Career Academy for Natural Resources: Implementing Park Science

Implementing Park Science provides an understanding of scientific methods, processes, and data analysis. Students will increase capacity to review scientific literature, improve currency in analytical methods, enhance critical thinking skills for science-based decisions, and present complex technical information.

Modules of the Foundational Series Link to Orientation Module Link to Interdisciplinary Resource Protection and Law module Link to Program and Project Management Module Link to Collaboration Module Link to Park Science module Link to Planning module Link to Communication module

This module will use a blend of delivery methods to provide natural resource professionals with knowledge and understanding of science in the National Park Service. The first two online modules are listed below.


Implementing Park Science is being designed to develop employees in the following three essential competency areas:

Professional Credibility: Demonstrated expertise in and contributions to science and scientific endeavours which are recognized by peers in government agencies and the academic community as providing a strong foundation and leadership in the natural resources work performed.

Scientific Knowledge: In-depth knowledge of current ecological and scientific principles with an ability to evaluate results of research that can be used to resolve diverse and complex park natural resource issues.

Scientific Method: The knowledge and ability to apply sound scientific approaches and appropriate methods to resolve natural resource management issues, including the design, conduct, and evaluation of inventory, monitoring,and research projects.

Courses in the Implementing Park Science Module

Introduction to Implementing Science in the National Park Service





This course explores the critical role science plays in helping the NPS fulfil 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 will be defined and examined. Science is critical for 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. They 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.

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 the basis for natural resource decision making in a changing environment
  • Any employee having a desire to improve their scientific literacy

Prerequisites: None

Natural Resource Decision Making in a Changing Environment





Understanding how to make resource management decisions in the face of accelerating, widespread and complex change and uncertainty is a vital skill for resource professionals in the twenty-first century. This course introduces the importance of understanding change concepts, with particular emphasis on the skills and processes needed to prioritize and make informed decisions utilizing change concepts, law and policy, and the best available science.

The course reviews laws and policies that require the NPS to effectively manage resources and avoid impairment to NPS natural and cultural resources, even when faced with a changing and uncertain future.

Learners are introduced to a variety of direct and indirect influences, and the spatial and temporal characteristics which effect how they impact resource conditions. They develop the awareness and vocabulary to recognize, anticipate and communicate about the types, impacts, and rates of change affecting park resources.

Learners explore factors in addition to science that are considered in resource management decisions, including law and policy; funding; the availability and validity of scientific information and data; and risk tolerance.

After an overview of the steps in the decision-making process, the course provides a scenario which learners walk through to practice applying what they have learned.

Finally, the course introduces the precautionary principle, adaptive management, structured decision making, risk mitigation, and systems thinking. Links to additional sources of training provide learners with tools to develop skills in these areas and become more valuable participants in the decision-making process. Throughout the course, the importance of effective collaboration and communication skills to enhance learners’ contributions in the decision-making process is stressed.

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 the basis for natural resource decision making in a changing environment

Prerequisites: Recommended: Introduction to Implementing Science in the National Park Service

Scientific Integrity



This one hour training provides the knowledge to:

  • Create conditions that support a culture of scientific integrity.
  • Recognize situations where scientific integrity may be at risk.
  • Identify the roles and responsibilities of those who are obligated to uphold scientific integrity and ensure appropriate use and communication of scientific findings and data.
  • Respond appropriately to potential violations of the Departmental scientific integrity policy.

Target Audience:
All employees are encouraged to take this training.

It is required for:

  • All superintendents and deputy superintendents
  • National Leadership Council members
  • All supervisors, program managers and staff with a role in the management, collection, oversight, and reporting of engineering, technical, and scientific information.

Prerequisites: None




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