Volunteer Student Summer Intern (non-paid), Natural Resource Management
Deadline for Application:
Until position is filled; Interviews and offers expected in early spring (March/April)
Check with your Internship Coordinator BEFORE accepting to determine how you might do this internship for credit.
Valley Forge National Historical Park (VAFO) is home to over 1,300 species of vascular plants and vertebrates, contains a variety of vegetation communities (e.g. forest, meadows, wetlands), and includes significant water resources (e.g. Schuylkill River, Valley Creek). Hopewell Furnace National Historic Site (HOFU), a smaller national park central to the Hopewell Big Woods, is also managed by VAFO natural resource staff and opportunities to participate in conservation projects at HOFU may also be available. The purpose of this internship is to provide college-level students with a practical experience in natural resource management that affords the opportunity to apply classroom theory through a “hands-on” experience with the National Park Service. At the same time interns will contribute to the collection of data and implementation of projects that benefit park resources and will assist park managers in achieving management goals.
All staff and volunteers, including interns, must complete a confidential prescreening questionnaire before every shift and to self-evaluate risk of COVD-19 transmission to self and family, housemates, etc. The results of the questionnaire are for personal use only, and not shared with anyone including park staff. All staff, including interns, must follow COVID-19 risk mitigations, including social distancing, wearing of mask if near other people, not touching face, washing or sanitizing of hands, and sanitizing equipment when returned. All staff and volunteers, including interns, participate in daily cleaning of all high-touch surfaces, and participate in weekly deep-clean of work spaces.
Specific internship activities may vary from year to year, depending on park needs and priorities. In 2021, duties will include:
Non-native Species Management (35%). Interns will: (1) Work with park staff to control invasive, non-native plant species within the parks; (2) Map the distribution of high priority invasive plants and treatment areas inside the parks; (3) Remove the non-native, invasive Rusty Crayfish from Valley Creek using nets; (4) Complete data collection, data entry, and implement quality assurance/quality control procedures for conservation projects; (6) Work closely with volunteers and/or summer high school crews on projects to remove non-native plants and animals; Interns may (1) Work with partners to control non-native, invasive plants on lands outside park boundaries; (2) work with the NPS-Exotic Plant Management Team. These activities will primarily involve manual control methods (e.g. mowing, hand pulling, cutting) requiring the use of hand tools (mechanized and non-mechanized). Opportunity to learn and participate in the safe application of chemical herbicides may be offered in specialized circumstances and according to regulations.
Independent Project (30%). Interns will work with Natural Resource staff to develop an independent project to be completed during the internship experience. Past projects include assessment of the relative abundance of crayfish species in Valley Creek, assessment of tree seedling regeneration in established vegetation monitoring plots, development of curriculum-based lesson plans, and research related to historical meadow management practices in the park. Individual interests will be considered when developing projects however projects will be selected based upon the needs of the parks. This summer, projects may include general reptile and amphibian surveys, meadow wildflower inventories, Box Turtle population assessment, invasive plant inventory, and evaluation of the distribution and relative abundance of crayfish species.
Wildlife and Vegetation Management (15%). Interns will: (1) Locate, assess, and repair protective fencing within forests and along riparian buffers; (2) Map the distribution of high priority plant species; (3) Install and maintain fencing to protect rare plant populations; (4) Contribute to the collection of data related to white-tailed deer (e.g. morphology, presence of chronic wasting disease); (5) Maintain tree shelters; (6) Assist NPS and partner scientists with research being conducted in the parks; and (7) Participate in the maintenance and care of plants in the park greenhouse.
Trails Management (5%). Interns may: (1) Work with park staff and/or partners to maintain
trails both inside the parks and on nearby partner sites, including clearing, mowing, vine
removal, and installation of water management structures such as waterbars.
Water Resources (5%). Interns will: (1) Participate in implementation of conservation
projects (e.g. streambank stabilization, tree plantings) conducted by members of the Valley
Creek Partnership; (2) Assist with the collection of long-term water quality monitoring data;
and (3) Participate in river clean-up days and other organized volunteer events.
Natural Resource Interpretation (5%). Interns may: (1) Contribute to development of park
informational brochures on natural resources; (2) Assist with development and installation of “on-the-spot” messages for park trails; and (3) Assist with delivery of a variety of natural resource interpretive programs.
Park Planning (5%). Interns will to attend and participate in a variety of planning efforts related to natural resources (e.g. Valley Creek Partnership meetings, Valley Creek Streambank Stabilization Plan/EA), participate in meetings with resource professionals, and assist with filing, photocopying, and general office organization (limited).
● Dorm-style housing provided if not a local resident. Office is within walking/biking distance of housing.
● Vehicle provided for use during work (private vehicle recommended for personal use if living in park).
● NPS volunteer t-shirt and baseball cap provided.
● Training related to specific activities as well as general park operations and management
of the National Park System provided.
● Experience in the National Park Service conducting work that will serve as a foundation for future employment
● Major in a field related to the biological sciences (e.g. wildlife and fisheries science, biology, forestry, environmental science, etc.) with a minimum GPA of 2.5. Preference juniors and seniors.
● Must possess a valid driver’s license
● Ability to work independently and as part of a team
● Excellent oral and written communication skills
● Applicants must pass a criminal background check which requires fingerprinting by park law enforcement or your local police department prior to start date.
●Experience working with Microsoft Office products (e.g. Word, Excel, Powerpoint), Geographic Information Systems (e.g. ArcGIS), and experience with global positioning systems.
●Spanish language skills
Activities will require the ability to hike up to 5-7 miles per day across varied terrain and to operate basic mechanical and electronic equipment (e.g. weed whip, gps unit, etc.) and may include exposure to extreme weather conditions, herbicides, poisonous plants, stinging and biting insects and wild animals.
Please mail or email your complete application packet to:
Valley Forge National Historical Park
Attn: Kate Jensen
1400 North Outer Line Drive
King of Prussia, PA 19406