American Conservation Experience: Professional Development (Short Term) Forestry Internship
Southwest Parks and Refuges
*Please note: this position description is identical to the recently advertised longer term (6 month) position. ACE has decided to offer a 3 month position as well. Please see below for application instructions.
Summary: American Conservation Experience, a Non-Profit Conservation Corps based in Flagstaff, AZ is seeking Professional Development Forestry Interns to dedicate three months to working on a combination of trails and chainsaw projects with the US Forest Service and various other land management agencies. This opportunity is intended for enthusiastic young adults with a background in an environmental field and a dedicated interest in pursuing a career with the US Forest Service or other land management agency. These volunteer internships provide the opportunity to learn and train among professional mentors in pursuit of a chainsaw certification and the execution of significant conservation and land management objectives throughout the Southwest. Professional Development Forestry Interns will also gain leadership skills while helping to supervise, train, and generally support ACE volunteers who are rotated into long term projects. In addition to providing housing for off days, all interns will receive a $110 per week living allowance.
Start date: September 4, 2010
End date: November 27, 2010
A minimum 3 month commitment is required. Possibility exists to extend internship term.
Location: Flagstaff, AZ with travel to various project locations.
Interns will be given accommodation at one of ACE’s volunteer houses in Flagstaff, Arizona where they will return for their off days when not staying in the field. The actual location of project sites will vary throughout the internship.
Possibilities include, but are not limited to:
- Tamarisk eradication for US Fish and Wildlife in Yuma, Arizona and at multiple nature refuges in New Mexico.
- Tamarisk eradication for the Bureau of Indian Affairs at multiple sites on the Navajo Reservation.
- A six week long backcountry trails project on one of the “Sky Islands” of Coronado National Forest in Southeastern Arizona.
- Various trails projects on the Dixie National Forest in southern Utah.
- New trail construction on the Cleveland Forest near San Diego, California.
Work is labor intensive and strenuous, performed outdoors in remote high desert terrain. Interns may work and operate equipment in adverse conditions that include extended exposure to Arizona’s summer monsoon thunderstorms, sun, heat, wind, rain, loud noise, uneven terrain, mud, rattlesnakes, scorpions, and various stinging or biting insects.
Project Background and Objectives:
Tamarisk Eradication – Tamarisk, also known as Salt Cedar, is an exotic tree species found along water corridors. Its continued spread further damages the southwest’s already denuded riparian areas by aggressively outcompeting native species, reducing habitat for several endangered species, choking waterways, and creating highly saline soil through deposited leaf litter. ACE will be eradicating tamarisk groves by cutting down individual trees with chainsaws and treating the root balls with an agricultural pesticide to prevent the tree from regenerating. All interns will be given training and certifications in chain saw use and maintenance along with a pesticide applicators license while working to ensure the integrity of these ecosystems.
Backcountry Trails – Located in southeastern Arizona, Coronado National Forest consists of so-called “Sky Islands”; mountain ranges separated from each other by vast stretches of barren desert. The area is one of the few places in the Southwest with a healthy black bear population and has many unique species indigenous to particular mountain formations. ACE will primarily be working to install and maintain trail structures and corridor in mountainous terrain with a premium placed on high quality work that will enable the trails of Coronado to be sustainable and long lasting.
Dixie National Forest is another large forest just north of Flagstaff, stretching throughout much of southern Utah and surrounding several famous National Parks such as Zion and Bryce Canyon. Projects in this region typically focus on enabling horses and pack stock to safely travel through remote areas and rugged terrain. Project work is along much the same lines as in Coronado, namely repairing and maintaining existing trails and related structures.
New Trail Construction – Project work on the Cleveland National Forest near San Diego, California has ACE crews building a new, sustainable trail to replace failed existing trail. This project is a showcase of modern trail building techniques and is part of a much larger watershed-wide attempt to mitigate trail impact and reduce the proliferation of social trails. Interns can expect to be engaged in large scale stonework construction, building retaining walls to support switchbacks on breathtaking vistas.
Internship Major Duties and Expectations:
Professional Development Forestry Interns will support ACE, the US Forest Service, and other agency staff on projects. Typical duties include:
- Assisting ACE and agency staff with the construction of a variety of advanced trail structures such as stone staircases, dry stone retaining walls, rock check dams, waterbars, etc. Interns will also assist ACE staff in routine trail maintenance duties such as brushing trails, outsloping tread and clearing drainage structures.
- Demonstrating safe and effective chainsaw use and application of pesticide.
- Completing work tasks as instructed by ACE staff, keeping daily work log and demonstrate proper work procedures and methods while working in the field with or near other volunteer groups.
- Following strict guidelines in making safety a priority, including the responsible use of personal protective gear and insuring that all tools, equipment, vehicles and other co-workers are working safely in all conditions.
- Following instructions from all ACE, USFS, and other agency staff and understanding and respecting all wilderness regulations and policies.
- Working with a professional demeanor as a part of a team. Good public communication skills are a must.
Qualifications: Applicants for ACE’s Professional Development Forestry Internship must be between the ages of 18 and 35, have an established interest in conservation issues and/or a background in Forestry or similar field, and should take evident joy in tackling challenging situations with a positive mindset. Applicants must be willing to undertake arduous physical work in all types of weather and terrain, and to participate as a team member, dedicated to ACE’s mission. Preference will be given to former and graduating ACE volunteers, graduated members of other conservation corps, and those with a history of committed engagement in similar volunteer and outdoors activities.
ACE’s Professional Development Forestry Program is meant as a stepping stone to environmental careers and as a gateway to potential advancement within ACE, not only as an interesting and rewarding way to spend 6 months working in beautiful locations. Drug users, including recreational smokers of marijuana, should not consider applying, as ACE reserves the right to require drug testing and generally abhors the presence of drug users in our program.
Desired Knowledge and Skills:
- Familiarity and/or desire to learn how to operate a chainsaw.
- Familiarity and/or desire to learn how to operate tools to perform trail work including, but not limited to rock bar, single jack, shovel, fire rake, axe, brushing sheers, and other trail maintenance tools.
- Ability and/or desire to experience trail maintenance work, including but not limited to; cribbing walls, turnpikes, drainage dips, swales, installation of water bars, retaining walls, removal of brush and vegetation.
- Desire and ability to work outdoors and hike long distances, at times in inclement weather and terrain. Willingness to perform strenuous physical activity such as frequent bending and lifting and caring heavy weights.
- Willingness to spend up to six consecutive weeks in the backcountry.
- Internship is available to US Citizens and Green Card holders only.
- Interns must have personal medical insurance for the duration of their participation with ACE.
- ACE will provide tents to all interns (upon request) but all other camping items such as sturdy boots, sleeping bags, backpacks, and raingear must be provided by successful applicants.
- Dorm-style, shared room housing is provided on off days with up to 6 weeks of consecutive camping on project sites as a possibility.
- A living allowance of $110 per week is provided by ACE.
- Food is provided on project days.Opportunity to gain a working knowledge of stone masonry, trail construction, pesticide application, and chain saw use.
- Opportunity to pursue training and education opportunities through ACE, USFS, and other land management agencies.
- Opportunities to work with ACE volunteers from diverse backgrounds
- Opportunity to become a steward of America’s public lands.
- Opportunity to meet other men and women that share a common interest in preserving and protecting our natural lands.
Positions available immediately and open until filled. Please apply ASAP.
Please email a resume and cover letter along with 3 professional references to email@example.com  with “Short Term Forestry Internship - SCA referred” in the subject heading of your email.