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2022 Resource Assistants Program Final Report

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Resource Assistants Program2022 Annual Report

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Table of ContentsExecutive SummaryAbout the Partner OrganizationsOur TeamFederal Workforce Success StoriesIntern DemographicsInternship Host SitesProject HighlightsWords from InternsAcknowledgementsAppendix І: Intern Proles567891011131415

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e RAP is a rigorous and immersive, paid internship for individuals who are interested in conservation, natural and cultural resources, environmental management, research and development, or other career opportunities with land management agencies (as dened in statute). e program emphasizes the engagement of current students, recent graduates, and underrepresented populations in natural and cultural resources work.e RAP facilitates work and learning experiences for participants, under the supervision and coaching of Forest Service sta, while contributing to mission‐critical work that demonstrates leadership, critical thinking, and strategic communication.Aer completing a minimum of 960 hours of satisfactory work as an RA and obtaining a post‐secondary degree (associate degree or higher), RAs may become eligible for the RAP noncompetitive hiring authority (Direct Hiring Authority/DHA) and receive a 2‐year certicate of eligibility. is certicate enables participants to apply to internal merit announcements for qualifying, permanent General Schedule (GS) Forest Service positions for 2 years from the date the certicate of eligibility is signed.RAs may serve over multiple years to complete the minimum 960 hours. Although there is no limit on the total number of hours RAs can work or the time period in which they can serve, RAs may not work more than 3,500 hours over a given 2‐year period.Resource Assistants Program (RAP)Resource Assistants Program 4

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Resource Assistants Program 5Executive SummaryIn 2022, the Resource Assistants Program (RAP) engaged 13 interns between two cohorts; fall and winter. Eight of these interns were hired permanently into the U.S. Forest Service or by other federal and state agencies aer their internships. RAP places interns into a variety of opportunities within the U.S. Forest Service. e program serves individuals who are interested not only in natural resource conservation, but also the preservation of cultural resources. is year, interns worked as science communication technicians, biologists, and law enforcement ocers on forests in Idaho, California, and other western states. We placed interns in some of the most distant sites than ever before. From studying rapid growth fungus at the Pacic Southwest Research Station in Hawaii to patrolling the Lolo National Forest on ride-alongs in Montana, they le their lasting impact on our public lands, while gaining some incredible experiences. Environment for the Americas supported interns by hosting personal development webinars that helped to guide them into the Direct Hire Authority process, provided instruction on how to create federal resumes, and shared ways to improve their nancial literacy skills. With their new skills and hiring status, we anticipate that these young leaders will become our next leaders in conservation!

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Resource Assistants Program 6Environment for the Americas (EFTA)Environment for the Americas is a nonprot organization that is committed to providing environmental education opportunities and materials throughout the Western Hemisphere, with the primary goal of improving public understanding of shared resources and their conservation. EFTA believes providing opportunities for youth to become involved in science and natural resource careers is key to ensuring the protection and future existence of quality public lands and wildlife habitat. EFTA is committed to increasing participation in environmental education and outdoor recreation across all demographics and has conducted research and eorts to reduce barriers to participation since 2009. www.environmentamericas.orgABOUT THE PARTNER ORGANIZATIONSU.S. Forest ServiceU.S. Forest Service administers 193 million acres of forests and grasslands in 44 states, comprising the largest amount of breeding-bird habitat under one ownership in the U.S. rough the Wings Across the Americas program, the Forest Service works with a diversity of partners to conserve migratory species (birds, butteries, bats, and dragonies) and their habitats, both domestically and internationally.

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Program ObjectivesResource Assistants Program (RAP) connects students and recent graduates to valuable opportunities to learn the science skills they need. From gathering and recording data to conducting analyses, each new tool helps interns become more condent and procient. RAP accomplishes the following:• Engage highly motivated candidates through internships under the supervision and coaching of Forest Service sta• Expand and enhance the capacity of the Forest Service to accomplish mission critical work in high priority projects• Instill stewardship values in the next generation of natural and cultural resource management professionals through career exploration and professional development • Attract and retain a diverse and inclusive workforce to support the Forest Service’s mission to “sustain the Nation’s forests and grasslands to meet the needs of present and future generations.Resource Assistants Program 7Our TeamKatherine D McTigheProgram LeadEnvironment for the AmericasSylvia StaplesUSDA National Forest Service Program Director, U.S. Forest ServiceVivian MeadeProgram AssistantEnvironment for the AmericasKatherine ShortenResource Assistant Program LeadEnvironment for the Americas

