Fish & Feathers Intern

Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Start Date: May 15, 2023

End Date: August 4, 2023

**All Fish & Feathers interns must attend the mandatory pre-internship workshop from May 15 – 19, 2023**

Compensation: $600/week + housing

Application Due: February 6th, 2023

The Fish & Feathers Program seeks to engage ethnically and racially diverse young professionals in natural resource careers.

Must be a U.S. citizen or legal resident.

All interns must be fully vaccinated for covid-19 prior to the start of their internship.

Please Apply HERE

Position Description:

Fish and Feathers is a program funded by the National Park Service (NPS) and administered by Environment for the Americas. Our goal is to provide our national park partners with talented interns who are eager to learn and to engage with local communities. The intern will focus on supporting, implementing, and leading community outreach programs that focus on fishing and birding activities. The overall goal is to increase diverse community engagement with NPS partners during the program and in years to come.


  • Reach out to local communities through outreach and educational activities to increase engagement in fishing and birdwatching
  • Create new materials (i.e., social media, educational games/activities, signage, etc.) to provide visitors with information about fish and birds at the NPS site
  • Understand regulations regarding fishing and ethical birding and communicate this information to participants
  • Establish or build upon fishing and birding programs at the NPS site
  • Manage and maintain program equipment
  • Meet deadlines for Environment for the Americas program requirements 


  • Ability to hike long distances and conduct field operations as part of a team and/or independently in an outdoor setting.
  • Experience giving presentations and ability to learn new skills and transfer the knowledge to participants.
  • Interest in learning fishing regulations and bird identification for program development and implementation.
  • Ability to learn methods employed in fish and wildlife management.
  • Strong interpersonal, oral, listening, and written communication skills.
  • Interest in learning new skills such as rafting, canoeing, and kayaking.


Successful candidates will have a background and/or coursework in the following areas or a strong interest in the outdoors with experience fishing and/or birdwatching.

  • Biology
  • Fisheries and Wildlife Sciences
  • Ecology
  • Aquaculture
  • Communications/Marketing
  • Environmental Science
  • Recreation
  • Interpretation/Education

About this site:

Hundreds of millions of years ago, before dinosaurs roamed the earth, the Appalachian Mountains sprung forth. Older than bone, these elders are witness to half a billion years of life. Today, Great Smoky Mountains National Park straddles the border of Tennessee and North Carolina and is the largest mountainous park east of the Mississippi River, and one of the most visited units managed by the National Park Service. The park encompasses more than 800 square miles of these ancient mountains that exhibit the finest example of the ruggedness, magnitude, height, and scenic grandeur of the southern Appalachian Mountains, including 16 peaks over 6,000 feet. It was one of the first UNESCO World Heritage Sites and is an International Biosphere Reserve.

The Smokies are world-renowned for the diversity of its plant and animal life, beautiful scenery, and the size and integrity of the wilderness sanctuary within its boundaries, where hikers can experience over 800 miles of trails. With more than 19,000 species documented in the park, no other area of equal size in a temperate climate can match the park’s diversity of plants, animals, and invertebrates. Great Smoky Mountains National Park also celebrates the rich cultural tapestry of Southern Appalachian mountain culture. Humans have lived here for more than 9,000 years, and the park preserves diverse archaeological sites and historic structures, including one of the largest collections of Appalachian log structures.

Here in the South District, we provide interpretation and visitor services for the entire NC side of the park. You’ll work with a diverse team including several permanent rangers, four seasonals, 3-4 interns, and over 150 volunteers. We constantly look to strengthen our community partnerships and overall lend a JEDAI (justice, equity, diversity, accessibility, and inclusion) lens to the work we do. This position will be based at the Oconaluftee Visitor Center, near Cherokee, NC. OVC receives up to 500,000 visitors per year, or about 3,000 visitors/day during peak season. We experience the highest concentration of visitation in June, July, August, and October. In 2021, a record-breaking 14.1 million people visited Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

The intern will support the Smokies by presenting interpretation and education on birding and fishing for the public in various parts of the park through programs such as fly fishing, snorkeling, bird walks, and Junior Ranger Angler, to encourage interest and stewardship. The intern will have opportunities to explore a career with the National Park Service and understand the greater impacts of public stewardship by working with other divisions in the park, including backpacking in the backcountry, electro-shock fishing with fisheries, banding birds with our wildlife biologists, conducting curriculum-based programs on macroinvertebrates, such as Stream Splashers, and much more. The intern will help to continue building relationships with external partners, such as the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians Department of Natural Resources, to provide the intern with exposure to community-based indigenous youth programs as well as scientific research happening in the local area. In addition to birding and fishing, these programs and partnerships will provide the intern with the opportunity to gain greater understanding about how water and air quality impact overall stream health and ecosystem viability across the park and beyond.

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