Welcome to SCA and your Conservation Internship! Based on reports from the thousands of interns who have served before you, you can expect to have a rewarding experience, full of personal and professional growth. Equally important, you will be making a vital contribution to the conservation efforts in the area in which you will be working.
This is your go-to resource for getting inspired, keeping track of logistics and making the most of your SCA experience. Print it out for use throughout your internship.
Activity Time Logs are your timesheets you use to report hours spent in service, training, fundraising and time off and/or sick time. Weekly completion of accurate and professional timesheets is required for your position including hours served each day and details/notes of work completed. Please note: Failure to submit Time Logs could result in suspension of your pay schedule. Please record your non-working hours as zero and write your status in the description. Non-working hours include sick leave, annual leave/PTO, and holidays.
All SCA programs involve some type of service to communities, partners, and the environment. Output Logs are how SCA collects information about the projects you complete during your term of service. It is critical that you submit accurate, complete output logs for your program. This information helps us tell the story of SCA’s collective, nationwide impact and report our successes to the partners and funders that make SCA programs possible.
- Output Logs are submitted in your MySCA online portal.
– Use a paper version of the output log in the field to track progress and ensure you have all the information needed to create an online output log.
- Submit one output log for each project completed.
– For discrete projects (ex. building a bridge) submit an output log each time you complete a project.
– For ongoing projects (ex. visitor outreach & education) submit an output log every two weeks.
- Create as many output logs as necessary to accurately capture your service accomplishments.
– If you are working with other SCA members on a project, only one person needs to complete the output log for the entire group to avoid duplicate data.
We encourage members and site supervisors to meet in the beginning and go over expectations and goals during the position. Please download this template to complete during the first week. One method we suggest to complete this worksheet is using SMART goals, that is Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Results-focused, and Time-focused. Feel free to also use this guide – How to Handle Me Memo.
If you’re interested learning about USFS careers, you can view a 2022 speaker session.
- Click here to view USFS Tips for Job Seekers.
- Click here to view USFS Hiring Eligibility and Qualifications.
- Click here to view USFS How to Write a Federal Resume.
- Click here to view USFS Guide to Navigating USA Jobs.
If your position includes reimbursable funds, they will be mentioned in your offer letter and the position announcement as duty-related travel and/or PPE/gear. Per your supervisor’s discretion, the funds can be used for gear, training, lodging, transportation, and food. In order to process a reimbursement, please follow the next steps:
- Talk with your supervisor about a list of potential items or services to buy during the duration of your position
- Email your supervisor for approval of items to purchase, and purchase them.
- Login to your SCA portal, click “Manage Service Tasks”, click “PO-#####, and click “Reimbursement”
- Upload a pdf or jpg file of the full receipt from the product or service you purchased. Upload a map with the total mileage for gas reimbursements (mileage rate is $0.655/mile)
- Upload all of the receipts into one reimbursement request, on a bi-weekly or monthly basis
- Forward the email with your supervisor approval to your SCA advisor so it can be processed
- Once processed, a payment will be scheduled into the next pay date and an email will be sent to share remaining funds.
- Note that reimbursements can’t be processed to be paid in the same week as the pay date and will be scheduled for the following pay date.
While conservation service work has inherent risks, the SCA and partners strive for the safest work environment possible. Should anything occur that may impact your personal safety or wellbeing, contact your SCA advisor as soon as possible. Your SCA advisor will submit an incident report to help you get the care you need and to engage with organizational resources to support you. In addition to your site’s policies, procedures, and other safety-related systems and processes, all SCA internships receive Worker’s Compensation for work-related injury and illness.
Working at SCA could mean working in very remote areas. Some of which might require flights or ferries to reach the nearest medical facility. In unforeseen circumstances, accidents can always happen. Please come prepared with enough available finances to cover any non-work related costs including but not limited to transportation, lodging, medical, and food. There are insurance options available that can help you during an unfortunate situation, such as DAN.
SCA provides interns with the following safety-related tools, as well:
- Intern Emergency Line: (571) 895-1799
SCA staff are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week in the event an intern experiences an unexpected emergency while serving in their position. Save this number in your phone at the start of your position (571) 895-1799. This number should be used if your SCA advisor is not available or if you need assistance outside of normal work hours. Including your SCA advisor or staff at this emergency number as early as possible ensures the SCA can enact organizational resources to support you. Always call 911 or emergency services, first, in the event of a life threatening emergency or if in immediate danger.
- Worker’s Compensation
Worker’s Compensation (WC) is additional insurance coverage that may apply to interns who are injured or ill at the workplace. WC is regulated by the state a worker’s employer or host site performs their duties. Reporting all work-related injuries and illnesses to your SCA advisor within 24 hours is essential to initiate a WC claim. WC claims are intended to help with the medical costs associated with each claim, however the amount of coverage is determined by SCA’s WC carrier.
- COVID-19 Response Plan
SCA’s COVID-19 Response Plan is designed to mitigate COVID related risks to SCA members, staff, and the communities in which the SCA serves. As the pandemic continues to evolve, SCA’s policies and procedures are assessed and updated. SCA’s COVID-19 strategy is informed by CDC guidance and in consultation with SCA’s medical advisor. More information on COVID-19-related policies can be found on the COVID-19 webpage, or ask your SCA advisor for a copy of the current set of national policies.
- Safety Resources
The public lands corps act provides you the opportunity to work in federal lands, and to apply to the hiring authority. Please watch this training video for more information. Your service hours can be a cumulation to reach 640. Work hours don’t include sick or holiday time. The last day of your completed service will be the first day on your certification to start applying for federal jobs. Please attach both the form and certification on USAJobs.
- If you worked with BLM: Complete this form and have it signed by your site supervisor and your SCA advisor. The regional youth coordinator will provide you with the certification.
- If you worked with FWS: Please review these instructions and complete the PLC form. The regional youth coordinator will provide you with the certification.
- If you worked with the NPS: Please review these instructions and complete the PLC form. You will then email it with your site supervisor and SCA advisor. The regional youth coordinator will provide you with the certification.
- If you worked with FS: Click here for more information (you need to be logged into a USDA network computer), your site supervisor will process a form and the district ranger will provide you with the certification. Click here for a USAJobs/PLC training.
SCA Network and Social Media
- Join The SCA Network, SCA’s professional development and mentoring site
- Do you enjoy telling stories? Please submit any digital content of your choice (video, pictures, writing, etc.) with your SCA advisor for consideration to SCA’s social media pages or web pages. Please keep the following guidelines in mind when submitting content:
- Videos: landscape/horizontal mode, 60-90 seconds, narration, b-roll, two intern-conversation
- Pictures: work action stills, show uniform, provide picture description,
- Theme: convey emotions, favorite project, biggest challenge, biggest success, personal impact, career plans,
- Connect with SCA on social media
Your SCA position might make you eligible for Food Stamps. If interested, reach out to your work state for more information. Your SCA advisor can provide you with a letter of stipend for processing.
Connect with your SCA Advisor
Your SCA Advisor is here to support you and help guide you on your internship journey. If you have any questions about your internship that cannot be addressed through the resources above, reach out to them with your question. SCA Advisors are also great resources for you as you think about what kind of career you are thinking about and how you can translate your internship experience into your next career steps.