People_Allyson Mathis, Research AssociateScience Communicator: Allyson Mathis

Research Associate: Allyson Mathis

Project overview: To provide services in natural resource communication in support of the mission of the NPS Inventory and Monitoring Program to provide park managers with the information to measure resource conditions and to interpret the status and trends of natural resource monitoring data to the public.

Backstory: The goal of this project is to partner with the recipient to support science communication and public outreach of monitoring results and park resources for the 11 Southern Plains parks.

This project will make NPS generated natural resource information (e.g. reports, publications, data) readily available to managers and the public to facilitate collaborative decision making within the parks. In coordination with park managers and specialists, the inventory and monitoring program monitors selected natural resources referred to as vital signs, indicators of the health of national parks. Monitoring results will enable land managers, the public, and neighboring communities to use these data to make informed decisions about critical water, vegetation (forests, alpine, and grass/shrub land), and wetland resources. It is important to communicate these scientific results effectively and to make them publically available in order to facilitate collaborative decision making in conservation management.

Project Objectives: The project objective will be to use “plain language” text and information rich graphics to convey key information learned from the Southern Plains Inventory and Monitoring Program. Media will include NPS reports, short information briefs, and newsletters. The products of this collaboration will support park resource management and provide important educational materials for park visitors. 

Publicly available monitoring results enable land managers, the public, and neighboring communities to build awareness and make collaborative and informed decisions to conserve park resources. NRCC has been a leader in conservation for over 30 years. During that time NRCC has focused on an inclusive, integrative approach to engage citizens, natural resource managers, scientists, and policy makers in balanced stewardship of public lands. NRCC and the NPS work collaboratively to improve relationships with the neighbors that border national parks. Making the science available in products that are understandable across broad audiences and easily accessible via the web is important to building strong relationships with communities and land management agencies abutting the parks. NPS staff (park and network) work with NRCC to provide information as appropriate and requested to community planning efforts. Often the monitoring results are the most relevant and currently available information and therefore provide the best science to decision makers.

Current Status: Recent projects include a set of bird checklists and web articles in the NPS Geodiversity Atlas for Southern Plains parks, and producing a newsletter for SOPN. I am also assisting with the development of a vegetation management plan for one of the network parks and some Natural Resource Reports.

I am also working on a case study on Golden Gate National Recreation Area’s use of internal collaboration and will soon be working on a case study on the collaboration between Juan Bautista de Anza National Historic Trail and Tumacácori National Historical Park.

Project Partners: NPS Inventory & Monitoring Division: Southern Plains Network, Chihuahuan Desert Network, NPS Collaboration Network, Invasive Plant Program, Landscape Restoration & Adaptation, Biological Resources Division

Project start year: 2016

Location: SOPN has offices in Johnson City, Texas and Pecos, New Mexico. Park units in Kansas, Colorado, Texas, Oklahoma and New Mexico are in SOPN.  The CHDN office is in Las Cruces, New Mexico. CHDN parks are in Texas and New Mexico. I work from my home in Moab, Utah.