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GIP Projects and Participants

GIP Projects

 The Geoscientists-in-the-Parks Program is multi-disciplinary but has a strong focus on the geosciences. The level of expertise and education required for participation varies with each project. The program focuses on college students and recent graduates.

Projects may require the following expertise:
  • air resources
  • biological resources
  • climate change science
  • geology (e.g., geomorphology, hydrogeology, paleontology, stratigraphy, geologic mapping, cave and karst science, soils, geohazards)
  • natural sounds and night skies
  • scenic resources
  • water resources
Park projects may include:
  • natural resource research
  • mapping (geology, plants, animals)
  • assessing geologic hazards
  • summarizing scientific research for park staff
  • monitoring the condition of natural resources
  • conducting natural resource inventories and field surveys
  • measuring water quality, natural soundscapes, or light emissions

  • preparing field guides and park resource overviews
  • leading interpretive talks or programs for park visitors
  • conducting viewshed analyses


Profiles of Former GIPs

Lilian Peterson

Lillian Pearson at Point Reyes National Seashore, California documenting a whale mandible fossil on Drakes Head. (NPS photo)

Lilian Peterson, Paleontology Intern, Point Reyes National Seashore, California

Lillian's GIP project was to develop strategies for long-term monitoring of rapidly eroding fossil rich exposures along the park's coastline. While doing her project, Lillian Pearson and paleontologist Robert Boessenecker discovered and collected a short-beaked dolphin that likely represents a new species of marine mammal. The specimen was discovered when Lillian was evaluating coastal exposures of fossiliferous rocks at the national seashore. Very few cetaceans (whales, dolphins and porpoises) have been described from the Purisima Formation and the recovery, preparation, and study of this specimen will provide important information on the biodiversity of marine mammals in the Pliocene age formation.




DINO interns

Thea Kinyon Boodhoo (GIP), Elliott Smith (GIP), Marie Jimenez (Mosaics in Science intern), and Trinity Stirling (GIP), Dinosaur National Monument, Utah standing on the wall of dinosaurs. (NPS photo)

Paleontologist/Quarry Mapping interns, Dinosaur National Monument, Utah

Smith, Trinity Sterling and Mosaics in Science intern, Marie Jimenez designed and built the Digital Quarry Project website and began populating it with information about the fossils found in the park's Carnegie Dinosaur Quarry, the site for which the park was created in 1915. The Digital Quarry Project is a multi-institutional, multi-disciplinary project that will put a vast amount of information on-line in a searchable format and allow people all over the world to explore the quarry and learn about its remarkable story. This was the second year of GIP involvement in this project. In 2014, GIPs took thousands of photographs of the fossils exposed on the quarry face and converted historic quarry maps to a digitized GIS compatible format. The photographs and quarry maps were used by the 2015 GIP interns to develop the website. The website will be formally launched in October 2015 as part of the park's centennial celebrations.



Sara Fulton

Sara Fulton, Bryce Canyon National Park showing the stratigraphic column she created during her internship in the park. (NPS photo)

Sara Fulton, Geology Interpreter, Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah

During her GIP internship, Sara Fulton constructed a stratigraphic column of the rock layers exposed at Capitol Reef National Park to help illustrate the sedimentary formations and geologic history of the park to local school children and park visitors. The stratigraphic column is currently displayed at the Ripple Rock Nature Center in the park. This lightweight , portable display can be used in a variety of park interpretive programs such as geology talks, porch talks, and evening programs as well as the annual GeoFest at Bryce Canyon National Park.




Amy Atwater standing next to a giant hadrosaur track, Denali National Park, Alaska. (NPS photo)

Amy Atwater and Montana Hodges, Paleontologist/GIS Technicians, Denali National Park and Preserve, Alaska

Amy Atwater and Montana Hodges worked on projects to enhance the study and public enjoyment of ichnofossils (trace fossils) at Denali National Park & Preserve, Alaska. Montana Hodges' focus was on managing and protecting the constantly growing fossil information at Denali National Park & Preserve. Montana completed a management and monitoring plan for the paleontological resources at the park, allowing professional researchers and public interest groups to access the fossils safely. Amy Atwater spent her time at the park developing a technique to identify areas that are likely to contain fossils without having to send researchers into the field.

Justin Peinado

Justin Peinado looking into a hornito, El Malpais National Monument, New Mexico. (NPS photo)

Justin Peinado, Cave Surveyor and Data Manager, El Malpais National Monument, New Mexico

Justin Peinado completed an extensive survey of the geologically significant features on the lava flows at El Malpais National Monument, New Mexico, such as the large lava tube caves. The survey required hiking on the lava flow, sometimes for five miles a day. When Justin finished his work at the end of the summer, 400 unique geological features were recorded in the park's database.



Kelly Gray

Kelly Gray measuring the width of the beginning of an unofficial trail at the Kittatinny Point Visitor Center, Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania. (NPS photo)

Kelly Gray, GIS Technician, Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area, New Jersey, Pennsylvania

Kelly Gray took on a variety of projects using Geographical Information Systems (GIS) at Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania. Kelly's main project was a survey and assessment of the impact of unofficial social trails at the Hialeah Picnic Area and Kittatinny Point Visitor Center. Kelly created a basemap of the official trails in the park to be used as a template for a new trail map for visitors.





Last Updated: October 22, 2015