Students selected for 2022 Native American Research Assistantship Program

The Native American Research Assistantship Program, made possible by the Premier Partner relationship between the U.S. Forest Service and The Wildlife Society, has selected two students to participate this year in research projects with USFS Research & Development scientists.

This professional development program facilitates opportunities for Native students to be mentored by USFS research and development 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.

Sabrina Sanchez

Students participating in the program will each receive a stipend to help cover travel, food and housing during the assistantship as well as opportunities to present their research at natural resources conferences.

Two students have been selected for research assistantships, which will last for approximately 12 weeks.

Sabrina Sanchez, from Texas State University, will work with Serra Hoagland on long-term monitoring of treated and untreated Mexican spotted owl (Strix occidentalis lucida) territories on tribal lands in New Mexico. This project will build upon existing occupancy and reproduction datasets from Mescalero Apache tribal lands with the goal of reducing fire risk and threats to Mexican spotted owl habitats.

Antoinette Shirley, from Michigan State University, will work with Stephen Handler, Rachel Tarpey, Erin Johnston and Pam Nankervis in Michigan on a collaborative project on white-tailed deer—or waawaashkeshi—habitat and forest sustainability on Keweenaw

Antoinette Shirley

Bay Indian Community lands. This project will gather information about the role and location of deer to help the tribe make decisions about the tradeoffs between forest health and wildlife management.

The Native People’s Wildlife Management Working Group of The Wildlife Society also provides educational and networking opportunities. The working group is grateful for the support of Native students interested in wildlife biology and management.

As a Premier Partner of TWS, the U.S. Forest Service also provides funding for travel grants to Native 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 in this year’s NARA cohort.

Header Image: Stephen Handler leads a climate change risk activity on the reservation of the Bad River Band of Lake Superior Chippewa in Odanah, Wisconsin. Credit: Courtesy Stephen Handler