USDA-FS Fellowship on Federal-Tribal Public Land Management

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)

Seattle, Washington

Job Type Paid Internship
Salary Details The participant will receive a monthly stipend commensurate with educational level and experience.
Deadline Aug 02, 2024

*Applications will be reviewed on a rolling-basis.

USDA Forest Service Office/Lab and Location: 

This fellowship is available with the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) Forest Service (FS), Rocky Mountain Research Station, Aldo Leopold Wilderness Research Institute (ALWRI) located in Missoula, MT. The ALWRI is the only federal research group in the United States dedicated to development and dissemination of knowledge needed to steward the nearly 112-million acre U.S. National Wilderness Preservation System (NWPS), and similarly protected wild lands. The fellow may participate remotely, with a location of Missoula, MT or Seattle area, WA preferred. 

The USDA Forest Service's mission is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of the Nation’s forests and grasslands to meet the needs of present and future generations. The Forest Service manages a system of 154 national forests and 20 national grasslands in 44 States and Puerto Rico. These lands encompass 193 million acres, an area almost twice the size of California. They have some of the richest resources and most breathtaking scenery in the world, as well as drinking water for millions of Americans; these lands also help create or maintain hundreds of thousands of jobs. Impacts from climate change, extreme weather, and other disturbances—along with changing human demands—challenge our ability to ensure that ecosystems are healthy, resilient, and thus more adaptable to changing conditions.

To advance the mission, the USDA Forest Service: works in collaboration with communities and partners; provides access to resources and experiences that promote economic, ecological, and social vitality; connects people to the land and one another; and delivers world-class science, technology and land management.

Research Project: Around the country, high-use urban-proximate wilderness areas struggle to meet management objectives for visitation, biodiversity conservation, and tribal treaty rights and trust responsibilities. An ORISE fellow will support an ongoing, multi-method research project to inform and improve wilderness management of the Alpine Lakes Wilderness outside of Seattle, Washington, in particular by learning more about Tribal viewpoints of wilderness and wilderness management and identifying opportunities to inform management approaches through a multi-partner collaborative (the Alpine Lakes Collaborative). In particular, the fellow will:

  • Assist with workshops (planning and implementing) focused on relationships between tribal communities and federal land management agencies. Specifically, workshops will focus on tribal views of public lands, the process of government-to-government consultation, and the process of engaging in broader collaborative efforts when multiple parties are involved.
  • Support in data analysis and interpretation, collaborating closely with Tribal partners to ensure credibility and trustworthiness of research findings, while upholding data sovereignty according to agreements
  • Identify opportunities to improve Tribal representation and perspectives in land management collaborative processes
  • Assist with qualitative data analysis of existing data focused on land management collaborative processes. 
  • Develop relationships and collaborate closely with people from a variety of backgrounds and institutions including USFS tribal liaisons, USFS managers and planners, government and non-government researchers, and government representatives within tribal governments. 
  • Write-up results in scientific and popular outlets to share lessons learned with a wider audience and to advance knowledge about multi-party collaboration, Tribal perspectives on land, and urban-proximate wilderness management

Learning Objectives: 

  • Learn about the challenges of wilderness management in an urban proximate context, including for meeting the mandates of the Wilderness Act and other federal orders of land management, Traditional Ecological Knowledge, and diversity, equity, and inclusion, whilst upholding Tribal sovereignty, Tribal treaty rights, and the trust responsibility.
  • Enhance collaborative skills by participating as a member of a multidisciplinary team of research scientists, Tribal relations specialists, land managers, natural resource specialists from federal and state agencies, universities, and non-profit organizations. 
  • Strengthen their research, analysis, and writing skills in centering Indigenous knowledge in wilderness management projects.
  • Enhance their communication skills through participating in workshops and creating presentations for local and national conferences.
  • Develop familiarity with science co-production in the social science realm, engaging across governments, NGOs, and other groups to ensure applied and actionable outcomes.

Mentor: The mentor for this opportunity is Christopher Armatas (christopher.armatas@usda.gov). If you have questions about the nature of the research, please contact the mentor.

Anticipated Appointment Start Date: September 9, 2024.  Start date is flexible and will depend on a variety of factors.

Appointment Length: The appointment will initially be for one year but may be extended upon recommendation of USDA Forest Service and is contingent on the availability of funds.

Level of Participation: The appointment is full time.

Participant Stipend: The participant will receive a monthly stipend commensurate with educational level and experience. 

Citizenship Requirements: This opportunity is available to U.S. citizens and Lawful Permanent Residents (LPR) only.

ORISE Information: This program, administered by ORAU through its contract with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to manage the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE), was established through an interagency agreement between DOE and USDA Forest Service. Participants do not become employees of USDA, USDA Forest Service, DOE or the program administrator, and there are no employment-related benefits. Proof of health insurance is required for participation in this program. Health insurance can be obtained through ORISE.

Questions: Please visit our Program Website. After reading, if you have additional questions about the application process please email  ORISE.USFS.RMRS@orau.org and include the reference code for this opportunity.


The qualified candidate should be currently pursuing or have received a master's or doctoral degree in the one of the relevant fields (e.g. within the conservation social sciences). Degree must have been received within the past four years, or anticipated to be received by 5/30/2025.

Preferred skills:

  • Preference will be given to applicants with experience with Tribes and/or indigenous communities, Traditional Ecological Knowledge / Indigenous Knowledge, qualitative and/or quantitative data analysis in the social sciences, and database management skills. 
  • Prior experience related to natural resource management, collaborative resource management, and/or tribal-federal government relationships.
  • An aptitude for research, oral and written scientific communication, attention to detail, and ability to be independent and collaborate with a team.

The application must be completed through Zintellect. https://www.zintellect.com/Opportunity/Details/USDA-FS-RMRS-2024-0233 

When you apply, please indicate that you are responding to the posting on Conservation Job Board.

Category Admin & Leadership, General / Stewardship
Tags Outreach