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Introduction to Implementing Science in National Parks

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Overview

Introduction to Implementing Science in National Parks explores the critical role science plays in helping the NPS fulfill its mission. This course explores the critical role science plays in helping the NPS fulfill its mission, providing learners from any discipline with foundational knowledge on the importance and application of science in parks, natural resource law and policy, and scientific knowledge and understanding.

Essential competencies of Scientific Knowledge, Scientific Methodology, Professional Credibility and Resource Stewardship are examined to provide support for the goal of resource stewardship to ensure natural resource professionals possess the capability to be informed by science and scholarship, traditional ecological knowledge, fidelity to the law, and the ability to communicate to decision-makers.

Science, resource stewardship, scientific literacy, and best available science are defined and examined. Science is critical for the management and understanding of NPS resources, and application of science in decision making is crucial to resource management. For example, assessing the effectiveness of a decision. This includes day to day operations and larger management decisions.

The course looks beyond park and discipline boundaries to examine how science conducted in parks contributes to the broader scientific community, and the role of park units in supporting scientific research and inquiry. Learners consider how park divisions from natural resources and interpretation to facilities and visitor protection carry out and benefit from science. They also see how scientific data and information are used to develop, inform, and assess the effectiveness of decisions and management actions.

Learners explore their role in collecting and using high quality scientific information and data. They examine the value of collaboration with others who also conduct science as a way to ensure that sound science is implemented in decision making. Learners also review the importance of being able to summarize and communicate scientific findings clearly, using techniques appropriate to different audiences. Finally, they have the opportunity to apply their new knowledge as they work through an exercise in applying science to a natural resource management challenge in their park or work unit.

Topics covered:

  • Importance of Science to the National Park Service
  • Guidance & Authorities Relevant to Science
  • The Scope of Science
  • Approaches to Park Science
  • Implementing Park Science
  • Applying Science to Your Resource Challenge

Learning Objectives

This course provides foundational knowledge on:

  1. The importance of science and its application to the National Park Service
  2. NPS guidance and authorities relevant to science
  3. The scope of science in the NPS
  4. Approaches to park science, including internal and external sources of scientific information and data, and where to find assistance
  5. How science informs planning, decision making, management actions, education and outreach, and the development and revision of policy

Notes

This course is a part of the Implementing Park Science Module in the Career Academy for Natural Resources Foundational Series.

Target Audience:

  • Natural resource professionals at the developmental/full performance level
  • Natural resource professionals at any level who are new to the NPS
  • Employees and managers from any career field who are interested in learning more about how science is used in the management of natural resources in the national park system
  • Any employee who has a desire to improve their scientific literacy

Prerequisites:

None, although familiarity with the material in Introduction to the Career Academy for Natural Resources (for natural resource professionals) and Orientation to National Park Service Natural Resource Management (for all employees) may be useful.

For more information on Career Academy for Natural Resources courses, visit the Natural Resource Stewardship Course Catalog.

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