Research, Inventory & Monitoring (RIM) Program

The RIM Program is currently on hold. Thank you for you interest in the program.

 

Hummingbird Monitoring Network Volunteers Needed!

HummingbirdsHave you ever held a tiny hummingbird in your hand? Would you like to be that volunteer scientist or assistant in the picture below? Then come out and assist Arizona State Parks and her partners in hummingbird research at Sonoita Creek State Natural Area (SCSNA) adjacent to Patagonia Lake State Park in southeastern Arizona.

Arizona State Parks (ASP) and the Hummingbird Monitoring Network External Link (HMN) have partnered with others in conducting groundbreaking research involving banding and study of migrating hummingbirds across the continent. The data that is gathered is providing new scientific insight into population trends, breeding behavior, and migration patterns that are linked to the timing and functionality of other animals and plants in the ecosystem. Research findings guide science-informed land use and resource management decisions that help Arizona enhance and sustain natural watersheds like Sonoita Creek, a major tributary of the Santa Cruz River. 

If you are enthusiastic about hummingbirds, and would like to help ASP and others steward the beautiful SCSNA, consider becoming a member of our volunteer Research, Inventory, and Monitoring (RIM) program. RIM participate as resource specialists and scientists and assist in the capturing, feeding and releasing of hummingbirds, and recording of important banding data. The annual program runs from March through October each year. Banding sessions are held twice a month, starting around sunrise and lasting for five hours. Professional on-site training is provided at the start of each banding season.

Click on the link below to view a recent story about the program produced by Arizona Public Media (PBS) and aired on the acclaimed TV series Arizona Illustrated. You can read the web version and access the video, which is embedded in the second photo.

http://www.azpm.org/news/story/2011/10/5/1830-web-feature-the-secrets-hummingbirds-tell External Link

For more information about this RIM program, contact
Elissa Fazio
Hummingbird Monitoring Network External Link
PO Box 115
Patagonia, AZ 85624
esquared(at)qwestoffice.net

Northern Mexican Gartersnake Habitat Use and Ecology in Verde Valley, Arizona

HummingbirdsThe Northern Mexican gartersnakes (Thamnophis eques megalops) is a unique species of snake that was once found in marsh, river, and cienega habitats throughout Arizona and southern New Mexico. However, this snake has declined throughout its range, and the Verde Valley of Arizona represents one of its last strongholds in the US. Researchers and students from Northern Arizona University will be surveying for Mexican Gartersnakes at Dead Horse Ranch State Park and other areas of the Verde Valley in 2012 and 2013. Not only are we interested in documenting the population size, we also hope to find large adults and implant them with radio-transmitters, in an effort to understand how they use the landscape.

We are looking for volunteers to assist with our survey efforts between March and September in 2012 and 2013. We will be sampling about five locations across the Verde Valley, including Dead Horse Ranch State Park and Tavasci Marsh, during three week-long trips each year. Our main survey methods will be setting and checking minnow traps in habitats the snakes may frequent. This is a great opportunity to see fish and other small riparian vertebrates up close, as we will identify and measure potential prey and predator species (fish, crayfish, and amphibians) captured in the traps. We will also conduct some walking surveys in these areas. Survey trips will generally be conducted Monday-Friday in early morning and evenings. We will take captured gartersnakes to Northern Arizona University for surgical implant with radio-transmitters, and after recovery from surgery, we will release the snakes and try to locate them 2-3 times per week, at all times of the day. The work will involve walking in marshy or river habitats over uneven surfaces and carrying traps, at times during inclement weather conditions.

Survey trips will occur:
April 18-22: Page Springs Cellars Vineyards
May 7-11: Verde River, SRP property by I-17 bridge
June 11-15: Dead Horse Ranch SP
June 18-22: Page Springs Cellars Vineyards
June 25-29: Peck's Lake and Tavasci March
August 6-10: Verde River, SRP property by I-17 bridge
August 27-31: Dead Horse Ranch SP
September 17-21: Peck's Lake and Tavasci March

If interested in assisting, please contact Project Manager Iain Emmons at: iainemmons(at)yahoo.com; or Project Lead Dr. Erika Nowak at: 928-523-7760 or Erika.Nowak(at)nau.edu.

Attention Scientists & Researchers (Active or Retired)

R.I.M. ProjectBoth actively employed and retired scientists and engineers serve as volunteers in our acclaimed Research, Inventory and Monitoring (RIM) Program. Scientists and engineer volunteers assist Arizona State Parks as field researchers, collecting data related to a variety of natural and cultural resources at our parks. Observing hummingbird activity, mapping out agave clusters, conducting geologic mapping, doing hydrologic analyses, identifying migrating bird nesting areas and assisting with non-native plant removal are just a few examples of the type of scientific and public service available in this program. Volunteer scientist support is critical to ensuring that we have consistent, high quality data available to help Arizona State Park and her partners measure and manage in a science-informed manner the myriad of resources that make our state park system so unique and valuable. In many projects, RIM volunteer scientists will have the opportunity to work closely with other passionate and talented scientists from state universities and colleges and partnering resource management agencies. RIM volunteers will also gain access to the university library system, and a number of other tools for conducting research and science on state parks. Read a Feature Story about the Dragonfly Project to get a sense of the projects.

