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Student Research

An EcologyPlus Partner opportunity 

Virtual Short Course:  Introduction to Geographic Information Systems Short Course, January 6-12, 2021

APPLY BY December 8, 2020

We will offer a virtual short course introducing basic concepts of GIS, data management and analysis, and ArcGIS software. The course will be offered on Wednesday January 6, Thursday January 7, and Friday January 8, 2021. We will begin at 9am and end at noon (mountain time). Participants will learn about the variety of questions that can be addressed with spatial data, different types of spatial data, data analysis, and map making.

The course will end with each participant analyzing data and sharing what they learned to the class in a very short (5 min) presentation on Tuesday, January 12. This is great opportunity to learn about a tool and approach that is widely used in ecology, physical science, and many other fields including business, political science, economics, criminology, etc. 


At the end of the course, students will:

  • understand different types of spatial data (raster and vector),
  • how to use common GIS tools (clipping, summarizing data by zones), and
  • become familiar with ArcGIS software.

No previous knowledge or experience is necessary.

TECHNICAL REQUIREMENTS: This course will require a windows-based computer with at least 8GB of RAM and ESRI’s ArcGIS software. We will work with you to obtain a loaned computer and software license if you need these. If you are accepted, you must be ready to complete set up on your computer in December.


Course will be taught by Travis Belote, Lead Ecologist with The Wilderness Society.


  • Any undergraduate or graduate student or recent graduate responsive to the mission of EcologyPlus
  • Possess strong interest in developing geospatial skills at the intersection of environment, data and society. No previous experience with GIS needed.
  • Must be available for all four days of the course January 6-12, 2021 between 9 am - 12 PM Mountain Standard Time and able to complete all course work in that time frame.  
  • Must be available to set up software before January 2021

Questions? Contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Example of a GIS map


Conservation Science Internship with The Wilderness Society 2018

Congratulations to EcologyPlus students, Edem K. Yevoo and Kerrin Heba Massarueh from University of Maryland, College Park, and Elijah Catalan from Howard University selected to participate in The Wilderness Society Conservation Science Internship. The opportunity began with a five-day trip to the Northern Rocky Mountains and Yellowstone National Park where students learned the basics of GIS and developed a plan for a research project under the mentorship of research scientist, Dr. Travis Belote and TWS experts. Students will use spatial data on human modification, canopy cover, and species richness to learn where are the wildest places around Washington, DC (Kerrin), who has access to wild places (Elijah)  and how human development impact natural areas in the future (Edem). Students will be collaborating remotely throughout the fall to complete their projects.  

Learn more about their experience:

Check out each individual presentations delivered to TWS staff and friends on December 7, 2018:

Kerrin H. Massarueh - Where are the Wildest Parts of Washington DC?

Elijah Catalan - Access to wilderness in Washington, DC

Edem Yevoo - Impact of Urban Development in DC

Who Should Apply

This internship is intended for undergraduate students accepted into EcologyPlus program.


This internship will focus on an assessment of mapped data that can directly aid the conservation work of The Wilderness Society. Possible projects include assessing the global or national significance of a specific unit of public lands; evaluating the access of diverse people to public lands; quantifying benefits of public lands to people (e.g., watersheds of municipalities); or assessing connectivity priorities that could facilitate wildlife movement.Learn how geospatial science contributes to conserving America’s wildlands by focusing on a real-world issue facing policy-makers, land managers, and conservationists today.

  • Develop your own research project on an aspect of conservation science.
  • Learn how to work remotely in a team

Dates and Location

  • Five-day trip (including travel) in August or September 2018 to the Northern Rocky Mountains to visit iconic national parks (Yellowstone) and develop scope and plan for project – travel expenses paid
  • Complete your internship over 8 weeks remotely over the Fall semester from your home institution in the DC area.
  • Weekly team webinars to share progress
  • Presentation to The Wilderness Society staff and the broader conservation or land management agencies working in DC


  • Learn high-demand geographical information system (GIS) technology for conservation goals
  • Understand how scientific research is developed and disseminated
  • Select and review scientific literature and analyze datasets
  • Communicate science to multiple stakeholders


Dr. Travis Belote, located in Bozeman, MT will host students during the trip to develop the project and provide training on use of GIS software, access to data, and conservation science.

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