American Conservation Experience - EPIC & CORPS
  • US Fish and Wildlife Service
  • TX, USA
  • Internship
  • EPIC

Summary:  American Conservation Experience, a Nonprofit Conservation Corps, in partnership with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is seeking TWO Wildlife Biology / Invasive Species Interns to commit 26 and 52 weeks assisting the USFWS in preventing the extinction and aiding in the recovery of the Attwater's prairie chicken (APC) at Attwater Prairie Chicken National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) in southeast Texas.

This opportunity is intended for enthusiastic young professionals with a deep interest in advancing their career goals in wildlife, natural resources and/or vegetation management on our public lands.  The purpose of the internship is to perform a variety of biological technical duties in support of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's (USFWS) field projects pertaining to the critically endangered APC.

Start Date: October/early November 2018

End Date:   April/May  2019 (26 weeks from the start date) and  October 2019 (52 weeks from the start date)

*A 26-week commitment is required for this position*

Location:  Attwater Prairie Chicken National Wildlife Refuge (NWR), Texas.

Project Website: For more information about the Attwater Prairie Chicken National Wildlife Refuge, and its diverse resources please visit the website at: To learn more about the ACE Internship Program, please visit:  

Compensation: The ACE Intern is anticipated to contribute 40 hours/week and receive a living allowance of $280/week paid out biweekly for food and incidental costs.  On site housing is provided at no cost to the intern. $300 (x2) will be available for travel reimbursement at start/end of the internship for approved expenses.

AmeriCorps: This 26 week position may be eligible for a 900 hour AmeriCorps Education Award ($2,960 each) upon successful completion of internship service hours.  The 52 week position may be eligible for a 1700 hour Education Award ($5,920).  Additional enrollment is required.

Project Background: Attwater Prairie Chicken NWR, located approximately 60 miles west of Houston, Texas, is one of the largest remnants of coastal prairie habitat remaining in southeast Texas and home to one of the last populations of the critically endangered Attwater's prairie chicken (APC), a ground-dwelling grouse of the coastal prairie ecosystem.  Formerly occupying some 6 million acres of coastal prairie habitat, the APC was once one of the most abundant resident birds of the Texas and Louisiana tall grass prairie landscape, though currently only about 100 birds exist in the wild. Efforts to propagate and release APCs into the wild have been ongoing since 1992 and 1996, respectively. Monitoring of released birds is critical to understanding recovery limitations and in managing the species in the wild.  Less than 200,000 fragmented acres of coastal prairie habitat remain, leaving the birds scattered in solely two Texas counties.  Recovery activities for this imperiled bird and management of its rapidly declining ecosystem go beyond the refuge's boundaries.

Position Description: The ACE intern will serve directly with U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on varied ecological projects and programs within the refuge supporting the management and stewardship of the refuge's resources; protecting and ensuring the survival of the APC and its habitat, allowing the population to reach a measurable level of ecological and genetic stability so that it can be reclassified to threatened status (downlist) and ultimately removed from the endangered species list (delist). As a result, APC recovery must focus on three primary areas:

   1) habitat management, including invasive weed monitoring and spraying - 75%

   2) captive and wild population management - 15%

   3) public outreach, which includes professional development - 10%

Specific Intern duties include but are not limited to:

  • Assist in APC recovery efforts by removing woody and other invasive vegetation from APC habitat through mechanical and/or chemical treatment methods
  • Conduct inventories and mapping of invasive plant populations and treated areas with GPS units
  • Monitor treatment areas to assess effectiveness and conduct follow up treatments as necessary
  • Maintain thorough records of project activities (using GPS/GIS technologies) and assist with computer data entry and project summarization
  • Assist in APC recovery efforts by building predator deterrent fences around nests and removing them after nesting season
  • Caring for and monitoring APC broods
  • Building acclimation pens and caring for the birds in the pens
  • Monitoring prairie chicken movements using radio telemetry
  • Assisting with night captures of adults and chicks to put radio collars on the birds and to assess body condition and survivorship
  • Maintaining thorough records of project activities and assisting with computer data entry and summarization
  • Assist with research orientated tasks such as observation and data collection
  • Assist the refuge by accomplishing clerical, visitor service and maintenance tasks as necessary  

Physical Requirements:  This internship position requires physical exertion such as walking over wet and rough surfaces, bending, crouching, stooping, lifting or reaching.  Hand and finger dexterity and physical coordination may involve fine and precise procedures, delicate adjustments or exact measurements.

Position Environment:  Duties are performed both indoors and outdoors. Temperature and weather extremes can be encountered in the performance of outdoor duties, and isolated sites may require camping and extended periods away from station.  The intern is expected to conduct duties in a safe and orderly manner so as not to endanger self, fellow staff/interns or resources. 

Equipment Use and Training:  The Refuge will provide a government vehicle and the tools required to accomplish the tasks the Intern is asked to do.  Training will be provided for all equipment that the Intern is asked to use.  Any use of chemicals will require pesticide use training, as well as review of the label and material safety data sheet (MSDS) for every chemical used.  Use of personal protective equipment (PPE) will be mandatory for any activity that requires it.  Heavy equipment (tractors, dozers, graders, backhoes, front-end loaders, etc.) may not be used by Interns unless the Official U. S. Fish & Wildlife Service training and certification process is completed.  Local training is allowed for small equipment such as lawn mowers, weedeaters, ATVs and UTVs.  A valid state driver's license is required for any (highway legal) vehicle use.

Qualifications:   Applicants must have a degree (or be pursuing a degree) in wildlife management, ecology, conservation biology, botany, natural resource management, parks and recreation or other related disciplines appropriate to the position.  A combination of relevant education and appropriate experience is also acceptable.  Resumes must contain enough information to show that the applicant meets the experience as defined in the internship announcement: 


  • Internship is available to US Citizens and Permanent Residents only
  • Intern must be between the age of 18 and 35
  • Must have a valid driver's license, be 21 years of age to drive a vehicle, provide documentation of a clean driving record, and have a personal vehicle (required)
  • Must take all measures possible to ensure the safety of yourself and others and understand all safety precautions involved
  • Must be willing and able to obtain ATV/UTV and tractor operation training (will be provided by FWS)
  • Effective communication skills with all ages and diverse audiences
  • Able and willing to serve independently and in a group
  • Able and willing to perform duties outdoors in varying weather conditions and capable of participating in sustained physical labor
  • Ability to operate independently and in remote areas
  • Ability and willingness to undergo a Federal criminal background check


  • Knowledge of the basic procedure and technical terminology used in the field of avian ecology and wildlife management
  • Previous experience utilizing radio telemetry
  • Ability to follow assigned protocols to perform tasks with many steps
  • Skills and ability to resolve a full range of problems or situations when performing a variety of tasks in the field or office setting
  • Knowledge and skill in taking exact measurements, performing mathematics, some of which may be complicated, and keeping detailed and precise records to collect and assemble data
  • Skill in maintaining and safely operating motorized vehicles and specialized equipment including: highway vehicles, farm tractors, ATVs, UTVs, chainsaws, weedeaters, etc.
  • Experience and/or knowledge with GPS equipment
  • Experience in backcountry hiking and navigation in steep terrain
  • Strong desire to enter the public service field as a natural resource professional
  • Experience and/or knowledge in the mission of the USFWS and other federal land management agencies

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

To Apply: Please submit a thoughtful resume and cover letter along with 3 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 posting may close at any time. If you have any questions regarding this position, please feel free to contact ACE EPIC USFWS Member Manager, Melissa Early, at 801-573-8984 or


American Conservation Experience - EPIC & CORPS
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