American Conservation Experience - EPIC & CORPS
  • National Park Service
  • Tucson, AZ, USA
  • Internship
  • EPIC

Summary:  American Conservation Experience (ACE), a Nonprofit Conservation Corps, in partnership with Saguaro National Park in southern Arizona is seeking x6 Vegetation Management Interns to dedicate up 21 weeks working directly with the Saguaro NP Natural Resource staff mainly exploring the field of invasive plant monitoring and management in the southwest. 

These opportunities are intended for enthusiastic, emerging professionals with a background in ecology, botany, biology, natural resource management, or a closely related field, who possess a deep interest in advancing their career goals through hard work and commitment to the Saguaro National Park's professional staff and amazing biological resources.


Start Date:  June 2018 (exact start date YTBD)

End Date:  December 2018 (or 21 weeks from start date)

*A 21-week minimum commitment is required*


Location: Saguaro National Park - Tucson, Arizona


Project Website:  For more information about the park please visit their website at: For more information regarding American Conservation Experience:

Compensation:  The ACE interns will be expected to serve a minimum of 40hrs/week and receive a $480/week (gross) living stipend for food, incidentals and housing. Housing will not be provided and should be secured in/around the great Tucson area.  The living stipend is paid out bi-weekly.

AmeriCorps: This position may be eligible for a 675-hour ($2907.50) AmeriCorps Education Award.  Additional enrollment is required, and the award would be received upon successful completion of the service hours, and internship.


Position Description: ACE interns will be working in Saguaro National Park's Science and Resource Management Division with the majority of the duties associated with invasive plant control. Duties will also include backcountry surveys for non-native plants, springs/wetlands, cultural resources, and forest health indicators.  Interns will be a member of a team made up of biologists, biological technicians, volunteers, and other interns. The work site will be both districts of Saguaro National Park in Tucson. ACE interns will be provided training in plant identification, plant removal, herbicide use and mixing, mapping with GPS and GIS, data collection, specialized backcountry survey techniques, etc.  Backcountry work will be done in the upper elevations of the park (up to 8,600') and involve camping. 


Invasive Plant Control: 

This work is primarily manual and chemical treatment of invasive plants. Safety and herbicide training will be provided. For chemical applications, interns will be required to work with approved concentrated herbicides and diluted solutions. Interns will be required by law to follow all appropriate safety guidelines and wear appropriate personal protective equipment. The work is both along roads and trails, however the majority of projects are in the backcountry.

ACE Interns may be involved in ongoing or new monitoring associated with herbicides and invasive plants within the Park.

The interns will map localized infestations and areas treated by the Invasive Plant Management team. Work includes knowledge and use of GPS, Trimble handheld computer, and GIS software (ArcMap) to record, enter, and process data. Trimbles and GPS units will also be used for navigation while in the field.


Work hours: 

Due to summer weather conditions, work will begin at 5:00am once the official season starts (mid-July). The typical work schedule are four 9-10 hour days, followed by three days off. Occasional weekend/evening work is required.


Physical requirements: 

Hiking on and off-trail up to 10 miles per day with a heavy backpack for carrying herbicide, safety equipment, drinking water (min 3 liters), food, and data recording equipment. Elevation changes during a work day may vary from less than 1,000' ft up to 5,000'. Terrain may be steep, rocky, loose, or slippery.  For the majority of the day, interns will be on their feet either hiking, spraying herbicide, pulling, or digging. Use of hand tools to plant native vegetation and to remove invasive plants will be required. There will be frequent lifting of objects over 40 pounds.  

All work will be conducted under harsh environmental conditions (summer heat and humidity, monsoons, lightning exposure, minimal shade, remote locations). Incumbent will experience frequent encounters with reptiles, insects, mammals, cacti, and other thorny vegetation. 


A Day in the Life: Invasive Plant Management team

"As part of the invasive plant management team at Saguaro National Park, ACE interns will be working side by side with experienced biological science techs to manage invasive buffelgrass (check out using manual and chemical control. When the buffelgrass greens up in response to the monsoon rains, herbicides administered through backpack sprayers are the weapon of choice. Unfortunately the timing occurs during the scorching summer months of July-September.  Interns will experience early morning starts, daytime temperatures exceeding 100 degrees many days, cacti that seemingly jump onto you, and rough, steep terrain. While the job is physically and mentally demanding, the rewards are endless. The Sonoran Desert is truly a magical place, and as an ACE intern, will experience that first hand."

 -ACE EPIC Intern Brian, from 2015 Season


Qualifications: Applicants for the position must hold a minimum of a bachelor's degree and/or experience in environmental science, botany, ecosystem restoration, biological sciences, natural resource management, park management, landscape architecture, forestry, or a related discipline.  The interns must be resourceful, adaptable, and able to work comfortably alone or in a group. 


  • Must be a US Citizen and Permanent Resident
  • Must be between the ages of 18 to 35 
  • Must be able to communicate clearly and concisely with resource professionals within NPS
  • Must have a valid driver's license; clean driving record, and the ability to provide documentation
  • A personal vehicle is required as it is difficult to secure reliable rides for groceries or other activities that you wish to engage in during off hours
  • Deep interest in ecology and respect for nature 
  • Must have a desire to gain a deeper understanding and relationship with the Southwest and understand what it takes to manage our country's most revered natural places
  • Must be physically fit for outdoor work in all types of inclement weather 
  • Must be able to carry and lift up to 50 pounds and work on steep and rough terrain in the backcountry of the park
  • Interest in invasive species management or related experience
  • English proficiency required


  • Effective communication skills with all ages and diverse audiences
  • Knowledge and understanding of botany and plant taxonomy, including plant identification and use of dichotomous keys
  • Experience with invasive species management/control
  • Knowledge and ability utilizing GIS/GPS equipment in the field
  • Ability to work alone or in a group
  • Degree or significant coursework in botany, ecology, natural resource management, environmental science, geography, or closely related field as they relate to the positions noted

The interns must be willing to represent ACE and the partner organization in a professional, positive, and enthusiastic manner. Drug users should not consider applying, as ACE reserves the right to require drug testing.


To Apply: Please submit a thoughtful resume and cover letter along with three professional references using the APPLY NOW section located on the upper right-hand corner of the position listing on the ACE website:

NOTE: Early consideration will be given as applications are received. This posting may close at any time. If you have any questions regarding this position, please feel free to contact ACE EPIC NPS Recruitment Specialist Zoe Moskwa at

American Conservation Experience - EPIC & CORPS
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