Urban Plant-Pollinator Conservation Intern

Warner College of Natural Resources

Forest and Rangeland Stewardship



Primary Topic:

Natural Resources and Sustainability

Other Topics:

No additional topic areas, only my selection from previous question

Lead Mentor:  

John Mola

Assistant Professor

Internship Overview:

Restoration of pollinator habitat is critical for the aesthetic, economic, and ecological value that bees, butterflies, and other insects provide within urban environments. However, current recommendations for pollinator habitat may be poorly adapted to future climate. Furthermore, recommendations often ignore key social dimensions like resident perceptions towards plants and management activities, leading to inequitable outcomes. Our project is a collaboration between Colorado State University, Denver Parks and Recreation, and other community stakeholders that seeks to improve recommendations for pollinator habitat restoration within urban parks. The Urban Plant-Pollinator Conservation Intern will support this project through two main objectives: social values surveys of resident attitudes towards pollinator habitat and entomological surveys of bumble bees and other pollinators within Denver parks. The intern will assemble information on pollinator friendly plants within urban environments, collect pollen and nectar samples from flowers, and work on developing reports and outreach materials from their findings. This is an excellent opportunity for someone interested in insect conservation, community outreach and engagement, and learning a diverse suite of skills in social science, entomology, and restoration ecology.

Goals, Scope and Objectives:

Goal: The intern will work with an interdisciplinary group of scientists, extension specials, Denver Parks and Recreation employees, and other stakeholders to:

Objective 1: Assist in social values surveys of Denver park goers to understand attitudes towards pollinator habitat creation and implementation
Objective 2: Assist in plant and pollinator surveys to determine the nutritional value of different plants to support pollinator health
Objective 3: Communicate findings to project partners in a variety of formats including Extension-style fact sheets, a conference poster, and/or social media posts

With which stakeholder group(s) will the intern work?

The intern would work directly with CSU scientists, Extension specialists in the relevant counties, Denver Parks and Recreation (including those on the project planning team as well as park managers), and Community Members (i.e. park goers and survey respondents). We also anticipate opportunities to work with non-profit collaborators like the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation.

What student learning outcomes do you anticipate and what are the opportunities for professional development?

1. Develop interdisciplinary skill sets in urban ecological restoration, participatory research, stakeholder engagement, and entomology.
2. Collect survey, plant, insect, and other environmental field data.
3. Analyze ecological data and learn data visualization techniques.
4. Present findings in a variety of written and oral formats.
5. Collaborate with diverse stakeholders including city government, community groups, and local residents with an emphasis on currently underserved communities across DPR properties
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