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Resource Assistants Program 8Federal Workforce Success StoriesRessource Assistants Program tracks the success of its interns. Six of the interns in Cohort three and four were hired into the USFS, and one of these used their Direct Hire Authority - Resource Assistant exibility. Lonnie JohnsonLaw Enforcement Ocer - Pleasant Grove Ranger District, Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest, UT / GS-7Permanent HiresAriel RodriguezLaw Enforcement Ocer, Sandpoint Ranger District, Idaho Panhandle National Forest, ID GS-7Kaylee Reed Law Enforcement Ocer - Truckee Ranger District, Tahoe National Forest, CA / GS-7Anthony PicoLaw Enforcement Ocer - Sierra National Forest, Clovis, CA / GS-7 Nate MunizLaw Enforcement Ocer - Caribou-Targhee National Forest, IDGS-7 Paula Silva Support Specialist - Rocky Mountain Research Station, IDGS-5/6/7 ladder Kyson Dunn Ecology Technician - Pacic Southwest Research Station, HIGS-7/8/9 ladderValeria (Val) Gonzales Program Specialist - U.S. Forest Service Recreation Fees (REMOTE)GS-9

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No 62%(8)Yes 38%(5)Resource Assistants Program 9Intern DemographicsGENDERFemale 54% (7)Male 46% (6)15%77%Master’s 15%(2)Bachelor’s 77%(10)Associate’s 8%(1)8%CURRENT EDUCATION19-25 years 69%(9)26-30 years 31%(4)31%69%AGE46%54%RACE / ETHNICITY8% (1)15% (2)AsianWhite8% (1)Black/African AmericanLatino/a, American Indian/Native AlaskanLatinoMiddle Eastern, White8% (1)46% (6)8% (1)8% (1)Asian, Native Hawaiian/Pacic Islander, WhiteFIRST GENERATIONNO62% (8)YES38% (5)

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RAP 3:◆ Cache National Forest – Ogden, UT ◆ Fishlake National Forest – Ritcheld, UT◆ Lolo National Forest – Missoula, MT◆ National Fee Program – Portland, OR◆ Sierra National Forest – Clovis, CA◆ Tahoe National Forest – Nevada City, CA◆ Tonto National Forest – Phoenix, AZ ◆ Department of Interior – Washington D.C. RAP 4:◆ Pacic Southwest Research Station – Hilo, HI◆ USDA Forest Service Southwestern Region – Albuquerque, NM◆ Rocky Mountain Research Station – Boise, ID◆ Rocky Mountain Research Station – Flagsta, AZ◆ Rocky Mountain Research Station – Rapid City, SDResource Assistants Program 10Internship Host SitesMap not to scale

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Resource Assistants Program 11Project HighlightsKaitlyn OlsonConservation Education Intern at USDA Forest Service Southwestern Region - Albuquerque, NMThe Forest Service Southwestern Region covers more than 20.6 million acres and has many diverse habitats across 11 national forests and 4 national grasslands in New Mexico, Arizona, Oklahoma, and Texas. The Forest Service works with communities to sustain southwestern forests and grasslands for ecological, social, and economic vitality. Kaitlyn Olson, a conservation education intern, works on projects to enhance the public’s appreciation of natural resources and helps to create education material for colleagues in the region. Her favorite project so far is helping to create a seed ball activity! Seed balls are a mixture of soil, clay, and seeds that are used to spread native plants. “Seed balls are used to plant seeds because they protect the seeds from the heat of the sun, from heavy winds, and from animals. We created an activity sheet, with a seed ball recipe, that could help the public make their own seed balls and to learn about the importance of native plants.” The activity sheet includes two ways to make seed balls: one using air-dry clay for classroom and home projects, and the other option using powdered pottery clay for large-scale community projects. The activity also includes a demonstration video that Kaitlyn was able to be in, along with the Forest Service’s Woodsy Owl! Check out the activity and links below.Video Link: ball Activity Links: - Air dry clay: Powdered pottery clay: "How to Make Seed Balls" instructional videoNative plants activity sheet Powdered pottery clay seed ball instructions

