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Grand Canyon National Park Foundation

Eugene Polk Science Fellowship Program



Jessie Duncan, Cook Intern (left) and Kate Rutherford, Polk Intern  (right)

For the past four years, the Grand Canyon National Park Foundation has provided funding for Polk Science Fellowships, internship opportunities for top-level graduate students to work on important park projects.  This program offers invaluable field experience to the interns while at the same time augmenting the park’s science staff.  The fellowships also introduce talented young scientists to careers with the National Park Service.  Since the program began in 2001, six Polk Fellows have chosen to continue with the Park Service as employees or consultants.  In 2004 two Polk Fellows worked with the condor project, one with the tamarisk component of invasive species control, and one with the mesocarnivore project.

 In 2004, the Foundation initiated the Jeffrey Cook Internship for Archaeology with a generous contribution from the Jeffrey R. Cook Charitable Trust.  Grand Canyon National Park contains an estimated 50,000 archaeological sites.  To date only about 4,500 of these sites have been recorded – still an astonishing number.  In 2004 our first Cook intern compiled a comprehensive “status of the resource” report for a select group of fifty-two sites.  In addition she helped with the excavation of a pit house, participated in inventory surveys on the South Rim and assisted with site monitoring of backcountry sites accessed from the Colorado River.

This summer the Foundation is delighted to welcome our 2005 Polk and Cook Fellows, Kate Rutherford and Jessie Duncan. 

Kate will spend three months this summer working with the National Park Service staff studying Desert Bighorn Sheep in Grand Canyon.  She will observe and document the movement patterns, habitat, forge patterns and population dynamics of the Park’s sheep both along the river corridor and in the remote backcountry.  Kate grew up in the Alaskan bush and now comes to us with a degree in field biology from Colorado College in Colorado Springs, Colorado. 

Jessie will be involved in the Vanishing Treasures program with Grand Canyon National Park Service archaeologist.  The Vanishing Treasures initiatives preserve Park archeological ruins that have original and intact architecture.  Jessie will conduct condition assessments of the Vanishing Treasures sites in the Park’s backcountry, complete computerized data entry of field information and help develop treatment recommendations and scopes of work for sites requiring stabilization.  Jessie recently graduated Magna Cum Laude with a Batchelor of Arts in Anthropology from the University of Tennessee in Knoxville.  She is not a newcomer to the National Park Service;  during her undergraduate studies, she worked with the Student Conservation Association as an archaeological intern at the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Two projects have been designated for 2005 of the fellowship program; the first of which will run from June 1 – August 17. GCNPF is currently seeking applicants to fill this summer position for the assignments below. A second internship for Invasive Species will begin on August 15. Contact the GCNPF office for further information.

Congratulations to these two fine interns! 

We wish them the best

in their endeavors and adventures

in Grand Canyon this summer!

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For additional information please contact us at:

The Grand Canyon National Park Foundation
625 N. Beaver Street, Flagstaff, Arizona 86001
(928) 774-1760,

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