Attention K-12 Teachers

Arizona State Parks supports your critical role in shaping tomorrow's generation of scientists, resource and park stewards, teachers, urban planners, policy-makers and other professional vocations critical to your community and the state's prosperity. Don't miss an opportunity to volunteer as RIM Resource Specialist (entry through mid-level) to gain invaluable lab and field experience. You will partner with professional RIM scientists and engineers, park resource managers and ranger specialists on projects that address STEM educational objectives (science, technology, engineering and mathematics). Your RIM and park experience presents yet another opportunity to develop training credit and service experience, and to enhance both curriculums and knowledge bases beyond what many standard teacher programs can provide.

Online Application

Applications for this Volunteer Program are now accepted online. Apply online now (Learn More)  
Questions? email: Nicole, narmstrong(at)azstateparks.gov and Dr. Bob Casavant, rcasavant(at)azstateparks.gov

Photograph of Dankworth Pond
Doug Danforth, RIM Program volunteer, took this photo of a male Checkered Setwing dragonfly while working on the Dragonfly Project. Learn more.

Volunteers can support this program in the following roles:

Senior Natural Resource Scientist

Volunteers with professional and/or well-respected and recognized amateur credentials in a variety of scientific areas are needed to help with research projects generated and directed by Arizona State Parks staff. Volunteers at this level will not only be asked to participate in data collection, but will also be asked to assist with appropriate research, data analysis, and reporting.

Once a Senior Natural Resource Scientist is in place for any of our projects, these additional volunteer positions may be needed.

Natural Resource Specialist (Mid level)

Volunteers at this level will be asked to support data collection.  They may need to have some experience, or just may be willing to be trained, depending on the project.  

Natural Resource Specialist (Entry level)

Volunteers who would like to support this type of work, but have no background or experience in related science areas may be able to assist with activities such as invasive species removal (pulling weeds!), recording species (taking pictures), and other work that requires little or no training, but is vital to support our projects. For the following projects, or any future opportunities please complete and submit the following forms:

Current Projects

Currently "in the wings" at Arizona State Parks, are a number of exciting research and science venues and opportunities that are awaiting RIM volunteer commitment and commencement at various parks across the state. The example below represent the diversity and interdisciplinary nature of some RIM project that our Senior Natural Resource Scientist Volunteers and/or Natural Resource Specialist Volunteers (mid-level) can assist the park system and our partners with. For more detailed information regarding this type of public service and variety of challenging and enjoyable RIM projects , please contact Dr. Bob Casavant, Manager, Science and Research. You can reach Bob at (520) 260-8826 (cell) or email: rcasavant(at)azstateparks.gov

 

 
Steam Gradient / Infiltration Study, East Flank, Whetstone Mtns.

Location: Kartchner Caverns State Park, Benson, Arizona

Volunteer Position: Senior Natural Resource Scientist and mid-level Natural Resource Specialists.
(Additonal RIM volunteer positions will be needed for this team project once work has begun.)

Description: This project will involve coordinating inter-agency regional Agave management planning, plan implementation, report creation, and Kartchner Caverns State Park Bat Management Plan update. The Senior Scientist Volunteer would design an Agave inventory methodology and implement the approved plant inventory.

Project Timeline: Project Design: Oct – April
Field Work: Flexibility to suite volunteer service; Fall 2010 to Spring 2011

Analysis and Report: December, 2010, March 2011

Volunteer Time Commitment: Approximately 16-24 hours per week

Housing Available: Travel trailers available on park or full hook-up site for RV’s.

Skills/Experience Needed: Degree(s) in related geoscience and hydrology fields, ability to coordinate with multiple entities regarding complicated scientific concepts, demonstrated report creation and plan implementation skills, familiarity with geomorphology, surface and some groundwater systems, familiarity with or ability to learn aspects of Global Positioning Systems, use of Suunto or Brunton clinometers and field tape measurement work, and Geographical Information Systems, demonstrated research methodology design and implementation skills, ability to do mid-level strenuous hiking and geologic fieldwork with minimal oversight after project methods are practiced.

 
Geologic Fault Study: Air Photo/Field Mapping-GIS Compilation

Location: Kartchner Caverns State Park, Benson, Arizona

Volunteer Position: Senior Natural Resource Scientist and mid-level Natural Resource Specialists.
(Additonal RIM volunteer positions will be needed for this team project once work has begun.)

Description: This project will involve coordinating inter-agency regional Agave management planning, plan implementation, report creation, and Kartchner Caverns State Park Bat Management Plan update. The Senior Scientist Volunteer would design an Agave inventory methodology and implement the approved plant inventory.