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Resource Assistants Program 12Project HighlightsValeria (Val) GonzalesRecreation Intern at National Recreation Fee Program – Portland, ORThe National Recreation Fee Program was established through the implementation of the Federal Lands RecreationEnhancement Act. Recreation sites charge standard amenity fees, expanded amenity fees, and more, that are managed through recreation use passes. These passes accept different methods of payment, including, but not limited to fee envelopes, online reservation systems, and visitor centers or contact stations. The recreation fees from the passes are utilized for maintenance, visitor services, and improvements to the area or site at which they are collected.Val Gonzales, a recreation intern, has been involved in many notable projects during her time working in the Resource Assistants Program. One of the projects that she is most proud of is managing a portion of the Forest Service’s Automated Fee Machine (AFM) Program. “Cash accounting is very time-consuming and also poses safety risks for forest staff. By expanding digital pass programs or installing an AFM, the forest begins to save time, money, and manpower.” The AFMs need cell service in order to charge credit cards for the fees. Val ships, tracks, and manages cell signal kits that go out into the forest so that she and her team can assess the cellular signal strength to see what kind of cell boosting is necessary for that area. The cell signal kits were updated to a lightweight version, as well as to include new daypacks for Forest Service staff when out in the field. Val also produced a new step-by-step training video on how to use the kits. Val is setting up a cell signal kit that is used to help boost signals on the Automated Fee Machine (AFM) for credit card useScreen capture of Val's AFM training video

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Words From Interns”“I am greatly thankful for Environment For the Americas, they were a great foundation to rely on and focus on my passion for working outdoors. If it wasn’t for EFTA, I wouldn’t be where I am today, and for that, I will be forever grateful.- Anthony Pico, Sierra National Forest”“Personally, participating in the Resource Assistants Program (RAP) was an experience that allowed me to connect with many research scientists in the Rocky Mountain region and play a role in supporting important conservation and restoration eorts. I wish all the best to all current and future RAP interns and EFTA interns! I hope this experience will be just as, if not more, fruitful for you as it has been for me.Paula Silva, Intern at Rocky Mountain Research Station Resource Assistants Program 13A day as a Law Enforcement Ocer for the Forest Service requires exibility. e best part of the job is not knowing what the day brings.- Ariel Rodriguez, Lolo National Forest“”One specic day that stands out to me is the day that the ocer I work with and myself drove an hour south of Moab, Utah to assist another Forest Service ocer with a disturbance of a Native American artifact burial site…It felt great to help out with an investigation that was a part of preserving cultural artifacts and to be able to work with great people. I did not plan or know what to think when the day had started, but ended up being one of the best days of this internship for me.- Nate Muniz, Fishlake National Forest”“

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◆ Cache National Forest, Utah◆ Department of Interior, Washington D.C.◆ Fishlake National Forest, Utah◆ Lolo National Forest, Montana◆ National Fee Program, Oregon◆ Pacic Southwest Research Station◆ Rocky Mountain Research Station, Arizona◆ Rocky Mountain Research Station, Idaho◆ Rocky Mountain Research Station, New Mexico◆ Rocky Mountain Research Station, South Dakota◆ Sierra National Forest, California◆ Tahoe National Forest, California◆ Tonto National Forest, ArizonaUSFS UNITS HOSTING RAP INTERNSResource Assistants Program 14Acknowledgementsis program could not have happened without the vision and dedication of our many partners.We gratefully acknowledge the work and support of the following:RECRUITING PARTNERS◆ Arizona State University◆ California State University, Chico*◆ Colorado State University ◆ Fairleigh Dickinson University*◆ Florida A&M University◆ Fort Lewis College◆ Hawaii Community College◆ Miami University ◆ Portland State University ◆ University of California Irvine*◆ University of New Mexico* ◆ University of Vermont◆ Villanova University*Hispanic Serving Institution

