With spring break in full swing, the seventh year of the National Park Service Academy brought 24 interns to Grand Teton to begin their journey of stewardship in the National Park Service. Students from across the country came to the park for an intensive one week program to kick-off the 2017 NPS Academy season.
It was an exciting week as participants explored career and recreational opportunities within the National Park Service while networking with other interns and park service employees. They spent time going on interpretive snowshoe hikes, meeting with various park divisions, and discussing challenges and possibilities of diversity in the park service. This season, participants experienced a rare sighting of a wolf pack in the wild. This was a first for NPS Academy and further bolstered participants’ passion to be involved in the conservation and protection of wild places.
“I’ve been studying these wild places in class for years, but this is the first time I’ve actually seen the thing I want to protect—moose, wolves, and elk,” one NPS Academy intern said.
Other critical park issues were addressed throughout the week, such as case studies on invasive mountain goats, the solar eclipse, social media engagement with millennials, and transportation and overcrowding. NPS Academy alumni from both the National Park Service and Teton Science Schools were involved with implementing this spring session. This was a first for the program and speaks to the success of NPS Academy students’ continued involvement with the park service after graduation. Leaders, mentors, and participants alike found this week to be both successful and beneficial, and look forward to continuing their service this summer.