Environmental Education Intern

Expected Dates
March 29, 2021 to March 27, 2022
Valle de Oro National Wildlife Refuge
Position ID
Position Description:
During this year long position, the SCA intern will assist with education and outreach efforts at Valle de Oro National Wildlife Refuge and with the Friends of Valle de Oro National Wildlife Refuge. Duties at Valle de Oro NWR will consist of assisting refuge staff with its high school intern mentorship program, field trip and classroom visits with local schools (k-12), assisting visitors at the front desk, and with weekend outreach and service events, on and off site of the refuge. With the Friends of Valle de Oro NWR the SCA intern will support the organizations new ABQ Backyard Refuge Program, its effort to help Albuquerque residents develop mini wildlife refuges in their backyards to connect to our network of public lands.  Additionally, the SCA Intern will help the Friends of Valle de Oro NWR with outreach and volunteer efforts, including its annual events, volunteer service days, and the development of its online and brick-and-mortar Nature Store to promote the Refuge and the Friends. The intern will also work to facilitate collaboration between the two organizations and help out with other tasks and projects as needed.

Site Description:
Valle de Oro National Wildlife Refuge was established in 2012 on the 570-acre former Price’s dairy property in Albuquerque, NM adjacent to the Rio Grande in the South Valley, and is the first and only urban wildlife refuge in the southwest.  Urban refuges are those located within 25 miles of a population of 250,000+ and they not only protect wildlife and habitat, but serve as easily accessible places for city residents to learn about nature, connect with or deepen their connections with the natural world through environmental education and outdoor recreation opportunities.  The Refuge is currently undergoing restoration with plans in place for Bosque, grassland and upland restoration, wetlands, trails, bird blinds, overlooks, outdoor classrooms and a visitor center. Depending upon funding, we anticipate the visitor center will be completed within the next year, and habitat restoration will take place over the next 5-20 years. Valle de Oro is already a field trip destination for environmental education and interpretive programming. 

As part of the National Wildlife Refuge system, Valle de Oro NWR is both connected to a whole system of wildlife habitats across the country and rooted in our local community. One of the key ways the Refuge is rooted in the community is through the nonprofit support group for the Refuge, the Friends of Valle de Oro NWR.  Originally founded by a small group of community members in 2011 to assist in the establishment of the Refuge, the Friends were instrumental in advocating for and safeguarding the 570-acre former dairy farm that became Valle de Oro NWR in 2012.  The Friends now work to help shape and support Valle de Oro NWR as it conducts its environmental education and interpretive programs, community outreach and engagement efforts, and begins restoration work and construction of its visitor and environmental education center and related facilities.  From supporting student field trip transportation and education programming, to raising the Refuge’s profile, managing volunteers and its own programs, and raising funds for Refuge projects and facilities, the Friends invest in people and wildlife. Through restoring native habitat on these 570 acres so close to Downtown Albuquerque, as well as working collaboratively with the community it serves, Valle de Oro National Wildlife Refuge and the Friends of Valle de Oro NWR are championing a new conservation ethic for the future. 

Position Requirements:  
  • Requires SCA intern to have transportation
  • Requires SCA intern to have a computer

Compensation Amounts:

  • $1,100- round trip travel allowance (one time)
  • $500 - monthly housing allowance (intern responsible for identifying own housing)
  • $160 - weekly living allowance
  • $6,195-AmeriCorps eligible Education Award
  • Health insurance (if elected)

*All allowances subject to applicable federal, state, and local taxes

*It is SCA’s policy that all AmeriCorps-required background checks must return cleared results prior to the position’s start; this includes being fingerprinted for the FBI check. Otherwise, the AmeriCorps award will be removed or the position’s start date will be delayed due to non-compliance.

  • On a former dairy farm just a few miles south of New Mexico’s largest metropolitan area, the refuge works to create a conservation stewardship legacy by working with community partners to establish a 21st century conservation ethic and reconnect people, especially young people, to the natural world. The new refuge was established due to the partnership efforts of many in the community that recognized the importance of having a wildlife refuge in this urban setting.

    Valle de Oro offers a unique environmental education and recreation opportunity in a highly populated area while promoting a wildlife conservation message. It is part of the National Wildlife Refuge System, a national network of lands and waters managed for the benefit of wildlife, habitat and you.

    The Sandia Mountain Natural History Center is located in Cedar Crest, NM just 22 miles from downtown Albuquerque on the eastern slopes of the Sandia Mountains. The Center is at 6900 feet in elevation with a temperate climate. The pinon juniper woodlands of the high New Mexico desert are bathed in over 300 days of sunshine each year. New Mexico’s unique blend of Native American, Hispanic and Anglo cultures combine for an interesting life experience.

    New Mexico is an outdoor person’s paradise. The Sandia Mountains alone have over 200 miles worth of trails that are perfect for hiking, mountain biking and cross country skiing. The Rio Grande River, running through Albuquerque, provides even more recreational opportunities. New Mexico is home to 5 National Forests, 15 National Park sites, 9 Wildlife Refuges and 35 State Parks. The University of New Mexico, the state’s largest university, is located in Albuquerque. By virtue of this position’s affiliation with the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science, you will have free access to all state museums and monuments.

  • Most of the training provided is on the job and hands on. There may be opportunities for First Aid, CPR and Wilderness First Aid.
  • No
Main Area of Focus
Education and Interpretation
Education, Training & Skills Expected
degree minor or extensive experience
some coursework or experience
some coursework or experience
some coursework or experience
Recreation Management
some coursework or experience
Social Media
competent with supervision
Community Engagement
competent with supervision
Public Speaking
competent without supervision
Trail Maintenance
some experience
Working with Children
competent without supervision