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Appendix IIntern ProfilesResource Assistants Program 15Nate graduated from Fairleigh Dickinson University in May 2020 with a B.A. Since the beginning of his college career, Nate has been recreating in public lands and exploring the backcountry of the U.S. He has been interested in law enforcement positions with the U.S. Forest Service for as long as he can remember. Nate cares deeply about the conservation of our natural resources on our public lands along with keeping all who visit safe. The Resource Assistants Program will help Nate with his professional goal of working with law enforcement for the U.S. Forest Service, as well as help him develop the skills to be successful in this field. Nathanael (Nate) Muniz • Fairleigh Dickinson UniversityLaw Enforcement Intern at Fishlake National Forest – Ritchfield, UTLonnie graduated from Florida A&M University in 2020 with a master’s degree in global security and international affairs after receiving his bachelor’s degree in criminal justice with a minor in political science. Lonnie has a strong interest and passion for the Resource Assistants Program because he will have the opportunity to grow professionally in this field. Lonnie enjoys building relationships with colleagues to achieve a common goal and will use this opportunity to learn as much as he can about different aspects of law enforcement, which is a professional goal of his. He believes that he will achieve this goal, among many others, during his internship with the U.S. Forest Service.Lonnie Johnson • Florida A&M UniversityLaw Enforcement Intern at Cache National Forest – Ogden, UTVal graduated from Portland State University with a bachelor’s in biology and a minor in sustainability. Since graduating college, she has been working with the U.S. Forest Service and is interested in making new connections at the Region 6 Regional Office. Val has wanted to change gears in her career and to start working in communications. She believes that this internship position with the National Recreation Fee Program in Portland will be a great fit for her. Valeria (Val) Gonzales • Portland State UniversityRecreation Intern at National Recreation Fee Program – Portland, ORAnthony graduated from University of California Irvine in 2021 with a bachelor’s in criminal law and society, and has three associates degrees specifically in criminology as well as with a law enforcement emphasis. He is passionate about law enforcement and the outdoors and would like to use the hands-on experience and knowledge from his law enforcement internship. Anthony’s professional goal is to convert to a full-time position and have a long and prosperous career with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Ever-changing day-to-day tasks is something that he has been seeking in regards to a fulfilling career. Anthony is interested in the field of law enforcement or even in the environmental field such as a fish and game warden.Anthony Pico • University of California IrvineLaw Enforcement Intern at Sierra National Forest – Clovis, CA

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Resource Assistants Program 16Ariel graduated from Fort Lewis College in 2019 with a bachelor’s in business management, minoring in environmental policy and economics. During her time, Ariel was a ROTC member and student athlete. She is a dedicated individual with five seasons of fire experience looking to advance her career as a law enforcement officer of the U.S. Forest Service. Ariel is seeking a permanent position after her internship to further her experience, responsibilities, and knowledge within the federal government, as well as to uphold laws and regulations on National Forest System lands. Ariel is highly motivated to become a valued law enforcement officer and to contribute to a safe and productive outcome for all. Ariel Rodriguez • Fort Lewis CollegeLaw Enforcement Intern at Lolo National Forest – Missoula, MTKaylee graduated from California State University, Chico with a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice and a minor in environmental studies. She is passionate about conservation and has long dreamt of becoming a park ranger and educating those around her about conservation and preservation of public lands. Kaylee values the mission of the U.S. Forest Service and is eager to begin her career with them, and to have the experience to help maintain the goals of the U.S. Forest Service. She wants to learn as much as she can during her law enforcement internship in order to help preserve and take care of our planet.Kaylee Reed • California State University, ChicoLaw Enforcement Intern at Tahoe National Forest – Nevada City, CANick graduated from Colorado State University with a bachelor’s in mathematics with a minor in economics and business administration. He has involved himself in multiple extracurriculars ranging from E-sport teams to volunteer challenges for accounting firms. Nick has had an interest in careers in government for quite some time. Nick can see himself expanding professionally and is excited to take on this opportunity, as it means a great deal to him. Even though this is the start to his professional career, he can see himself working in this field as long as he is able to. Nick would love for his financial assistant internship in Washington D.C. to lead to a permanent position with the federal government. Nicholas (Nick) Pontejos • Colorado State UniversityFinancial Assistant at the Department of Interior Washington D.C.Ruby graduated from Arizona State University with a master’s of science in biology. Her graduate research focused on the effects of climate change-related streamflow variability on stream communities across Arizona’s Sonoran Desert. Ruby looks forward to conducting field work related to aquatic and riparian areas across the Tonto National Forest as a hydrologist intern.Ruby’s professional goal is to have a career in conservation in a government agency that is science and research intensive. She would love to conduct field and lab work as part of her career, to be a public servant, and to collaborate with other people and organizations to find the best conservation methods for resources. Ruby Sainz • Arizona State UniversityHydrologist Intern at Tonto National Forest – Phoenix, AZ

