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Ecology Project International

Bitterroot Wildlife Internship Participant - 2020

Programs · Missoula, Montana
Department Programs
Employment Type Research Assistant Volunteer

2020 Bitterroot Wildlife Internship Program


Each summer, Ecology Project International (EPI) and MPG Ranch partner to offer a unique internship for high school students that combines ecological education, conservation service work, and hands-on field research at the MPG Ranch in Lolo, Montana.


Program Description:

This internship will provide you with one-on-one interaction with research scientists and hands-on experience with conservation service work. You will create meaningful relationships and connections with other interns, instructors, and researchers while working and playing side-by-side. Outside of the research and conservation projects you will help cook meals, hike, swim, and build leadership skills while enjoying and learning about Montana’s Bitterroot Valley.

Each month-long internship session will be comprised of six interns. Interns are mentored by two EPI instructors and paired with MPG researchers to engage in ongoing research projects and complete their own project, which they will present at the end of their internship at an August symposium. All MPG staff, EPI staff, and interns’ friends and families are encouraged to attend the symposium.

Interns will spend Sunday through Thursday at MPG Ranch completing conservation service projects (approx. 10hrs/wk), conducting ecological research (approx. 6-16hrs/wk), and learning about the Bitterroot Valley’s ecosystem (approx. 6hrs/wk) by day. By night, interns will camp in provided tents. Conservation projects on the ranch might include invasive weed removal, improving fencing to promote animal migration, and native seed gathering. Potential research subjects include bird, soil, plant, small mammal, ungulate, insect, and bat projects.

This program is designed specifically for EPI's alumni who live in Montana, Idaho, and Wyoming.



There are two 2020 internship session options, as well as two required pre- and post-internship events in which both sessions of interns will participate:

  • Pre-Internship Meet and Greet / Information Session: Wednesday, May 13, from 5:30-7:00pm
  • Session 1: June 14–July 9
  • Session 2: July 19–August 13
  • Research Symposium: Thursday, August 20, 6:00-8:00pm


Session Schedule (Both Sessions):

Week 1: Sunday @ 1:00pm – Thursday @ 5:00pm

Weeks 2-4: Sunday @ 6:00pm – Thursday @ 5:00pm

*Please note that interns are responsible for their own accommodations from Thursday evening – Sunday afternoon.


Intern Responsibilities:

  • Actively & enthusiastically participate in all internship activities. 
  • Complete conservation service projects to aid MPG Ranch ecological restoration efforts. These projects are often physically strenuous. 
  • Develop a scientific research question, complete a project, and present project results to EPI and MPG staff and fellow interns at the end of your session. Projects will also be presented during an end of season symposium to be held in late August. 
  • Assist MPG researchers in gathering high-quality data. 
  • Help with meal preparation, camp set-up and maintenance, and vehicle loading/unloading. 
  • Abide by EPI’s Big Five: No tobacco, drugs, alcohol, coupling, or disruptive behavior. 


Intern Qualifications:


  • Must have completed first year of high school and not yet entered first year in college;
  • Must be available to attend all field days for the duration of the internship; 
  • Willingness to work and camp in inclement conditions including rain, heat, bugs, and rough terrain; 
  • Understanding of scientific inquiry;
  • Desire to engage in conservation service work, research, and outdoor learning.


  • Outdoor experience including camping and hiking; 
  • Experience with conservation service; and
  • Field experience collecting and working with data. 



Interns will receive a stipend of $30 per day (M-Th), totaling $480, after the successful completion of this internship. Transportation from EPI’s Missoula office to MPG Ranch on Sundays and back on Thursday evenings will be provided.

Additionally, meals, snacks, transportation, and camping gear will be provided at the ranch. 

To Apply:

The application period will open Friday, December 20th and close Friday, January 24th. Interns will be selected based on the quality of their online application, participation in an in-person or video interview, and availability to participate in scheduled internship sessions. Apply by clicking the "Apply for this Job" button in the upper right-hand corner of this page.


About Ecology Project International:

Ecology Project International (EPI) is a non-profit education and conservation organization that offers experiential educational programs to students in a variety of outdoor settings. Students work alongside professional scientists on applied research projects and actively engage in conservation in national parks, forests, and reserves throughout the western hemisphere. For more information visit


About MPG Ranch:

With over 10,000 acres of conservation property in Montana’s Bitterroot Valley, MPG stewards large landscapes for wildlife habitat and the enjoyment of future generations. MPG researchers specialize in restoration and ecology and seek new ways to restore land affected by invasive weeds, herbicides, and management practices. From ranch educational tours to teaching college courses to hiring interns, MPG seeks to inspire and train the next generation of scientists. For more MPG information visit


Have questions about the internship or the application process? 

Contact Adam Bavier at either 406.218.2605 or

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  • Location
    Missoula, Montana
  • Department
  • Employment Type
    Research Assistant Volunteer