotchkiss to participate this year on a research project with USFS Research & Development researchers.

This professional development program facilitates opportunities for Native American students to be mentored by USFS R&D scientists and promotes student advancement and training for careers in natural resource and conservation-related fields. Program participants provide assistance to researchers and learn about the USFS’ ecological science-based approach to decision-making and balancing multiple-use management of national forests and grasslands.

Upper-level undergraduates, graduate students and recent graduates participating in the program will each receive a stipend to help cover travel, food and housing during the assistantship.

Elizabeth is a graduating senior at California Polytechnic State University-San Luis Obispo. Over the summer she will be mentored by Brian Dickerson, a researcher at the Rocky Mountain Research Station. Together they will be working on bat surveys and greater sage-grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus) vegetation studies in the Buffalo Gap National Grassland of South Dakota.

“It is critical to work with people that bring perspectives different than our own,” Dickerson said. “The NARA program provides a way for information about how we conduct research and work with wildlife to be shared in ways that are unique. I especially like that the candidates are so well qualified and passionate about the work we do.”

Students participating in the NARA program will receive one year of free membership with The Wildlife Society and the Native People’s Wildlife Management Working Group of The Wildlife Society. The working group promotes improved relationships between state/provincial/federal wildlife managers and tribal wildlife managers through improved communications. They also provide a forum for tribal and agency wildlife professionals to discuss wildlife management on reservations and aboriginal lands and to share viewpoints on proposed policies affecting wildlife management on those lands.

As a Premier Partner of TWS, the USFS also provides funding for travel grants to Native American students to attend the TWS Annual Conference. The USFS and TWS would like to extend thanks to the scientists who submitted project proposals and to the individuals who will be mentoring the four Native American students in this year’s program.

Learn more about the Native Peoples’ Wildlife Management Working Group of The Wildlife Society.

Jamila Blake is The Wildlife Society's Professional Development Coordinator.
Read more of Jamila's articles here.

Share your thoughts on this article, and others, on our Facebook and Twitter pages.