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Resource Assistants Program 17Kaitlyn attended the University of Mexico and graduated in 2016 with a bachelor’s of science in biology and with a minor in earth and planetary studies. She maintained academic honors throughout her undergraduate career and graduated summa cum laude. Kaitlyn’s passion for conservation and past experiences in biology have qualified and prepared her for this position with the USDA Forest Service. Kaitlyn is interested in the Resource Assistants Program because she would love more experiences with conservation education and outreach and to improve on skills for her future career plans. Kaitlyn’s professional interests are to have a permanent position in a conservation field, perhaps with the forest service or other federal or state entity. Kaitlyn Olson • University of New MexicoUSDA Forest Service Southwestern Region – Albuquerque, NMCassidy attended college at the University of Vermont, where she graduated with a B.S. in wildlife and fisheries biology with a minor in art. Prior to this position, Cassidy completed an interpretive media internship with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service at Cabeza Prieta National Wildlife Refuge. She created a wide range of outreach projects and developed environmental education activities. Cassidy is honored to be chosen to participate in the Resource Assistants Program, and looks forward to gaining more experience working with public land management agencies. Cassidy hopes to use her communication and media production skills to share information regarding scientific research and public land management policies in a manner that is accessible, engaging, and relevant to the American public. Cassidy Motahari • University of VermontScience Communication Specialist Intern at Rocky Mountain Research Station – Flagstaff, AZKyson attended the Hawaii Community College in a directed forestry pathways program in Hilo, Hawaii. Methods, techniques, and technology involved in forest inventory were some of the focal points along the way. He would like to be a part of the Resource Assistants Program to further his involvement within the community on a professional level in helping the native forests remain intact. Knowing how important conservation work is to the land and the people helps push Kyson forward. Through this opportunity, Kyson will have the opportunity of giving back to the land in a bigger scheme of things. He hopes to acquire a position to help keep him in this field of work so he can continue to be an asset on this task of protecting the native forests of Hawaii.Kyson Dunn • Hawaii Community CollegeEcology Technician Intern at Pacific Southwest Research Station – Hilo, HIPaula graduated from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, with a bachelor of arts in environmental earth science and sustainability. Her passion for helping others and desire to make the world a better place is why Paula chose to pursue a degree in sustainability. As a first-generation college student, the notion of succeeding in her field of study remained consistent, but she unexpectedly acquired a deep reverence for nature and environmental stewardship during her time in southwestern Ohio. As an intern for the U.S. Forest Service through Environment for the Americas, Paula is presented with the opportunity to work at a research station and to assist with administrative functions. The internship will also strengthen her foundation in environmental science, while gaining experience in science communication and exposure.Paula Silva • Miami University Support Services Specialist Intern at Rocky Mountain Research Station – Boise, ID

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From the oce that is lled with smiling faces to the varying forest types of the island; I nd that this is where I want to be. Communicating with the community, old Hawaii vibes, walking among the native plants, and trudging through the thickets of invasive plants leave me feeling excited for the job ahead.Kyson Dunn Pacic Southwest Research StationResource Assistants Program 18Philip graduated from Villanova University in 2021 with a B.S. in biology and a minor in geography. Philip was vice president of Men’s Club Basketball, a practice player for the women’s basketball team, and a member of Alpha Phi Omega and Phi Beta Kappa. His interest in coastal and marine science led him to apply for a Fulbright grant to the Philippines, which he was rewarded, but has been delayed for an indefinite period of time due to COVID-19.As a biological science technician at the Rocky Mountain Research Station, Philip will learn and grow as a young scientist. He is excited to explore a grassland ecosystem that he is unfamiliar with and learn more about conservation and ecosystem management under a USDA Forest Service Research Station. Philip Yang • Villanova UniversityBiological Sciences Technician Intern at Rocky Mountain Research Station – Rapid City, SDI designated a desk in my oce for the insect identication and have plans to write a ‘How To’ for both eld work (collecting the insects) and the lab work (identication and storage) for people to follow once my internship is over. I am really excited to use my insect identication skills and to learn the eld methods on a project that is only getting bigger! Ruby Sainz Tonto National Forest

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