Environment for the Americas internship program seeks to engage racially and ethnically diverse college students, graduates, and graduate students in natural resources and other fields.
Intern position description: Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge is seeking a highly motivated individual to assist in wildlife and habitat conservation in Prairie City, Iowa. The selected intern will gain a 360° view of what it takes to be a safe and effective employee in the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Intern will work to achieve the four primary goals for the refuge which are wildlife conservation, agriculture, industry, and recreation.
Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge is located 20 miles east of Des Moines, Iowa. The refuge consists of 6,000 acres of reconstructed tallgrass prairie and oak savanna ecosystems. The refuge is designated as an urban refuge. A visitor center, several walking trails, picnic area, 4.5-mile bike trail, and a five-mile Prairie Wildlife Drive are available for visitor use. Wildlife-dependent visitor activities include hunting, wildlife observation, interpretation, photography, environmental education. Annually, approximately, 33,000 visitors enter the visitor center and overall, 250,000 visit the refuge. The refuge manages herds of bison and elk maintained in an 800-acre enclosure. The protected lands are managed to provide habitat for prairie and oak savanna dependent wildlife species. Restoration efforts provide habitat for hundreds of native plant species, more than 200 bird species, and dozens of mammals, reptiles, amphibians, and butterflies species.
Work Products: Key deliverables of the internship
• Visitor Center Operations and Customer Service- Interns will assist with the visitor center operations which includes staffing visitor center desk, providing customer service, assisting volunteers, opening, and closing building, basic cleaning, and maintenance tasks. Participates in the development, management, and implementation of a high quality and balanced visitor services program by recommending and implementing compatible wildlife-dependent recreation activities. Answering questions and implementing projects related to hunting, wildlife observation, wildlife photography, environmental education, interpretation, wildlife management, and refuge regulations.
• Public Outreach and Interpretation – Intern will abide current COVID and safety related Presents environmental education programs, in person and virtually, and develops curriculum and educational activities and maintains supplies and equipment. Interns will assist in developing and conducts interpretive programs (e.g., nature-based programs and walks, scout programs) for refuge visitors of a variety of ages and backgrounds.
• Volunteer Management – Intern will support in recruiting and training volunteers. Intern will assist leading and monitoring the progress of volunteer projects. Intern will aid in the planning and recognizing volunteers through events, meetings, and awards.
• Media and Communication - Intern will help with positively promoting the refuge using newspaper, radio, and social media. Intern will assist with drafting and preparing a variety of written materials and responses including news releases, articles, correspondence, and event flyers to increase understanding of the USFWS mission, a special event, or related issues. Intern will communicate to groups the Service’s and refuge’s programs and policies.
• Facility Management – Intern will assist in monitoring visitor facilities for safety, cleanliness, and accessibility and identifies and reports obvious maintenance, health, safety, and accessibility deficiencies.
• Natural Resource Management -Intern will assist with biological projects related to reconstructing tallgrass prairie and oak savanna ecosystems
• Data Management- Intern will support the refuge with collecting traffic counter data and uploading data to website and maintenance of counters.
• Education/Prior experience in environmental education, interpretation, fish and wildlife conservation, natural resource management or recreational use of Federal lands
• Basic knowledge of concepts, principles, and practices of visitor services management
• Ability to assist in planning, organizing, and implementing interpretive, educational, and wildlife-oriented recreation activities at a National Wildlife Refuge.
• General knowledge of natural resource management and conservation and their application to visitor management.
• Strong oral and written communication skills
• Ability to work occasionally under pressure and meet tight deadlines
• Ability to work with adults and children from diverse backgrounds
• Ability to work independently and as part of a team
• Ability to interact with the public in a professional manner
• Ability to work with and supervise volunteers and volunteer projects.
• Valid state driver’s license and the ability to operate passenger vehicles and light trucks
• Ability to use basic computer programs (Microsoft Office Suite)
• Keep a positive attitude in adverse condition
• Personal Vehicle is required
• Personal Computer
• Physical Demands: The work involves some physical exertion such as walking over wet, rough, uneven, or rocky terrain; bending, crouching, stooping, reaching, lifting, or similar activities. The work requires average agility and dexterity.
• Strong commitment to the preservation and protection of native plants and wildlife communities on public lands and eagerness to work outside under all conditions
• Work with staff and volunteers from diverse backgrounds that share a common interest in preserving and protecting our natural lands while building community