Wetlands ecology & monitoring techniques internship

Find information about the Wetlands Ecology and Monitoring Techniques Internship on this page.

About the internship

Several internship positions are available each summer through The Evergreen State College (TESC) for Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) in Olympia, Washington. This internship program provides hands-on field experience. Interns collect and analyze environmental data gathered from WSDOT wetland compensatory mitigation sites.

Most field activities focus on vegetation sampling and plant identification. Interns use quantitative and qualitative monitoring methods to conduct vegetation surveys. They use statistical methods to evaluate quantitative data. The internship includes other activities such as evaluating soils, hydrology and wildlife, as time allows.

Most weeks include three field days (M-W 7:15 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.) and one half-day instructional day (Th 7:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.), though some variation occurs in the 11-week schedule. The training and learning opportunities that we usually offer on campus are subject to ever changing COVID-19 restrictions.

Watch a short YouTube video on WSDOT's Wetland Ecology and Monitoring Techniques Internship program.​​​

Position Title: Wetland Biologist Intern

Internship Duration: June 24 to Sept. 5, 2024

Days/hours: Monday through Wednesday: approximately 8-10 hours/day, and Thursday: approximately 4 hours, up to 34 hours/week

Prerequisites: You must enroll in TESC summer school and pay appropriate tuition. For additional information, please see The Evergreen State College tuition rates website. Financial assistance may be available to those who qualify.

Credit options: 6-16 undergraduate or 4 graduate

Compensation: $4,500 taxable gross income (You pay tuition; we provide this payment to help support costs.)

Contact: Sean Patrick, Sean.Patrick@wsdot.wa.gov, Wetland Monitoring Manager, WSDOT

Faculty Sponsor: Lalita Calabria, Ph.D., Member of TESC Faculty

How to apply

Submit the following required materials by April 4, 2024, to Sean Patrick, Sean.Patrick@wsdot.wa.gov:

Dates to remember

  • April 4: Applications due to WSDOT
  • April 15 to April 18: Interviews (in person or virtual)
  • April 25: We notify applicants of decisions
  • June 24: Internship begins

Candidate selection

We encourage students from a broad variety of backgrounds to apply. 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.

COVID-19 safety

We will follow restrictions put in place by TESC and the Governor’s Office to ensure everyone stays safe and healthy. We have worked closely with the state Department of Health, the Governor’s Office, Labor & Industries and the state Emergency Management Division since January 2020 to ensure all employees and the public that we interact with stay safe and healthy.

Expectations & working conditions

Candidates must commit to participating in both field (10 hours) and instruction (4 hours) activities Monday through Thursday for the entire internship (June 24 to Sept. 5). We evaluate interns based on participation, attendance and performance in field and instructional activities.

Some field days may extend longer than planned depending on traffic and site location. We can't guarantee a specific time of return from the field but try to return by 4:30 p.m.

We conduct fieldwork despite the weather—rain or shine, hot or cold. We expect interns to be appropriately equipped for the weather conditions.

Some sites present challenging field conditions, including but not limited to uneven terrain, working in water and working around poisonous and harmful plants.

Required texts & equipment

Interns need the following texts and equipment listed below before the first day of service: 

  • Rubber knee boots (no felt soles allowed)
  • Appropriate field clothes (rain gear, sturdy pants, etc.)

Optional equipment:

  • Folding pocketknife or a knife with a sheath for plant collection
  • Hip waders (no felt soles allowed)
  • Binoculars and a bird guide (binoculars may be available to borrow from the Science Support Center at TESC).

Slow down on ice and snow.

It's easier to skid or lose control traveling at higher speeds. Give yourself more time to stop.

Carry chains, practice installing them.

Winter conditions could mean chains are required on your route. Practice putting them on your vehicle ahead of time.

Pack your winter car kit.

Carry extra supplies like warm clothing, ice scraper and brush, jumper cables and other emergency items.