Job Type: Paid Internship
Salary Details: $640/week + housing
Deadline: Jan 22, 2023
Start Date: May 1, 2023
End Date: July 24, 2023

Position Description
San Juan Island National Historical Park (SAJH) is seeking an Island Marble Butterfly (IMB) Conservation Project Intern. The individual will work under the Division of Resources Stewardship and the primary responsibilities will be conservation of the island marble butterfly (Euchloe ausonides insulanus). The IMB is considered the most endemically restricted butterfly in North America and is a striking white butterfly with a green and yellow marbling pattern on its wings. It is a subspecies of the large marble butterfly and is a recently listed endangered species that was thought to have gone extinct but was “rediscovered” in 1998. After rediscovery, several populations were found on San Juan Island and Lopez Island. Since then, those populations have declined and are limited to a single location within the American Camp Unit of the park. After years of research, the butterfly was listed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service as an endangered species in 2020.

The individual selected for the internship will work with NPS staff and resource experts.

The primary responsibilities will be to: 

  • Monitor 2022 pupae for emergence and release adult butterflies;

  • Collect eggs from designated areas in the field;

  • Daily monitoring of larvae in the lab for health and life stages, and transferring to new host plant cuttings from the nursery;

  • Install and maintain deer fences that protect IMB habitat and participate in habitat enhancement/improvement projects;

  • Conduct adult transect surveys to track population trends for IMB;

  • Maintain native plant nursery;

  • Native plant mapping and seed collection and

  • Data entry and analysis. A secondary component of this position will be outreach related. Activities may include providing content for the Park’s website detailing on-going activities and collaborating with Interpretative staff to develop appropriate media related to IMB conservation and other imperiled and rare species of interest. Other projects the intern may aid in are surveys for Propertius Duskywing butterfly, sand verbena moth, sharp-tailed snake, osprey, bald eagle, bats, stream monitoring, and other resource monitoring tasks as assigned.

Work Products
The internship will result in the following deliverables: 

  • Rearing of approximately 100 healthy butterflies to pupae stage, to be released in the spring of 2024.

  • Releasing approximately 120 newly emerged butterflies from the 2022 season. 

  • Conducting surveys for a variety of rare species.

  • GIS mapping of various plant and animal species.

  • Producing content for the park social media sites describing the status of IMBs and on-going activities.

  • Data entry in IMB databases of lab and survey information collected throughout the season. 

  • Constructing and deconstructing deer exclosures around butterfly habitat.

Intern Qualifications
Applicant must be at least an undergraduate in a university/college and be majoring in natural resources (such as biology, ecology, entomology, animal husbandry, botany, and/or agriculture). Previous field research and familiarity with Pacific Northwest native and non-native ecology (plants and/or animals) is desirable, but not a requirement. A desire to learn about the entomology, native plants, and natural history of the San Juan Islands is required. Experience with mapping on GIS, basic map reading, and GPS collection skills is desirable. Applicants must be comfortable hiking for 2-6 miles per day and lifting up to 40 pounds. The participant should be able to work well in groups (2-6 people), and independently, both in the office and in the field, with little supervision.

Natural & Physical Environment
Located between Victoria, B.C. and Bellingham, WA, San Juan Island is situated at the heart of the Salish Sea. Serviced by ferries from Anacortes, WA, the island is beautiful and known for outdoor recreation ranging from hiking to whale watching, kayaking, and biking. The town of Friday Harbor, where the Park’s Administrative headquarters is located, is on the east side of the island and has many restaurants, shops, bars, museums, grocery stores, and a hospital.

During summer the town is bustling. Days are long and temperatures rarely climb above 85°F. In the winter, it rarely freezes and there is frequent rain, though not as much as the rest of the Northwest. The island is covered by scenic farms and forests and is rich in fresh air and beautiful vistas. There is a winery, lavender farm, farm stands, and parks. It takes an hour to drive around the island, unless you stop for whale watching!

The intern will work primarily at American Camp (AC), on the south end of the island. The position will be 50% field, 40% lab, 10% office. Hiking distances will range from 2-6 miles on survey days. Terrain is uneven, but mild in elevation. The most common hazards are trips, twists, and falls. Hydration is important during survey days as they can be long and will require walking up to 2-6 miles in an open prairie with little to no shade.

The butterfly lab is located at AC and has views of the nursery and sea. Lab days require working indoors engaged in careful observation and note-taking. The intern is rarely alone, but tasks are often autonomous. The office is divided by cubicles and the intern may share a workspace. 


  • A mandatory Professional Development Workshop will be held in Washington, D.C. from July 31 – August 4, 2023.

  • Car is recommended

  • The Mosaics in Science Program seeks to engage ethnically and racially diverse young professionals in natural resource careers

  • Must be a U.S. citizen or legal resident.

  • All interns must be fully vaccinated for Covid-19 prior to the start of their internship.

For more information and to apply: