There's a little something going on for everyone — from high school students to graduate students — at UC Merced's Yosemite Field Station each summer. And the time is now for students who want to get involved to start filling out applications.
The station, which is part of UC Merced's Sierra Nevada Research Institute (SNRI), is located in the historic village of Wawona inside Yosemite National Park. In the summer, it becomes a place where students can learn about science, research and leadership in an interactive environment."We have a lot of great stuff going on this summer in Yosemite," said Eric Berlow, director of the Yosemite Field Station. "The broader vision for these educational programs is an integrated, intergenerational youth leadership program that creates a pipeline of students at different stages, from early high school to recent graduates and graduate students."
There are four main summer programs offered at the Yosemite Field Station:
Adventure, Risk, Challenge (ARC): A year-round educational outreach program partnering UC Merced and Yosemite with public high schools to engage English Language Learners (ELL) in Merced County, ARC offers a six-week summer immersion course at the Yosemite Field Station. Supported by the Toyota Foundation and Yosemite National Park, the course integrates a rigorous curriculum of outdoor education, leadership training, English literacy and science. The ARC program continues with outreach throughout the students' school years to help them further develop academic and life skills.
Yosemite Leadership Program (YLP): The YLP is a two year co-curricular program that includes a summer internship in Yosemite for UC Merced undergraduates, offering opportunities such as serving as bilingual interpretive rangers leading tours of the giant sequoias, managing invasive weeds in the park, saving lives as part of the Yosemite Search and Rescue Team and working with nonprofit park partners. New this year are two internships — one in bilingual interpretation and one in environmental management — with the Delaware North Companies Parks and Resort at Yosemite. Major support for the program has been provided by the Yosemite Fund and Yosemite Association and through generous grants from the Toyota Foundation, Morgan Stanley and the Edward and Marion Doherty Endowment.
Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU): Funded by the National Science Foundation, the REU program provides opportunities for undergraduates (recruited nationwide) to conduct independent research projects under the combined mentoring of UC Merced professors, United States Geological Survey scientists and Yosemite National Park scientists. These research projects then serve as a catalyst for collaborative research between the university and the park. The REU program uses its research opportunities to complement the non-science internships in the YLP program.
SNRI Scientific Visualization Fellowship (SciViz): This program focuses on a combination of science and art, providing two fellows (recruited nationwide) with three months of free housing in Yosemite and a $1,500 stipend to enhance the creative visualization and communication of scientific information. Last year, one scientific illustrator worked with scientists and park staff to create visitor displays along Tioga Pass Road, while a musician created wilderness soundscape compositions using recordings from Yosemite's meadows.
In addition to their own opportunities and responsibilities, all four of the programs are integrated through cross-peer mentoring. For example, the SciViz fellows work with REU and YLP students on visual presentations of information, while the REU and YLP undergraduates mentor ARC high school students on their writing.
The REU and YLP programs are both open for applications. Applications for the REU program are due March 15. Instructions for applying for the YLP program, due April 1, can be found here . The deadline is also March 15 for SciViz applications , while the ARC program is currently recruiting students for this summer's session.