Project Timeline: Project Design: Oct – April
Field Work: Flexibility to suite volunteer service;---Fall 2010 to Spring 2011; Fall 2011 to Spring 2012
Analysis and Report: May, 2011, May, 2012

Volunteer Time Commitment: Approximately 16-24 hours per week

Housing Available: Travel trailers available on park for team, or full hook-up site for RV’s.

Skills/Experience Needed: Degree(s) in related geoscience or geoengineering fields, ability to coordinate with multiple entities regarding basic geologic and scientific concepts, use and interpretation of Earth Google and stereo air photography for mapping geologic faults, demonstrated report creation and plan implementation skills, familiarity with topography map interpretation, basic surficial geologic mapping skills, familiarity with or ability to learn aspects of Global Positioning Systems, in-coming proficiency or ability to regain proficiency in the use of Suunto or Brunton compasses, working knowledge of Geographical Information Systems is a plus, demonstrated research methodology design and implementation skills, must be able to hike up and down cacti-hosting limestone hills ranging from 200-300 feet in elevation gain.

 
Agave and Bat Study

Location: Kartchner Caverns State Park, Benson, Arizona

Volunteer Position: Senior Natural Resource Scientist
(Other RIM volunteer positions may be needed once work has begun on this project)

Description: This project will involve coordinating inter-agency regional Agave management planning, plan implementation, report creation, and Kartchner Caverns State Park Bat Management Plan update. The Senior Scientist Volunteer would design an Agave inventory methodology and implement the approved plant inventory.

Project Timeline: Project Design:  January – March
Field Work: Spring to late Octoer
Analysis and Report: November & December

Volunteer Time Commitment: Approximately 20 hours per week

Housing Available: Travel trailer available on park or full hook-up site for RV’s.

Skills/Experience Needed: Degree(s) in related field, ability to coordinate with multiple entities regarding complicated scientific concepts, demonstrated report creation and plan implementation skills, familiarity with Agave and Bat natural history, familiarity with all aspects of Global Positioning Systems and Geographical Information Systems, demonstrated research methodology design and implementation skills.

 
Saguaro Population, Distribution, Density and Age Study

Location: Picacho Peak State Park, Picacho, Arizona

Volunteer Position: Senior Natural Resource Scientist
(Other RIM volunteer positions may be needed once work has begun on this project)

Description: The Senior Scientist Volunteer would design and implement the approved Saguaro Study, analyze data, and prepare the final report.

Project Timeline: Project Design:  Sept. – Oct.
Field Work Oct. – Dec.
Analysis and Report Jan. – Feb.

Volunteer Time Commitment: Approximately 20 hours per week

Housing Available: Travel trailer available on park or full hook-up site for RV’s.

Skills/Experience Needed: Degree(s) in related field, demonstrated skill in research methodology design and implementation, familiarity with all aspects of Global Positioning Systems and Geographical Information Systems, demonstrated skill in data analysis and report creation, familiarity with saguaro natural history, comfortable working independently.

 
Mammal Inventory

Volunteer Position: Senior Natural Resource Scientist
(Other RIM volunteer positions may be needed once work has begun on this project)

Location: Sonoita Creek State Natural Area, Patagonia, Arizona

Description: The Senior Scientist Volunteer would design inventory methodology and implement the approved mammal inventory, analyze data, and prepare a final report.

Project Timeline: Project Design:  Jan. – March
Field Work:  Spring – Late Oct.
Analysis and Report: Nov – Dec

Volunteer Time Commitment: Approximately 20 hours per week

Housing Available: Travel trailer available on park or full hook-up site for RV’s.

Skills/Experience Needed: Degree(s) in related field, demonstrated experience in research methodology design and implementation, familiarity with mammal identification and keying, demonstrated data analysis and report creation skills, comfortable working independently.

 
Hummingbird Observation and Monitoring Program

Location: Sonoita Creek State Natural Area, Patagonia, Arizona & Boyce Thompson Arboretum State Park, Superior, Arizona

Volunteer Position: Senior Natural Resource Scientist
(Other RIM volunteer positions may be needed once work has begun on this project)

Description: Project will involve working with Arizona State Park staff in coordination with The Hummingbird Monitoring Network Program to establish host sites within Arizona State Parks and Natural Areas. The Senior Scientist Volunteer will participate in one or both, the “Feeder Watch/Observation” and/or the “Monitoring Program”.

Project Timeline: Observation and Monitoring Schedules are site specific and are being developed for 2009.

Volunteer Time Commitment:
Feeder cleaning and watch: Approximately 5 hours per week beginning March ending mid October
The Monitoring Program: Consists of banding assistants including data recorders, trappers, and trap observation. With set up, protocol session, and take down, approximately 10 hours every 2 weeks beginning March ending mid October. Additional hours may be required for project orientation and pre-session training.

Housing Available: Travel trailer available on park or full hook-up site for RV’s.

Skills/Experience Needed: Degree(s) in related field, ability to coordinate with multiple entities regarding complicated scientific concepts, familiarity with Hummingbird  and other avian natural history, familiarity with all aspects of Global Positioning Systems and Geographical Information Systems, demonstrated data collection and  banding skills.