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Wetland Monitoring - Paid Summer Internship

photo of wetland interns
WSDOT Wetland Interns

Wetland Ecology and Monitoring Techniques with the Washington State Department of Transportation

Contact: Doug Littauer, Wetland Biologist. 

About 20 internship positions
are available through The Evergreen State College (TESC) for the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT), Olympia, WA.


Internship Title: Wetland Ecology and Monitoring Techniques
Position Title: Wetland Biologist Intern
Faculty Sponsor
: Dylan Fischer, Ph.D., Member of The Evergreen State College Faculty

Internship Duration: June 26 - September 7, 2017
Days/hours: Monday - Thursday, approximately 8-10 hours per day, 38 hrs/wk
Compensation: $3000.00 taxable gross income.
Prerequisites: You must enroll in the TESC summer school and pay appropriate tuition. For additional information, please see The Evergreen State College Tuition Rates web site.

Watch a short video about the internship program.

Credit options:

  • undergraduate credit:6-16
  • graduate credit: 4
Important Dates:
  • April 6: The last day applications will be accepted.
  • April 17 - April 19: Interviews dates at WSDOT in Olympia.
  • April 27: Applicants will be notified of decisions.
  • May 15: Mandatory orientation session, 2:00-5:00 PM at TESC. Internship contract forms will be completed at this time.

To Apply: The following are required:

  • An application (doc 89 kb) (computer generated or typewritten).
  • A resume.
  • A list of three references including contact information.

We prefer to receive applications via e-mail, though we accept hard copies.  Send application materials to:

Doug Littauer
WSDOT, Environmental Services
PO Box 47332
Olympia, WA 98504-7332 

Description of Internship

This internship program provides hands-on field and laboratory experience collecting and analyzing environmental data gathered from WSDOT wetland mitigation sites. We use quantitative and qualitative monitoring methods to conduct vegetation surveys. We use statistical methods to evaluate quantitative data. Most field activities focus on vegetation sampling and plant identification. We include other activities such as evaluating soils, hydrology and wildlife as time allows. Plant identification laboratory sessions, supplemental training and seminars are on the TESC campus.

Though there will be some variation in the 11-week schedule, most weeks will include three field days (7:15 A.M. to 4:30 P.M.) and one day including plant lab on the TESC campus (7:30 A.M. to 4:00 P.M.). 

Important Information
  • Some field days may be longer than planned depending on traffic and site location. We cannot guarantee a specific time of return from the field. For distant sites, travel time may be similar to field time. Some sites require overnight travel.
  • Fieldwork will be conducted despite the weather - rain or shine, heat or cold. We expect interns to be appropriately equipped for the weather.
  • Some sites present challenging field conditions, including but not limited to uneven terrain, working in water, and working around thorny or stinging vegetation.
  • Candidates must commit to participating in both field (10 hour days) and lab (8 hour days) activities Monday through Thursday for the duration of the internship (June 26 - September 7).

Candidate Selection

Students from a broad variety of backgrounds are encouraged to apply. However, we are particularly interested in students with the following skills and academic preparation: 

  • A degree in (or near completion) the natural, environmental, or biological sciences.
  • Experience in the use of a technical plant key.
  • Coursework in wetlands ecology, botany, and statistics.
  • Plant and wildlife identification skills.
Required texts and equipment (available at TESC Bookstore):
  • Flora of the Pacific Northwest (Hitchcock and Cronquist)
  • Plant Identification Terminology: An Illustrated Glossary (Harris and Harris)
  • Plant-dissecting kit: 2 probes, tweezers, razor knife (scalpel), 10X hand lens, and a 15 cm ruler (metric)
  • Knee boots (no felt soled boots allowed)

Other gear and equipment needs: We expect interns to be equipped with the following:

  • rubber knee boots (no felt soles allowed)
  • Appropriate foul weather gear
  • Folding pocket knife or a knife with a sheath for plant collection 
  • Binoculars and a bird guide (optional)

Binoculars may be available to borrow from the Science Support Center at TESC.

Evaluations will be based on yourparticipation, attendance, and performance in field and laboratory activities.