American Conservation Experience - EPIC & CORPS
  • National Park Service
  • Middlesboro, KY, USA
  • Internship
  • EPIC

Summary:  American Conservation Experience, a Non-Profit Conservation Corps, in partnership with Cumberland Gap National Historic Park is seeking TWO Natural Resource Management Interns interested in dedicating 44 weeks in support of the National Park Service.  The NRM Interns will be responsible for working on a variety of ongoing resource management projects conducted in the Park. 

This excellent opportunity is ideal for an enthusiastic young professional who is deeply committed to the preservation of our National Parks. Applicants must have strong interest in a career in natural resource management.


Start Date: Late August or Early September 2018(start date can be flexible for the right candidate)

End Date:  44 weeks after start date

*A 44-week minimum commitment is required*


Location:  Cumberland Gap National Historic Park (CUGA), which is located at the corners of Kentucky, Tennessee, and Virginia.  


The Park contains 24,000 acres of which 14,000 acres are proposed wilderness. The natural beauty of Appalachian mountain country, lush with vegetation, supports a diverse flora and fauna.  CUGA has 70 miles of hiking trails, mountains, streams, and caves. Middlesboro, Kentucky is the nearest town and is large enough to accommodate three grocery stores, fast food, several restaurants, and a movie theater.  Knoxville, Tennessee is approximately 1.5 hours away and many amenities of a large city.


Project Partner Website:  For more information regarding Cumberland Gap National Historic Park, or the National Park Service, please visit: more information on ACE, please visit:


Compensation:  The ACE intern will serve 40 hours/week and receive a living allowance of $250/week for food and incidentals. The Intern will be provided with a one-time equipment allowance of $200 for the purchase of field boots.  See below (housing section) for additional stipend information.

Housing: IFthere is room in the NPS dormitory it will be available to the intern and a stipend equivalent to its rent will be provided.  The intern may opt out of NPS housing in favor of their own rental location and a housing stipend of $700/month ($175/week) will be provided for a total stipend of $425/week.  

NOTE: it can be rather difficult to secure rental accommodations in the Middlesboro area.


AmeriCorps: This position may be eligible for a 900-hour AmeriCorps Education Award of ($2,907.50) or 2x 450-hour awards ($1,538.36 each) upon successful completion of internship hours. Additional enrollment is required.


Position Description:  The ACE intern will assist the Park's Resource Management staff, with a majority of their time spent in the field performing physically demanding tasks as assigned. Natural resource management duties will include:

  • exotic plant control
  • hemlock woolly adelgid control (~75-80% of time after the ginseng wraps up, see below)
  • bat monitoring
  • other wildlife monitoring 
  • ginseng monitoring as season allows

These interns must be physically able to handle the demands of the work.  Field work requires willingness and ability to work in all types of weather conditions year-round, hiking up to 8 miles a day carrying up to 40 pounds of gear on steep uneven terrain on and off trail.  The majority of this work will be off trail in the back country.  

The interns will be trained in the specific projects, methods and protocol and will be expected to work as a team to continue work on their own. Preference will be given to individuals with plant identification skills and/or experience in vegetation monitoring and data collection. See additional requirements below.


Approximately 75 - 80% of the fieldwork will be Hemlock Woolly Adelgid(HWA) control.  Learn more here.  These efforts are very physically demanding

  • Interns should be capable of hiking up to 8 miles a day carrying a 40 pound pack on and off trail in the mountainous terrain under a variety of weather conditions year round.
  • Should be comfortable navigating and hiking off trail with a GPS.
  • Backcountry camping off trail in very primitive conditions.  

This treatment is also performed off-trail and requires cross-country navigation through tangles of rhododendron, mountain laurel, and greenbriar, up-and-down steep slopes, crossing streams, carrying 2.5 gallon jugs of insecticide, measuring, treating, and marking individual trees, and repeating this process across large areas. Intern must be able to hike up to 8 miles a day carrying up to 40 lbs of gear in all weather conditions and in steep terrain.


Exotic plant controlat CUGA is most commonly accomplished by spraying herbicides.  There are two primary methods of exotic plant control performed CUGA:  

  • The first is foliar treatment with a backpack sprayer that carries two-three gallons of herbicide.  Foliar spraying large areas of exotic plants require Interns to carry this heavy load of herbicide, often in full sun, on slopes in difficult terrain.  
  • The second method requires cutting down shrubs and small trees with hand tools and then spraying the stumps with concentrated herbicide solution. 

The staff at CUGA is dedicated to providing Interns with diverse field experiences, while also providing guidance to develop professionalism and a solid understanding of the complexities of managing the resources of a National Historic Park.


Qualifications: Applicants must have a degree in a natural resource-based curriculum or other related disciplines. Or a combination of relevant education and appropriate field experience is also acceptable.  We are seeking a determined, detail-oriented person who is looking for experience in the National Park Service with an eye toward a career in Resource Management.


  • Internship is available to US Citizens and Permanent Residents only.
  • Must be 21-35 years of age; operation of agency vehicle will be required.
  • A valid driver's license and a clean driving record are required (documentation to be provided upon request). A personal vehicle is required.
  • Intern will be required to hike 5-10 miles per day while carrying up to 40 lbs of gear on uneven and steep terrain, on and off trail, bushwhacking in some cases through rhododendron, mountain laurel, and greenbriar.
  • Must be willing and able to perform the above fieldwork, including backcountry camping.
  • Must be able and comfortable with navigating off trail by maps and GPS units in the mountains.
  • Must be a mature and responsible individual.
  • Must be willing and able to serve in all weather conditions, from 90 degrees Fahrenheit and 90% humidity in full sun to freezing temps in winter.
  • Must be willing to use herbicides and insecticides and pass the Kentucky pesticide certification test to apply pesticides in forestry situations.
  • Must be able to serve in small a group setting, performing strenuous duties, while keeping a positive attitude.
  • Ability to undergo a federal criminal background check is required.



  • The NPS is interested in attracting candidates from diverse and underrepresented communities and backgrounds;
  • Knowledge of the interrelationships of various natural and cultural resources; for example, range, wildlife, soil, water, and minerals is desired.
  • Ability to communicate clearly with peer professionals and volunteers.
  • Ability to identification plants on sight or by using a dichotomous key.
  • Ability to serve independently in remote areas.
  • Strong desire to enter the public service field as a Natural Resources professional.


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 our website here:

NOTE: Early consideration will be given as applications are received. This position may close at any time. If you have any questions regarding this position, please feel free to contact ACE EPIC Nat'l Division Director, Peter Woodruff at (801) 989-7069 or


American Conservation Experience - EPIC & CORPS
  • Apply Now

  • * Fields Are Required

    What is your full name?

    How can we contact you?

    I agree to ApplicantPool's Applicant Information Use Policy.*
  • Sign Up For Job Alerts!

  • Share This Page