Natural Resource Interpretation and Visitor Services Assistant

Website Shenandoah National Park

Please apply HERE

Dates: May 23, 2022 – Aug 4, 2022

Compensation: $600/week + Housing

Application Due: February 6, 2022

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

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

The Latino Heritage Internship Program (LHIP) seeks to engage young Latino/Latina professionals in natural and cultural resource research and management, interpretation, and public affairs.

 

Position Description: This intern will be an integral part of operations at Dickey Ridge Visitor Center in Shenandoah National Park, responsible for working alongside other staff in helping our visitors develop a greater understanding of Shenandoah National Park’s significance, encouraging safe travel in the park, and inspiring stewards of the park’s resources.  The majority of the intern’s time will be split between 3 major work duties fairly equally- formal resource interpretation programming, visitor center staffing, and informal interpretation/visitor contact in the field.

Duties:

(30%) For formal interpretive programming, the participant will present at least 2 different interpretive programs or projects.  One will be an ongoing, independently researched and original, thematic interpretive program (such as a guided walk or talk) about the Park’s significance to a wide variety of audiences. The other program will either be another in-person program, assistance at a special park event, or a virtual program on our park’s virtual program platforms like Facebook/YouTube.  This second program/project can be original or on a predetermined topic already designed by park staff and may be a team-oriented project. All programs will focus on the park’s natural and cultural resources, emerging critical issues such as climate change and preservation of night skies, and/or other relevant park topics. Our programs are given at various park locations including campgrounds, trails, visitor centers, and historic buildings and range in length from 20 minutes to 1.5 hours. Audience sizes can vary from 2 to 50+ people.

(30%) At visitor centers the intern will help staff an information desk or station to provide orientation, education, and safety messages to visitors.

(30%) The final third of the intern’s time will be spent providing informal interpretation and education during fixed station and roving assignments including on trails, picnic grounds, and visitor use areas.  The intern may also participate in special programs and events and contribute to park publications and social media, depending on park need and the intern’s interest and experience.

The intern will receive at least 40 hours of formal training in interpretive skills, customer service, safety, park orientation and significance, and natural and cultural resources; plus 40 hours of on-the-job training in presenting interpretive programs and in visitor center, roving, and other park operations.  Training will be a combination of in-person and online/virtual training conducted on-site.  Participant will have the opportunity to shadow experienced staff in all major duties of the internship while the intern’s supervisor will provide one-on-one mentoring and coaching throughout the season.

The participant will be given the opportunity to include their personal and professional experiences and knowledge in developing their program/project, when contributing to the park’s media efforts, and while conducting educational/interpretive roving contacts with visitors in the field.

While gaining the unique experience of working and living in a National Park and learning about park operations and management, the intern will also be provided with some tools for success should they wish to pursue a career in the National Park Service or similar public land management agencies.  They will be given the opportunity to learn about various work groups and the duties of different park staff, how to build a resume and application that conforms to NPS standards, and how to apply for various park and other publics land positions.

Natural and Physical Work Environment: Shenandoah National Park lies along the crest of the Blue Ridge Mountains in north central Virginia. The park consists of more than 197,000 acres of mountains, forests, meadows and streams including 79,579 acres of designated wilderness. The major access route through the park is the 105-mile-long Skyline Drive which provides opportunities for outstanding views of the Shenandoah Valley and the Piedmont from Skyline Drive’s numerous overlooks. There are more than 500 miles of hiking trails including 101 miles of the Appalachian National Scenic Trail. Historic sites in the park include Rapidan Camp, the historic “summer white house” of President Herbert Hoover.
Weather is variable throughout the season from cold, winter-like conditions in early May to hot, humid summer conditions in June, July and August. Temperatures are usually 8-10 degrees cooler on the mountain than they are in the surrounding lowland areas. Rain and thunderstorms are likely in the summer and some can be severe.
Depending on the location of the participant’s housing, the distance to the nearest large grocery stores, pharmacies, post offices, doctor’s offices, etc. ranges from 5-25 miles with large urban areas within a 60-minute drive.
Although the closest local rural communities do not have large residential year-round Latino communities and neighborhoods, we do welcome many Latino visitors to the park from the greater surrounding areas to include visitors using English as a second language. Within a 45-90-minute drive there are several large urban areas with diverse local communities and neighborhoods to include Harrisonburg and Charlottesville to the South and the Washington D.C metro area to the Northeast. There are migrant-worker communities in the fruit picking areas of the Shenandoah Valley to the west and North of the park, including Latinos, and some of these families have children attending the local schools and using the park for recreation and for school educational fieldtrips. The intern’s ability to provide a more diverse representation at visitor centers, on trails, and conducting educational programs would be helpful in welcoming our Latino visitors and other diverse audiences as well as provide our staff the opportunity to learn from the intern’s engagement and experiences to provide better educational and interpretive opportunities now and in the future.

Abilities and Skills:

  • Good public speaking skills is crucial, as is a desire to work with the public.
  • Proficiency with computers and basic office equipment is essential.
  • A desire to work both indoors in an office setting and outdoors in the natural environment, in varying climate and terrain, in order to share stewardship of the park’s resources and values while hiking and exploring the park while interacting with the visiting public.
  • Flexibility in work schedule and duties, to include daytime and evening shifts, various duties each day and throughout the day, and a willingness to work with different coworkers daily to achieve a common goal.
  • Spanish language fluency, although not required, would be a great benefit to the program in providing additional services and relevancy to our visitors.

Education and Qualifications:

  • Participant will have upper-level college coursework in natural and/or cultural resources and science in related subject matter like archaeology, paleontology, history, ecology, geology, wildlife biology, botany, evolution, climate change, earth science, and environmental studies.
  • Be a U.S. citizen or U.S. permanent legal resident (“green-card-holder”) between the ages of 18 and 35 years old.
  • A valid driver’s license with a good driving record
  • Willingness to submit to a standard background investigation as per National Park Service regulations.

Vehicle and Driver License Requirements:

Applicants should have personal transportation and must possess a valid U.S. Driver’s License.

Housing: Housing provided

To apply for this job please visit environmentamericas.org.

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